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so far i haven't tried them all, but pink pearl and granny smith makes a pretty good pie. Actually I like granny smith mixed with a lot of different kinds of apples.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Christopher Kimball (The Dessert Bible) is a persuasive advocate for the tart-&-sweet apples combination in double-crust pies. He enjoys using Granny Smiths & McIntoshes. Many of my relatives prefer all-out McIntosh pies. The early varities are in the markets now.

I agree that the Rhode Island Greening is a superb pie apple. I often like using Granny Smiths, too. They’re ideal in my Caramelized Roasted-Apple & Rosemary Tart. I’ve had much success using Golden Delicious in Tart Tatin recipes, as well as in Apple-Custard Pies. And let's also mention Pippins, another fine, tart apple for pies. In Dutch Apple Tarts, I like to toss in Red Delicious Apples, regardless of their inability to hold their shape.

Royal Gala is one of fav. apples for eating out-of-hand. But, really, it’s too bland when cooked. Fuji & Winter Banana are two of my other top favs for eating raw, but I’ve yet to use them cooked. I have a recipe for Apple-Mincemeat Pie (passed down from one of my grandmothers) in which I prefer to use Cortlands. (And rum!)

Northern Spy has long been esteemed as the consummate pie apple. Supplie are limited, though, so you may have to drive to farmers’ markets to buy them. Rome Beauty is one of the ultimates too, especially in pressing cider. Cortlands are definitely one of most-used varieties in my kitchen; I’ve baked a great many glazed sheet cakes & coffee cakes, plus gallons of sauce with that excellent apple. Gravensteins don’t rank too highly in my experience because of their total collapse when baked.

Staymans are similar to Winesaps are mildly tart which makes they suitable for cooking, but they’re also quite juicy, so use them accordingly. The Winesap has experienced a decline in production.

Pink Pearl – are they similar to Pink Lady apples?

Nick Malgieri teaches that Northern Spies are the top-choice for uncooked pie fillings. He says that “Granny Smiths need to have some of the moisture cooked out of them, or the filling will be too liquid.” (How To Bake, p. 155) Sound advice, indeed.

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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I love Northern Spys, but they are indeed hard to find. The reason they can be so hard to find is that the trees take a long time to begin to bear fruit, so some truck farmers/orchards don't feel they can give up the space for something that won't produce quickly. Plus, they tend to bruise and don't look quite so picture-perfect as the uninformed would want. Haven't seen Spygold yet, which is a cross between Northern Spy and Golden Delicious (duh!) and I assume would hold together very well. Biting into a Spy is like biting into a gallon of the most delicious cider ever. (And pasteurization of cider is ruining my tastebud's memory...but that's another subject.) My experience with the Arkansas Black was interesting--I didn't realize that you have to let it sit for a while after harvest as it is considered a storage apple. If you have one right off the tree, it tastes like nothing.

I love a winesap too, and often use a mix of apples in pies. However, I am still fighting the onset of autumn, so no apple pies for a few weeks....

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Mainly Stayman Winesap (my favorite apple), mixed in with some grannies and golden delicious. I did not know, until today, that there were separate varieties called Stayman and Winesap. I will be on the lookout for Northern Spys, Greenings and the other fine apples others have mentioned.

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The Northern Spy is easy to find around here but we're only 15 minutes form NY state's prime apple growing region in the Lafayette Valley. My mom always used the Spy for her pies but I see the appeal of mixing in some other varieties. I cringe at the though of using Macoun's in a pie only because they're such great eating apples that it seems almost a crime to use them in pie!

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A mixture of apples in any apple dish will usually result in a "whole greater than its parts." This is particularly true in applesauce and apple butter.

A word about choosing Golden Delicious apples: if you wait until they are truly golden, it's too late. Select the greenest ones you can find in the fall and they will not disappoint. I learned this by living in North Carolina, where GDs dominated the market in the fall.

