The toughest part of shopping for apples in stores is deciding which apple is best for which recipe. Most are great for eating out of hand, but texture, flavor and size all contribute to whether the chosen variety is best for apple crisp or applesauce. Here is a guide for you.
Whether stuffed and baked whole for a dessert or chopped up and hidden under a layer of dough or crumble topping, these apples hold their shape during cooking:
Rome apples are very large with green-speckled red skin. This variety makes an impressive dessert when baked whole.
Extra tart with thick, “apple green” skin, Granny Smiths are a better choice than a sweeter baking apple, like Golden Delicious, for balanced pies and crisps.
Braeburn apples are very crisp, sweet and tangy making them great for baking or eating raw.
Golden Delicious are excellent all-purpose apples that are particularly good for baking in cakes and other desserts.
Jonagold apples have a honeyed sweetness and crisp yellow flesh. This variety holds its shape during baking or sautéing.
These apples break down with heat, making them perfect for purées and sauces:
Cortland apples are sweet and juicy and their flesh breaks down easily with cooking, making them perfect for a sauce. These crisp apples are also great raw in salads as their flesh resists browning.
With shiny, deep red skin and bright white flesh, Empire apples are crisp and a little spicy. Cored and stewed, this variety cooks down into a beautiful rosy pink applesauce.
Stout Macoun apples are tender, juicy and sweet making them perfect for cooking.
Tart-sweet McIntosh apples are juicy with a great fragrance, but they don’t stand up to long cooking times.
If you’re simply looking for a good snack, apples fit the bill. These are some favorite varieties for eating out of hand or using in salads:
Honeycrisp apples are extra crisp and tangy. They are excellent eaten raw, but will also hold their shape when baked.
With red skin and light green patches, Fuji apples are juicy and fragrant.
Crisp and mildly sweet, Gala apples are a another good eating apple.
Pink Lady apples are pink/red in color with crisp, juicy flesh and a complex flavor.
Dried Apple Slices
Dried apples are great for snacks and lunch boxes. You can also add them to salads along
with nuts and grapes, or serve with roasted pork or alongside a sandwich, as you would chips.
- 2 apples (Fuji, Gala or Honeycrisp)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Slice apples as thinly as possible, about 1/8-inch or thinner (use a mandolin, if you have one). Arrange slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 1 1/2 hours; turn slices over and continue baking 1 1/2 hours longer or until completely dry and crisp (they will not crisp more after cooling).
Timing will vary depending on the moisture content of the apples and the thickness of the slices. Let cool. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Celery-Root Soup with Bacon and Green Apple
Makes 4 servings
- 3 medium leeks (3/4 lb), white and pale green parts only
- 3 bacon slices (2 oz)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 cups water
- 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 1 celery rib, very thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup inner celery leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
Halve leeks lengthwise, then coarsely chop. Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out onto paper towels and pat dry.
Cook bacon in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel.
Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of fat from the pot, then add oil and cook leeks over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes.
Add celery root and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add water and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until celery root is very tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
While soup simmers, thinly slice apple lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, removing the core, then cut slices into 1/8-inch matchstick pieces. Gently toss with celery and celery leaves.
Purée soup in batches in a blender or immersion hand blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to cleaned pot, if you removed it to a blender.
If soup is too thick, thin with 1/2 to 3/4 cup water. Stir in salt, pepper and half-and-half and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm.
Season with salt according to taste, then divide among 4 bowls and top with apple-celery mixture and coarsely crumbled bacon.
Italian Farro with Sausage and Apples
Farro, a wheat like grain, makes a delicious alternative to rice and similar side-dishes that go with with meat, poultry and fish.
4 to 6 side-dish servings
- 1 cup hulled whole-grain farro
- 3/4 cup bulk pork sausage (about 3 oz.) or pork sausages, casings removed
- Olive oil (if needed)
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 Fuji apple (8 oz.)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
Sort farro, discarding strawlike bits of hulls and other debris. Pour farro into a bowl, cover completely with cool water, stir, and skim off and discard any additional hulls that float to the surface. Drain farro.
In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, crumble sausage with a spoon and stir often until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage to a paper towel lined bowl and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat or, if necessary, add oil to equal 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Add farro and return sausage to the pan and stir until grains are dried, about 2 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer (mixture foams, so check and stir occasionally to keep it from boiling over) until farro is tender to the bite and no longer tastes starchy, about 25 minutes. Stir in parsley, cover, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and core apple; cut into about 1/4-inch dice and mix with lemon juice. Stir into farro, season to taste with salt and pepper and pour into a serving bowl.
