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Apple Types and How to Use Them
Use our handy reference for types of apples and descriptions of each so you can bake the perfect treat or snack on the tastiest variety, whether you like tart or sweet, soft or crisp.
One of the most versatile fresh fruits that you can get year round are apples. There are so many recipes you can make with this wonderful fruit, and there are a large variety of different types of apples to choose from. We’ve put together a list of many types apples you can purchase, how to choose the best apple for baking, and some great apple recipes to try.
Types of Apples
Red Delicious apples – the most popular eating and snacking apple, this apple is not a good choice for baking, it doesn’t have the crispness to withstand baking without turning mushy.
Golden Delicious apples – it’s a perfectly good apple for snacking. It can be used as a baking apple—its sweet flavor and firm texture hold up well in the oven.
Granny Smith apples – These apples hold up well in cold storage, and are very good for applesauce.
Winesap apples – These apples are used for baking, apple sauce, and apple cider.
Gala apples – This is a good snacking apple but can be a bit bland when used for baking.
McIntosh apples – A good snacking apple, and holds up well when baking in apple pies.
Rome Apples – These apples are great for baking and apple ciders.
Tips on choosing the right apple
* Make sure they are free from bug holes or bruises, and make sure the apple is firm.
* Select apples that are in season. They will be the freshest and juiciest.
* They should have a nice fresh apple aroma.
* Choose the apple that is appropriate for your recipe.
Granny’s Apple Pie
This classic gets a few upgrades like ground almonds in the crust to avoid a soggy bottom, plenty of spices, and a nip of apple brandy for extra flavor (the alcohol burns off during baking).
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour (can substitute 1/2 cup flour if you don’t have almonds)
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled in freezer for at least 15 minutes
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
3 to 6 Tablespoons water, very cold
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds of 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices of peeled and cored good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious
1 1/2 Tablespoons apple brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 Tablespoon cream
1. In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.
2. Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into 2 discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F.
4. Combine sugar, flour and spices in large bowl. Use your hands and mix in the apples so they are well coated, then add brandy and vanilla extract.
5. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
6. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
7. Spoon in apple filling, mounding slightly in center.
8. Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
9. Stir yolk and cream in small bowl to blend. Brush over top of pie. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake pie until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Tent the rims with aluminum foil or a pie protector if the edges are browning too quickly.
10. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of apples you are using. Transfer to rack; let stand 1 hour. Serve pie warm or at room temperature.
Amish Apple Butter
Once you’ve got fresh apple butter, all you need is toast, a biscuit or a scone to make a quick and incredibly delicious breakfast or snack.
4 lbs Granny Smith Apples
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water Sugar (about 4 cups, see cooking instructions)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Preparing the Fruit:
1. Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts.
2. Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Ladle apple mixture into a food mill and force pulp into a large bowl. Measure resulting puree. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
4. Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth when a bit is spooned onto a cold plate and allowed to cool (1 to 2 hours). You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation.
Cobbler has a soft, pillowy crust that covers the apple filling, giving it a different texture than pie and more buttery spiced crust with each bite.
1/4 cup sugar (or more, up to 1/2 cup, to taste)
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3 lbs. tart Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and sliced (about 6 large apples)
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
Zest of one orange
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for glaze
1. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in apple slices, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour.
2. Cover partially and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to buttered 10″ pie dish. ( the crust is only going to be on the top. )
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
2. Stir in ginger. Stir orange zest into cream; then, using a fork, stir cream into flour until the dough holds together.
3. Gather dough into a ball; knead briefly then roll out to a little larger than pie dish. Transfer to dish; trim off excess. Score the center so the steam can escape while baking. Brush with cream.
4. Bake 10 minutes in a 450º oven. Reduce heat to 375º and bake 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.
This is one of the all time favorites during apple season. Apple crisp has a lovely slightly crunchy topping of oats and buttery brown sugar to compliment the filling without overwhelming it.
3 pounds tart apples
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats
4 Tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Peel, core and chop the apples; toss in a bowl with lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; add to the apples and toss to combine.
2. In another bowl combine flour, brown sugar and oats. Cut butter into 8 small pieces, and cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chopped nuts.
3. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Spread apple mixture in bottom of baking dish then sprinkle with flour mixture.
4. Bake at 375° for 30 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or a little heavy cream, if desired.
This apple cake is moist, filled with mouth watering MacIntosh apples, and as a bonus is easy to make.
6 McIntosh apples
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
5 Tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla.
3. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.
5. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.
Apple dumplings are the perfect way for each person to get their own dessert with every bit of flaky crust, spiced filling, and decadent homemade syrup topping as a full sized dessert.
2 to 2 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
4 to 6 Granny Smith or other cooking apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
sugar, approximately 1/2 cup, for sprinkling apples
butter, cut in small pieces
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter, melted
heavy cream or ice cream, optional
Makes about 1 dozen
1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add milk, stirring to make a soft dough. Roll dough into a 1/8″ thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface; cut into 5-inch squares.
2. Place 3 or 4 pieces of apple on each square. Sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons sugar and a sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg to taste; dot with butter. Moisten edges of each dumpling with water; bring corners to center, pinching edges to seal.
3. Place dumplings 1 inch apart in a lightly greased shallow baking dish.
4. Combine 2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 2 cups hot water and 1/4 cup butter or margarine; stir to dissolve sugar. Pour syrup over dumplings.
5. Bake at 375° for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot with cream or ice cream.
Apple cider is fall in a cup, served warm or cold it captures the taste of fresh picked apples like traditional juices can’t. Homemade apple cider is a must-try, it’s easy to make and far superior to mass produced brands.
8-10 Gala apples
1/2-1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cinnamon (or 4 cinnamon sticks)
4 Tablespoons allspice
1. Quarter apples (no need to remove peel or seeds).
2. In a large stock pot add your apples and fill with water–just enough to cover the apples.
3. Add the sugar.
4. Wrap cinnamon and allspice in a doubled up cheese cloth and tie, and add this to the apples and water.
5. Boil on high for one hour (uncovered) checking on it frequently.
6. Turn down heat and let simmer for two hours (covered).
7. Take off the heat after two hours of simmering and let cool.
8. Remove spices and mash up the apples to a pulp like consistency (a potato masher works well).
9. Once cool pour into a strainer over a large bowl. When most of the juice has drained away, put the remainder of the pulp into a doubled up cheese cloth and squeeze over the bowl until no more juice comes out.
10. It can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or can be frozen for later use.
Like a doughnut but filled with fruit and crispness in every bite, apple fritters are almost like a condensed funnel cake in taste but with the amazing explosion of apples throughout the entire treat.
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped apple
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
2. Add milk and egg; beat until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped apple.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep hot oil (about 370° and at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep) and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned.
4. Drain well on paper towels then roll in confectioners’ sugar while still warm.
Apple Brown Betty
While similar to the puffy apple cobbler or the crumbly apple crisp, the Apple Brown Betty layers its sweet crust throughput the dessert. Every bite captures all parts of the dish, the crust and the filling, absolutely perfectly.
4 medium apples, sliced
1 cup bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange peel
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 to 4 Tablespoons apple juice
1. Mix bread crumbs, butter, lemon or orange peel, sugar, and cinnamon.
2. Place half of the sliced apples in a buttered baking dish.
3. Cover with half of the bread crumb mixture.
4. Add remaining apple slices and cover with remaining crumb mixture.
5. Moisten with apple juice. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Serve hot or cold with cream, whipped topping, or ice cream