Choosing apple varities for a crumble recipe.

Discussion in 'Desserts' started by kentc, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. kentc

    kentc Member

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    When i was a kid in the 70's and starting to bake, the apple varieties available were quite different from what we have today. I knew which ones stood up to baking and which didn't. For the most part, I can't find the old types anymore. The produce departments where I shop today say every type works every time for everything. I really doubt this.

    Does anyone on the forum know from personal experience which of today's varieties stand up to baking at 350F for an hour? I like both tart and sweet apples so that is not a factor. i just want apples that hold their shape and don't dissolve into mush.
     
    kentc, Oct 6, 2019
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  2. kentc

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    We’ve been talking about just this thing in the pastry section regarding apple pie. Granny Smith are widely available and will always work, and honeycrisp, the most popular modern apple, stand up well. Another thing you might consider: there are farmers at farmers’ markets who are growing and selling heirloom varieties—meaning the apples you remember as a kid. So you should check them out as compared to getting apples at a big grocery store. These farmers usually have samples, so you can try the apples and see if they’re firm enough to hold up in the oven. The farmer will also be able to advise you.

    As for other varieties at your local store, we need to know where you are to know what kind of apples you’re seeing—beyond Granny Smith and honeycrisp. So...where are you located?

    And do check out the thread on apples in the pastry forum.
     
    J13, Oct 7, 2019
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  3. kentc

    kentc Member

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    I'm in Missouri. There are a couple of orchards around here than sell their own crops, but no unique or old varieties. Our chain grocery stores sell Washington State apples. I did a taste test last night of what is currently available. What I liked in order of preference:Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Gala. Disappointments were Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Lady Alice, and Sweet Tango.
    Also have looked at the forum you suggested.
     
    kentc, Oct 8, 2019
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  4. kentc

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised that your'e getting Washington apples in Missouri rather than a greater variety from other states. And you're right, most of those apples are "out of hand" eating apples, not baking apples—and so not very impressive or interesting. As we've lamented in the apple-pie threads, there just aren't enough baking apples any more.

    As you're getting Washington apples, be on the look out for Lucy Glo, the ones I mention as having an odd pink color—they're tart and firm and will bake up well. Arkansas black are super firm (must be peeled as their skin is thick), and great baking apples if you can find them. Their season is super short and they come and go very quickly. For old variety there should be Macintoshes out there, and as for new, there's now an apple known as "Rave." Deliciously tart. I baked up some apple scones with it and they worked out very well.

    Those are apples you're likely to get from Washington. If you can't find a farmer's market that offers you more interesting apples, then do check out apple orchards that ship to your state. There are plenty that have some wonderful old varieties like "Spy" and "Winesap."

    Do let us know how your apple search goes and what you finally use in the crumble.
     
    J13, Oct 9, 2019
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  5. kentc

    kentc Member

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    Thanks. I'll be on the lookout for the varieties you mentioned.And this weekend I will get to visit some more distant orchards for hopefully better types of apples. Once I get that crumble baked I'll come back here with the results as you requested.
    Thanks. I'll be on the lookout for the varieties you mentioned.And this weekend I will get to visit some more distant orchards for hopefully better types of apples. Once I get that crumble baked I'll come back here with the results as you requested.
     
    kentc, Oct 9, 2019
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  6. kentc

    kentc Member

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    Time to catch up. I expanded my apple orchard search to an hours drive from Saint Louis. Visited two pick-your-own farms in Illinois and two in Missouri. Found three apple varieties I couldn't find in town. Jonathan, Arkansas Black, and Suncrisp. Jonathans had nice sweet-tart balance. Arkansas Black was unusual-seemed to taste of red wine, which I don't care for. Suncrisp was more tart than sweet. All had good crispness.

    I ended up using the Jonathans and Suncrisps. My recipe also called for pears. After tasting, I chose Bosc over D'Anjou and Bartlett using the same criteria I had for the apples.

    Crumble turned out the best it ever has. In the past I used those grocery store sweet apples, which made the crumble too candy-like. Now the fruit shines through.

    Thanks to all who posted in the pastry forum, and a special thanks to J13 for specific suggestions.
     
    kentc, Oct 27, 2019
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  7. kentc

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    HAH! There is something about those straight-from-orchard apples, especially the ones you just can't get in the grocery store....you make the pie or crumble or whatever and it amazes you how good it can be. So glad you were able to find orchards within range to get some really good fruit.

    And I get what you said about the Arkansas Black. I happen to love them, but they are very different and unique in flavor. I haven't seen any in my local markets this year (alas!). I think they'd be really wonderful on a cheese plate given that "red wine" flavor.
     
    J13, Oct 30, 2019
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