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Favorite apples for baking pie?

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I made an apple pie with the usual Granny Smith's that I have always used but I think they taste too sour. What apples do you prefer to use in an apple pie?

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  1. You might find the answer to that question in these posts which ask about favorite or best apples for pie:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/773720
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/561666

    1. Search and ye shall find: http://www.chow.com/search?query=appl...

      1. 50/50 mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. I have been using this after seeing a live demonstration with Jaques Pepin about 10 or 12 years ago.

        1. I like Fuji apples in my apple pie. They are sweet and hold up well during cooking. I have also used half Fuji and half Granny Smith. That combination tastes really good as well.

          1. Either Cortlands combined with Macintosh or Granny Smiths with Macintosh.

            1. Jonathan.

              1. MacIntoshes have the most apple-y flavor (I think) but they tend to go to mush. So I use half and half Granny Smiths (for body) and MacIntosh (for flavor) with sugar, plenty of cinnamon, a little clove, and sprinkles of nutmeg on top.

                1. Northern Spies are the only ones we'll use!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jo_jo_ba

                    My idea of the perfect pie apple too, not very common here in NY/NJ unfortunately.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      There are several you-pick orchards that have them, but it's impossible to find them in stores. I was just looking at some you-pick websites and many orchards are already done for the season, since the harvest ripened early. I found a few that still have apples, though - I'll report back if I find Spies!

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        I hadn't realized that you were in somewhat the same neck of the woods as me. Will be happy to hear.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          We went up to Stuart's Farm near Katonah today (between the Taconic and 684) and they had Spies, a few still on the trees. Unfortunately, those we tasted in the field were a bit bland, and the pre-picked ones didn't look great - a bit bruised and battered. I don't think it was a great season in general. Our usual source, Lawrence Farms in Newburgh, was closed for U-pick for the season, but I have had excellent Spies from there. Warwick Valley Winery and Orchard has Spies and a number of other very interesting and unusual varieties (Spitzenberg, Orange Pippin, etc.), but they too were finished with U-pick a couple of weeks ago.

                  2. Bramley Seedling. Occasionally Howgate Wonder on the rare occasions I see them for sale.

                    1. "Northern Spies make great pies..." wisdom that I grew up with...now just try to find them! I, however, do substitute Granny Smith'sand it is because of their tartness that I value them for my pie recipe which I don't want to be too sweet...I make the crust with cheddar and serve with a slab of same.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: LJS

                        Apple pie and cheese is a classic and rightly so, IMO

                        In my part of the world (north west England), we also have a rich fruit cake with cheese.

                        1. re: Harters

                          recipe??? :))

                          1. re: Tina1981

                            Pie, when herself makes it, is pretty much standard. Shortcrust pastry filled with apples. Maybe a little sugar depending on which apple is being used.

                            And this is our standard rich fruit cake recipe (although we don't cover in marzipan as neither of us can stand it). http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cu...

                          2. re: Harters

                            Family favourite since our neighbors from Yorkshire introduced it.

                        2. Braeburns.

                          1. I take my husband's grandmother's advice and try to put in 5 different types of apples. The mix provides a variety of textures & tastes, and is a great way of using up the odds and ends from the fruit drawer.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hungryjoanne

                              sounds really good! will try that!

                            2. IMO it depends on what texture you prefer for your filling and where you live. To me the point of apple pie is to take advantage of what is local, plentiful and in season. The best apple in one place may not even exist in another, so start with whatever is freshest and most local to you. Consult an apple variety use guide. Here is one: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...
                              Often you can find something similar posted wherever you buy, too.

                              I have the good fortune to live in an apple producing region and am close to the the U of MN apple research facility where I can choose from about 30 varieties every season including experimental and too new for market types. In the good old days one could sample everything before buying which was a great learning experience. Thank the U of MN for the Honeycrisp, Zestar! (my favorite for eating), and SweeTango, among other varieties, but don't get sucked in by the marketing. Regional heirloom varieties aren't as sexy but are often tastier.

                              Anyway, I go for at least three varieties for a pie. My favorite all purpose apple is Haralson because they don't turn to mush when baked and have a good tart/sweet balance. Macintosh is good if you like your pie with a mooshier texture, and I'd also include a variety that is sweet like SweeTango or Honeycrisp for a good mix of texture and flavor.

                              1. Definitely gravensteins.

                                1. Empire and Wolf River Apples. They maintain their structure and are both tart and tangy.