Choosing the right type of apples is crucial to making delicious apple pies. Granny Smith apples are generally considered a good cooking and baking apple. So, are Granny Smith apples good for pies?
Yes, Granny Smith apples are great for pies. During cooking, they hold their shape, and the flesh doesn’t turn into mush. They become soft but don’t make the pies soggy. The tartness of these apples works well in pies. You can even mix them with other apples to balance the sweet-sour taste in a pie.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into this now.
What Apples Are Good for Pies?
Different apples have their very own taste, texture, and flavor.
When choosing apples for baking, you should base your selection on the recipe and flavor you wish to achieve.
So, apples that are good for apple sauce may not be the best choice for apple pie.
In the case of apple pie, the crust and the filling are equally important because they decide the taste and quality.
By choosing the right apples for the filling, you can take your apple pie to the next level and make it a memorable dessert.
A delicious pie has a rich, buttery crust and juicy, tender, and flavorful apple filling.
Here are some of the important factors that will help you select such apples.
Apples having soft flesh with a gentle bite are best for apple pies. They shouldn’t be too soft nor mealy.
The apples should soften during cooking but not turn into a mushy mess.
Apples with firm but juicy flesh will usually produce great results.
2. Flavor Balance
Apple pies are different from other fruit pies because of their distinct sourness.
They taste best when they have both sweet and sour flavors.
To achieve the perfect balance, the apples used in the pie should have sweet and sour notes.
If it’s difficult to get this balance with just one type of apple, you can use a variety of apples in the same pie.
3. Moisture Content
Getting the right balance of textures will depend on the type of apples you choose for your apple pie.
Pies that are either soggy or too stiff are unappealing.
Extremely juicy and soft apples can become mushy and make an apple pie soggy.
Meanwhile, the apple pie filling can become too mealy if you use dry apples with less moisture content.
The trick is to look for firm apples with juicy flesh, as they will add just enough moisture to apple pies.
What Apples Are Not Good For Apple Pies?
Apples that fall apart during cooking or those that yield a mealy filling aren’t suitable for apple pies.
Flavor-wise, apples with a mix of sweet and sour notes are a good choice for apple pies.
Apples that are too sweet or too sour will not do well.
Another factor to consider is the moisture content of an apple.
Apples that release too much liquid will make the pie soggy.
It will not taste good if the crust becomes too soft and watery.
So avoid using apples with too much water or soft flesh that disintegrates easily.
Why Are Granny Smith Apples Good For Pies?
Granny Smith apples are a versatile cooking apple.
They’re widely used in various recipes because they hold up well at high heat.
Granny Smith apples are one of the best apples for making apple pie.
Their excellent ability to tolerate heat works in their favor.
This variety of apples also has high acid levels, which prevent them from disintegrating.
They hold their shape at high temperatures but turn soft during baking.
Hence, they yield chunky bits of apple pie filling.
These bright apples also have an attractive and distinctive citrusy aroma that adds extra flavor to apple pies.
However, the downside is that their strong tartness can make a pie taste sour.
The sweetness of the apple increases during cooking. However, the sour flavors continue to be prominent.
Hence, it may not be the best choice if you aren’t very fond of sour apple pies.
Another factor is that Granny Smith apples don’t have a strong apple flavor or aroma.
They have a citrusy sour scent. So apple pies made with these apples will lack a strong apple flavor.
The best way to make apple pies with Granny Smith apples is to mix them with other varieties of apples.
Adding sweet apples like Jonagolds and Honeycrisp with Granny Smith apples in the filling will balance the tartness.
The complex flavor combination will also make the apple pie extra-delicious.
Should You Cook Granny Smith Apples Before Adding Them To Pies?
It’s unnecessary to cook the apples before using them in an apple pie.
However, pre-cooking the apples for the filling makes them taste better.
Pre-cooking the filling will also produce the following benefits.
Firstly, cooking the apples will allow you to control the amount of juice that goes into the pie.
When you cook apples, they release moisture.
You can adjust the liquid content in such a way that it makes your pie moist but not soggy.
Cooking the apples will also ensure a uniform texture for the pie. There will be no free liquid in the pie filling.
So, cutting into the top crust will reveal a rich, luscious fruity filling instead of a watery mess.
Another important factor is that cooking the apples will allow you to perfect the filling every time.
You can adjust the sweetness and spice level to perfection, and it will taste exactly the same in the pie.
There is no element of surprise, and the taste is guaranteed.
Finally, cooking the apples for the filling ensures that all the apples are uniformly and thoroughly cooked.
When you use uncooked apples in the pie, the pieces in the center may remain undercooked.
However, this problem doesn’t arise when you cook the apples before using them in the filling.
Which Apples Work Well With Granny Smith Apples In Apple Pies?
Apple pies can be sweet or tart according to the apple you use for your recipe.
If you like sour apple pies, you can use only Granny Smith apples in the filling.
However, if you prefer sweet apple pies, choose Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples.
The best apple pies have complex flavors and a perfect balance of sweetness and sourness.
You will have to use at least two different types of apples to create this mix.
One of the most commonly used apple combinations for delicious apple pies is Granny Smith with Honeycrisp apples.
The exquisite tartness of Granny Smith will be balanced by the delicious sweetness of Honeycrisp apples.
Their textures also work well together.
Depending on whether you prefer the pie to be more sweet or sour, adjust the ratio of either variety.
You can use 6 to 7 Honeycrisp apples for 2 Granny Smith apples to make a 9-inch apple pie.
This ratio will balance the flavors, and the pie will be neither too tart nor too sweet.
Use more Honeycrisp apples if you want the pie to be sweeter and more Granny Smith apples if you prefer more tartness.