mailbox mondays: apples for baking

Hey Ali,

Do you have any advice on what kinds of apples are best for baking?  There are so many recipes out there I want to try this fall, but it seems like most of them don’t specify which kind of apples to use.  Any quick tips would be really great!

Thanks,
Amy

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Hi Amy,

Thanks so much for your question!  It’s a perfect subject for autumn, when so many delicious apples are in sesason.  (And yummy apple recipes are begging to be made!)

As for selecting different varieties of apples, it definitely depends on what you’re looking to bake…

If you’re looking to make applesauce or something with a more mushy/grainy consistency, I would lean towards Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji or McIntosh.  These are also naturally very sweet, so won’t need lots of extra sugar.

If you’re looking to make any sort of apple filling (for a pie, dumplings, turnovers, etc.), I would recommend Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Jonathan/Jonagolds, Northern Spy, Pippin, Pink Lady, Gravenstein.  For filling, you generally want apples that have a firmer consistency so that they will keep their shape and not get super-grainy.

Probably anyone you ask about selecting apples will also give an opinion on sweet vs. tart.  Since most baking recipes call for quite a bit of sugar, many err on the side of tartness (hence, why Granny Smiths have been a popular favorite for decades).  But whatever way you go, you can always add in extra sugar or lemon juice to achieve some of that extra flavor you’d like.  Either way, I recommend a good mix. I always feel it adds depth to a recipe, so it’s rare that I bake with just one variety!

I know this is all very general.  If you’d like even more specifics, here’s a great site I keep bookmarked to refer to with apple questions.  It also goes through and identifies every variety of apple by photo, and lists each variety’s specific uses.

Good luck, and happy apple-baking!

~Ali

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Comments

  1. Meister @ Eat This Neighborhood — October 12, 2010 @ 7:03 am (#)

    Thanks for these tips! I also wonder what apples you prefer for savory or non-baking dishes; I love to saute apples and ginger to toss with pasta and cheese, and some apples just don’t hold up as well to the process as others.

    Do you have any favorites?

  2. Cook is Good — October 12, 2010 @ 9:55 am (#)

    Hey Ali, just dscovered your blog: I like it! Nice photos and recipes. I’ll be back ;-D
    Giorgia

  3. Julie — October 12, 2010 @ 4:47 pm (#)

    i just picked up some Jonagolds from the market this morning! i love these apples and they worked wonderful for the applesauce i made last month but i think i just cooked them longer.

    but i agree- mixing apples is tasty and is just fun!