I use Winesaps for apple relish, McIntosh for applesauce and Granny White or Golden Delicious for pies or other apple dishes.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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My mom used to use Pippins in her pies but you can't find them in the grocery stores anymore. It's a very tart green apple but when baked with the sugar and spices, provides a nice balance to the sweetness.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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great topic! if i can find them i like gravensteins mixed with granny smiths - otherwise, i'll use GS and something tartish - usually braeburns.

i'm not intending to hijack the thread, but i've been struggling with a problem that several of you allude to...

i make a single crusted pie with a crumb topping - dutch apple? from my mother's recipe. her recipe calls for a frozen crust, and while i have, on occasion made my own crust, it never really matters - because the pie is always loaded with liquid...which sogs up the crust and just isn't too appeeling (hah - sorry).

i don't pre-cook the apples, because i've always been afraid they'll turn to mush...i have taken to adding a bit of flour with the raw apples, but i'm not crazy about idea. i'd rather cook the apples than thicken them...but how long? and should i be pre-baking the crust? when i made my own crust, it became completely adhered to the pan...the apple/sugar mixture must have soaked into the crust and then glazed...what can i do to elevate my pie?

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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great topic! if i can find them i like gravensteins mixed with granny smiths - otherwise, i'll use GS and something tartish - usually braeburns.

i'm not intending to hijack the thread, but i've been struggling with a problem that several of you allude to...

i make a single crusted pie with a crumb topping - dutch apple? from my mother's recipe. her recipe calls for a frozen crust, and while i have, on occasion made my own crust, it never really matters - because the pie is always loaded with liquid...which sogs up the crust and just isn't too appeeling (hah - sorry).

i don't pre-cook the apples, because i've always been afraid they'll turn to mush...i have taken to adding a bit of flour with the raw apples, but i'm not crazy about idea. i'd rather cook the apples than thicken them...but how long? and should i be pre-baking the crust? when i made my own crust, it became completely adhered to the pan...the apple/sugar mixture must have soaked into the crust and then glazed...what can i do to elevate my pie?

I know this has been discussed before but I wasn't successful in my search.

Some have suggested a short blind baking, brushing on an egg wash then baking until just dry. This will act as a sealant on the crust.

Others have suggested mixing a thickner (arrowroot, corn starch, flour, etc) with the fruit so the juice won't soak in.

I do remember someone (Malawry? Zilla?) who mentioned (about a year or so ago?) they had passed their pie-baking class with flying colors due to a an intended "trick". They had mixed the fruit, sugar and spices together at the last minute, spooned it into the pie shell and put it in the oven right away. The fruit didn't sit very long before it was baked so there wasn't a lot of juice when the pie went in the oven but there was just enough when the pie came out of the oven. The instructor was very pleased with the outcome.

I am sure other will chime in with suggestions.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I am definitely not an expert baker. I have been following the all american pie recipe from the pie and pastry bible. recipe link

You let the apples sit and then drain the juices. You then reduce the juices with some butter, add some cornstarch to the apples and you are ready to bake(after adding the reduced syrup back into the apples). I cut into a still warm pie the other day and there was no extra juice flowing out.

Sandra

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For reference, I don't use any thickeners in my pie. These were my experiences last season:

Macoun - made an unbelieveably fresh tasting apple pie. Biting in to this pie was like biting into a crisp fall day. However, they were super juicy and absolutely soaked the bottom crust so that it was too mushy to eat. The slices held up very well, but were sufficiently tender with no mushiness. But again, the thing I remember the most about this pie was the incredible fresh fall taste.

Cortland - good all around. Tender slices that were just on the verge of mushiness. Amazingly, no running juices. In terms of texture, these apples managed to cook down to just tender enough to compact nicely. The flavor was pretty good, but not amazing. I think I like just a bit more tartness or bite in my apple pie.

Granny Smiths - okay, but not to my liking, at least not by themselves. They stayed too firm for my tastes and were very, very tart. Of course, I could remedy this by adding more sugar, but I wasn't impressed enough with the first pie to experiment more. To be fair, these came from the grocery store, while the Macouns and Cortlands I picked from an orchard.

We're going apple picking this weekend, so I'm looking forward to trying a few more varieties. Also, I can imagine the suggestion to mix apples would work really well. I would love to find a variety to mix Macouns with so I could have both great fall flavor and a bottom crust worth eating.

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