Ham, Sweet Onion and Apple Pizza
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 pound package refrigerated pizza dough, whole wheat if available
- 1 cup apple butter
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup diced sweet onion (Vidalia)
- 1/2 cup cored, seeded and diced Golden Delicious apple
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced deli ham
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Place dough on pan.
With floured hands press dough into a large rectangle.
Top with apple butter, cheese, onion, apple and ham.
Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Roast Pork Chops with Apples and Sage
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small tart apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 boneless pork chops
- 1/4 cup apple cider
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the oil in a medium broiler pan, gratin dish or shallow ovenproof skillet.
Layer the apples (such as Granny Smith) on the bottom and season with half the sage, salt and pepper.
Place the pork chops on top and sprinkle with the remaining sage, salt and pepper. Pour the cider over the pork chops.
Roast for 15 minutes. Gently turn the pork chops over, basting them with the cider from the bottom of the pan. Stir the apples to allow them to cook evenly. Roast another 15 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the pork and apples for 4 to 6 minutes, or until just golden brown.
Apple and Walnut Torte
- 1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (ex. Grand Marnier)
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 orange, zested
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted (or Smart Balance butter alternative)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups diced peeled apples (2-3 depending on size)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, heat the orange liqueur. Turn off the heat and add the cranberries and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and the orange zest. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the apples, walnuts and cranberries. Mix well.
Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch glass baking dish or 8-inch cake pan.
Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
A Note of Sadness:
A great Italian chef and food writer passed away on Sunday – Marcella Hazan. You can read about her life and how she changed the face of Italian cooking in America in the New York Times aticle: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/30/dining/Marcella-Hazan-dies-changed-the-way-americans-cook-italian-food.html?pagewanted=all
Following are some of the posts I have written in the past about Marcella Hazan’s influences.
- A Perfect Pairing: Pork and Apples (kobojski.wordpress.com)
- Apple Crisp (pixieinthekitchen.wordpress.com)
- pretty palette : crisp apples (jacquelinecote.com)
- Apple Crisp (pixieinthekitchen.wordpress.com)
- Johnny Appleseed Day! [and Apple Crisp] (captivatedbycooking.wordpress.com)
- Just the Crisp Oatmeal Recipe (nutrientpunch.wordpress.com)
September 30, 2013 at 9:42 am
I was just skimming through one of Marcella’s books yesterday. She has inspired me for years. Thank you for posting about her Jovina and for the links too.
I’ll have to try your dried apple slices. Looks wonderful.
September 30, 2013 at 9:47 am
Yes, we read that this morning and were sad. She’s inspired so many good meals here. Thanks Marcella for everything.
Pork and apple is a great pairing.
September 30, 2013 at 10:09 am
Thank you both for your interest and comments.
September 30, 2013 at 10:23 am
Very nice! Love your oven fruit-drying method, too.
September 30, 2013 at 10:29 am
Thank you Patty. This method also works with pears.
September 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Thanks for checking out my Johnny Appleseed post! Love your apple recipes!
September 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm
Thank you for visiting.
September 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm
Reblogged this on My Meals are on Wheels.
September 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm
Thanks for all these recipes! I wasn’t
I was sorry to hear about Marcella’s passing.
September 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm
September 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm
My comment was cut off!
I wasn’t aware of how important apples were in Italian cooking. We’ll have to try that dried apple slices recipe!
September 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm
Yes apples, pears, plums, figs and citus fruits are very frequently used in Italian recipes.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.
September 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm
Thanks for the line-up of delicious apple recipes, that I’ve been helping others realize how important are included in so many Italian recipes. I am so saddened by the loss of one of my Italian chef icons, Marcella Hazan. I am grateful to have all of her cookbooks that are wonderful classics full of fingerprints and food spills etc. on their pages!
September 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm
You are welcome. I know what you mean about Marcella Hazan’s cookbooks. They have a special place on my bookshelf.
October 1, 2013 at 3:14 am
Those dried apple slices look delicious and I’d love to try them in a salad where a little tart sweetness is required. Thanks for the recipe.
October 1, 2013 at 8:11 am
Thank you for your comments. The dried apples are perfect for a salad, especially spinach.
Pingback: Not Your Grandmother’s Apple Crisp | Quirky Eats
October 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm
Another great blog of fabulous, delicious-sounding recipes… Thanks!!
October 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm
Thank you so much Wendie.
Pingback: The Easiest Apple Sauce Recipe–Ever! | Love and All the Rest
November 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Thanks for the link love! Great post!
November 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm
You are very welcome and thank you for visiting.