Lots of food holidays this month. Its Apple month, Dessert month, Pizza, Sausage, Popcorn Popping, Seafood, Caramel, Chili, and Spinach Lover’s month. Lots of food days, too. Everything from Moldy Cheese on the 9th to pumpkin cheesecake on the 21st.
Apples are one of my favorite fruits, and a piece of pie is a great way to eat an apple! I’ve been doing lots of research on the best types of apples to use in pies. There are lots of sites to explore, and various opinions on the best variety of apple for pie baking. Among the most oftened mentioned are Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap, Pippin and Granny Smith. What I’ve discovered is that most of the people posting favorites live in apple producing regions and are buying their apples from orchards or farmers’ markets. Many of these apple varieties do not store well. They make great pies if the apples are freshly picked, but if that same apple is purchased at a supermarket the results are less than satisfactory. I also believe that a variety like McIntosh that is grown in upstate New York or New England tastes and bakes a lot differently than a McIntosh from Washington state. So my recommendation for those of us who don’t live in apple country is to use mainly Granny Smith and add some of whatever other variety you can find. Braeburn and Fuji have been mentioned as particularly flavorful apples.
I remember the first apple pie I ever made. Mike and I had been married only a few months. It looked beautiful, but when we cut into it, there was this huge space between the pie crust and the apples! I was devastated! That is a problem I’ve battled many times over the years. I’ve tried letting the apples and sugar sit to draw out the juices, and that helps a little. In my research on apple varieties I also read about this problem. One of the solutions was to make sure the apples were very thinly sliced. Another person said to slice the apples, mix with sugar, and bake right away without letting them sit. Other people seemed to think it had to do with the type of apple. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be happy to try them.
Organic Jonagold apples are on sale here this week. They seem nice and hard – like maybe they are this year’s crop, not some that have been in storage. I may just surprise my family with a pie tomorrow.
If you have a great apple recipe, please share it with us in the comments. It doesn’t have to be a pie recipe, just something yummy and delicious!