apparently, i’m a glutton…

for pie contests. This weekend I entered myself into another one.

My neighborhood Greenmarket is hosting an apple pie bake-off in 2 weeks; so, inspired by my recent victory, I decided to go for it.

Then I realized, I’ve never made an apple pie–it’s just never been one of my favorites (unless we’re talking fried apple hand pies). So, I’m currently brainstorming ways to make an apple pie interesting. Those ideas are yet to come, but today I’m sharing with you my findings upon an impromptu apple tasting.

The one stipulation for the contest is that the apples must be local. Thus, I grabbed one of each variety available from Red Jacket Orchards and headed home to savor the flavor:

Cortland
This apple sports a smooth and shiny skin in a melange of green and red–It looks like it came straight out of the that painting you did at the rec center in 1992. Unfortunately, that beautiful skin is super chewy. The flesh is slightly tart, almost lemony; but, beyond that isn’t incredibly flavorful. The texture: not really crisp but not really mushy either. All in all, a boring apple.

Gala
A smaller specimen, with skin a bit rougher to the touch, the Gala is mostly red, bespeckled yellow. The flavor here is unmistakably floral. It’s sweet, it’s crunchy and from a first glance point of view would be fantastic cooked down into a puree. Though it’s flesh has a yellowish cast–read, not as pretty as the bright white of others–this apple is certainly one of the most delicious.

Pippin
The big boy, Pippin, is a promising apple. The skin somewhere between a shiny Granny Smith and matte Golden Delicious, a light green that gives way to a slight red blush, dare I say it’s a demure apple? When sliced it greets you with bright flesh sporting a green aura. Then you bite. Your sweet, genteel apple slaps you in the face. It was all a sham. Sour. Mushy. Absolutely terrible. Next weekend I might suggest they stop growing it. Seriously.

MacIntosh
The best way to sum up the apple we all know is to say it tastes like an apple. It’s what apple-flavored candy tastes like. It’s tart, it’s sweet, the texture is crisp–though almost creamy–which is a weird description, but it’s true. Also, this particular apple is totally one of the coolest apples ever–check out the abstract expressionism going on with that skin! Not a common feature, but a fortuitous one (if you like abstract expressionism).

Golden Supreme
Surprise! The Golden Supreme has yellow skin. I know you’re shocked. It also has yellowish flesh and is exceedingly crisp. This beauty tastes like apple juice. Obviously related to Golden Delicious (a common baking apple) the G. Supreme will definitely hold up to cooking–perhaps in a pie–but would probably need some flavor boosters. I suggest ginger.

Paula Red
Another big loser. The Paula Red, so cute in its diminutiveness has the toughest skin of these seven contenders. It’s also completely mushy and has no apple flavor. There is, however, a slight essences of dirt; so, if you’re geophagic, good news for you!

Honey Crisp
This apple is stupid delicious. It’s refreshing–and after consuming practically two pounds of apples, that’s saying something. There is a perfect balance of sweetness to tart and it is fantastically crisp. It’s juicy, it’s plump–really it’s everything you want an apple to be. If only it came with its own cheese plate…

Of course, after my apple overdose, I received my Basis delivery and there were more apples to try–Jonagold and Fuji–I haven’t given them the full inspection, so won’t report on them just yet.

As for now, any thoughts on apples or apple pies are appreciated. My second victory lap is just around the corner…

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7 comments

    1. It’s the Ditmas Park/Cortelyou Road market on Sundays. The Information stand is very neighborhoody and plans fun things like this on occasion.

      Come on down to taste some pies this weekend, if you’re willing and able to trek out to Brooklyn!

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