Not every type of apple can withstand the high heat of an oven. So, it’s a tricky task to find the best apples for baking. Granny Smith apples are generally considered all-purpose apples that work for a variety of needs. But are Granny Smith apples good for baking?
Yes, Granny Smith apples are good for baking as they can withstand an oven’s high temperatures and have a delicious flavor. This makes them the go-to apple for various baking recipes. Granny Smith apples work well in pies, tarts, tarte tatins, apple crumbles, strudels, and various other baked items.
Let’s look at this in closer detail now.
Granny Smith Apples And Their Characteristic Features
Granny Smith apples are a popular variety of green apples. They’re versatile apples with bright green skin. These apples are well-known for their delicious and complex tart flavor.
We can trace the origin of Granny Smith apples back to Australia, where they were first discovered in the 1860s.
It took an entire century for these apples to reach the USA, and since then, they have always been in high demand.
These apples are famous for their characteristic sour taste. Due to their strong acidity and distinct sourness, they’re the iconic symbol for tart apples.
Their physical characteristics also include firm, crisp, juicy flesh and thick skin.
These apples don’t bruise easily. They hold up well during transportation and storage. These apples are medium-sized and full of flavor.
Although sour, Granny Smith apples have a delicate hint of sweetness. Their complex flavor adds to their versatility.
You can eat them raw or use them for cooking and baking. They work well in various recipes. They’re also a good apple for making apple juice and cider.
Factors That Make An Apple Good For Baking
Choosing the right apples for baking is crucial for improving the taste of baked goods.
Some of the main factors to consider are the following.
1. Ability to withstand high heat.
Apples used for baking should be able to withstand the high heat of an oven. They should neither shrivel up and become too dry nor turn into mush.
Instead, they should cook thoroughly and add complex flavors to a dish.
2. Have a good flavor.
The best baking apples are crisp with sweet and tart flavor notes. They should have enough sugar to caramelize and add beautiful brown color to a dish.
Tartness is equally important because sour apples can add more depth of flavor and make a dish very delicious.
Expert chefs like to use more than one type of apple in the same recipe to add more complex flavors and improve its taste.
However, you can also achieve similar results by using apples with sweet and sour tones that create a complex taste profile.
3. Should be all-purpose.
The choice of apples will also depend on the type of dish you’re preparing. So, the best apples for pies may not be the best choice for a crumble or strudel.
All-purpose apples will usually work for most recipes. Hence, they’re your safest bet when you’re unsure of what type of apple to choose.
4. Must be fresh.
It’s always a good idea to use fresh apples that haven’t been in storage for too long.
It’s because apples that have been refrigerated or kept in storage for a long time will lack crispiness and freshness. They will have lost part of their original flavor and aroma.
What Makes Granny Smith Apples A Good Choice For Baking?
Did you know that Granny Smith apples were first spotted growing in a compost pile by Maria Smith?
Legend has it that she threw the cores of crab apples into a compost pile and later discovered that they had given rise to Granny Smith apple saplings.
This interesting fact suggests that this variety of apple has a definitive link to baking.
Additionally, Granny Smith apples also have many physical characteristics that make them good for baking. Firstly, they have crispy and firm skin and flesh. They’re juicy but not too moist.
These apples are good for baking because their thick skin and flesh can withstand high heat. They don’t become too dehydrated nor shrivel up during baking.
They hold their shape and don’t turn into mushy liquid in the oven. Hence, they work in various recipes.
Another factor is that Granny Smith apples have a delicious sour-sweet flavor. Although sourness is the dominant flavor, you will notice a hint of sweetness too. This complex flavor also adds to their appeal.
What Can You Bake With Granny Smith Apples?
Granny Smith apples are very versatile. You can use them in a variety of recipes to prepare various baked goods, including those listed below.
1. Apple Pie
One of the best ways to enjoy Granny Smith apples is in apple pie. You can find countless variations for pie recipes.
However, the basic idea is to fill apples in a dough base, add a crust, top it with a sugar and flour glaze, and bake it in a hot oven for nearly an hour.
Granny Smith apples will soften by this time and release their juicy flavors to create a delicious pie.
2. Apple Tarte Tatin
This indulgent dessert is a type of upside-down apple tart made with pastry placed over slices of fruit and caramelized sugar.
The apples are cooked facing down, and the dessert is flipped after cooking. So, it’s served fruit-side up after baking.
The amalgamation of buttery and slightly salty pastry with the crispiness of apples makes it a unique desert.
3. Apple Bread
Adding fruits to a cake or bread recipe can make it soggy or too soft.
However, Granny Smith apples have just the right amount of moisture to make a bread deliciously soft without weighing it down with too much liquid.
Their complex taste also adds delicious and luscious flavors to the bread.
4. Apple Crisp
This beautiful fall dessert is one of the best things to make with Granny Smith apples. It uses a mixture of chopped apples, sugar, and spices as the base.
The topping is made with sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, and butter. It takes just forty minutes to prepare the bubbly dessert, and it’s loved by children and adults alike.
5. Apple Strudel
Apple strudel is a traditional pastry-based dessert that uses apples as the filling. The filling is spread intermittently between layers of unleavened dough.
It’s then baked until you have a flaky, buttery crust and a juicy, beautifully spiced apple filling.
The complex flavor of Granny Smith makes it work in this dessert since its tartness works well with the rich buttery flavors of the strudel.
6. Apple Dumplings
You can prepare traditional apple dumplings by coating Granny Smith apples with dough and baking them in a juicy sauce.
The moist apple will cook beautifully and amalgamate with the juicy sauce to create an indulgent dessert.
How To Prepare Granny Smith Apples For Baking?
The first step to using Granny Smith apples for baking is choosing the best apples for the task. You should pick apples that are ripe with firm, juicy flesh and thick, hard skin. They should be perfectly ripe but not overripe.
Clean the apples properly before peeling or chopping them for the recipe. You can peel the skin of the apples if you wish. But the apple skin is also full of nutrients, and you will lose them when you remove the peel.
Leaving the skin on will help the apples withstand heat better and keep their shape. However, it may be necessary to peel the apples based on the texture that is recommended for the dish.
Depending on the recipe, you may have to peel and core the apples and chop or slice them up to help them cook faster.