Apples for Apple Pie: Best Apples? Where to Get? Recipes?

Discussion in 'Pastry' started by J13, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Apple season is about to start (I assume that's true for most of us on this forum) and I thought I'd get the jump on it by starting a thread focusing on apple pie. I'd also like to use this thread to discuss which apples are best for baking, AND how to get them.

    NorCal and I actually have a problem with the "getting them" part. There are plenty of apples to be found in California, but, alas, few of them are good baking apples. The best such U.S. apples are from the East and Midwest. Unfortunately, there's a ban against shipping or bringing in apples from those states to those in the west unless the orchard is certified to do so. A month ago, NorCal and I discussed calling orchards in other states to see if they could ship to us. But as apple season hadn't started, most weren't answering their phones. With apple season on the horizon...

    I just made a call to Aamot's Orchard (really weird name) in Minnesota and got an affirmative from them that they *CAN* ship to states like California and they do have an online store. I also asked them when the best time to order would be and they said to wait a week or two. Essentially, any time after the last week in August they should start to have all varieties of apples, including those best for pies.

    That's one orchard we U.S.-bakers can call. And now that NorCal and I know about it, we need to know which apple we should orde and figure out what kind of apple pie to make with them...

    SO! This thread is for....

    1) Discussing which apples you think are the best for baking (especially in apple pie/tart/pastries)
    2) Posting a favorite apple pie/tart/pastry recipe
    3) Posting info on orchards that ship really good apples to places that might not be able to get them (like CA)
    4) Discussing apple orchards in your area that bakers who live nearby ought to know about—like ones where visitors can pick their own apples

    There's supposed to be a spectacular Harvest Moon appearing the night of September 14th (date may vary depending on where you're located). I think it's be an awesome idea to celebrate with a really delicious apple pie. Don't you?
     
    J13, Aug 23, 2019
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  2. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    The apples here are ripe. I just picked some apples out of the orchard. I think there are galas I’m not sure. They’re small but they’re very juicy and sweet. The rest of the apple trees are not looking good. The heat has not been good for them. A lot of the trees are the Granny Smith, and none of them look good at all.

    I might search for a source to order apples for pie. But I haven’t decided yet.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 26, 2019
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  3. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    I'm certainly going to give ordering apples from out of state a try. I get tired of having only Granny Smith and, if I"m lucky, Sweet Tango to choose from when it comes to tart baking apples. A short article in Real Simple Mag. mentions apples called GoldRush and Liberty as being good tart apples (presumably grown in other states), with HoneyCrisp (abundant in CA) for balancing sweetness. That said, I'm most interested in heirloom varieties if I can find them, though I'm not altogether sure what those might be. Winesap and Spy?

    There are also Lucy Glo apples which are grown in the State of Washington and appeared in my local market last year. They're very new, and a little strange, as they have a gold colored exterior and a pink interior. They're quite tart and I think they'll make great baking apples. BUT they were barely in the markets before they were gone (I think I got to try just one or two before they vanished). So they might have a super-short season.

    The article also says that 4lbs of apples is good for deep dish and 3lbs good for standard 9".
     
    J13, Aug 28, 2019
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  4. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I know, I’m so bored with the apple varieties we have here. That’s why I’ve been playing with other baked goods. But maybe I’ll mail order some apples.

    It’s funny I’ve never weighed my apples, I just buy 8 apples per pie :D I’ve done it for 20 yrs. lol. I don’t know where I came up with that count.

    My sister wants to bake apple pie. She asked me about it last weekend so I need to show her how to make an apple pie. So I may bake apple pie at her house this weekend.

    I’ve been using a mix of honey crisp, pink lady, and Braeburn for the past couple of years. They grow a variety here in the valley called a
    Gravenstein. It makes a good pie. But the season is very short. It’s already gone.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 28, 2019
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  5. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    I think I’ve tried Gravenstein...not sure. There are so many new varieties of apples that pop up in the produce section—almost all of them super sweet. :rolleyes:

    Don’t know if Lucy Glo is available yet, but if so, do get some. They’re dense/tart and perfect, I think, for pie baking.
     
    J13, Aug 28, 2019
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  6. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I’ve never seen a Lucy glow in stores or farmer’s markets around here. But I only go to the little farmer’s market in St Helena and once in a while the one in Napa. The big markets are in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 6, 2019
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  7. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    I'll let you know when I see them in my market. That way, if you're in or near any one of those areas for, say, one of your classes you can check and see if the stores have any. Last time they showed up almost exclusively at Vons/Pavilions (possibly Ralphs, but I wasn't shopping there at the time, so...maybe not).
     
    J13, Sep 6, 2019
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  8. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, please let me know when you see them.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 6, 2019
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  9. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Sweet Tango apples are back! Crunchy, firm, juicy and with a lemony finish—not super tart, but tart enough to add good flavor to a pie. And so yummy eaten out of hand. They’re one of my favorites.

    upload_2019-9-8_21-38-18.jpeg
     
    J13, Sep 9, 2019
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  10. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I will look for them.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 9, 2019
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  11. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    New tart apple on the market: "Rave." It's not super tart, but definitely on that side. The only thing keeping me form making a pie with these is that they don't strike me as baking apples with the sort of density as in granny smith or those Lucy glow, I mentioned. They're very crisp and crunchy, but I'm to sure how well they'd hold up if you tried to bake them.

    Still, they're tart rather than super sweet. That's a plus. Found them at Ralphs.
     
    J13, Sep 16, 2019 at 5:20 PM
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