So, when I went to the Greenmarket on Sunday to gather apples for a few sample tarts, I was met with four varieties that hadn’t been there the previous weekend.
When I go to Union Square tomorrow there will be more still, but I decided I couldn’t in good conscience make the best pie without knowing if any of these new apples before me would be a better option. Thus, I picked up one of each + a few of the variety I’d chosen for my pie (more on that later).
Based on it’s mostly dark red skin (with minimal yellow striations), this apple was surprisingly tart and crisp! In fact, it looked so much like it could only provide a lame-o Red Delicious mush fest that I almost didn’t bother to pick it up. Luckily, it’s smooth and shiny exterior gave way to beautiful bright white flesh and a crunchy sweet/tart bite. This would be fantastic on a cheese plate or loaded up with peanut butter or, I think, amazing in a traditional layered apple pie.
The first apple in this week of tastings that I can genuinely say has a complex flavor, the cox-orange is an heirloom apple. It’s very sour, but with a sweet backbone–reminiscent of sour-apple candy. As the name suggests, the skin bears an orangish-red hue and is quite speckled–like Seurat painted an apple, it came to life and now I get to eat it! The bite isn’t the most pleasant–not mushy per se, though not crisp either–however, the flavor is so interesting, that I didn’t really mind.
Another heirloom variety, this is apparently one of the oldest apples still being grown. I must say, if the choice of which apples to grow were based on my opinion, Georgian England could have this one back. The skin is very similar to that of a Bosc pear being cracked apart by the shiny green apple within, i.e. kind of neat. The flavor…like a Bosc pear, but with an unfortunate soapy aftertaste, i.e. not so neat. So, while it’s not terrible, I’d rather just have a pear–and then not feel like, following my snack, I’ve washed out my filthy, 1750’s mouth.
Whomever named this apple had a good sense of irony. A keepsake is something you treasure; this apple is something you should put back down. OK, so I’m being overly harsh–it actually has a very complex flavor and could add punch to a baked apple medley, but you don’t want to eat it alone. The taste is best described as fermented (a fellow taster’s first reaction was, “Shrimp Paste!”) and it left a powdery feeling in my mouth. Also, when sliced through the core, it looks like a butterfly…sort of.
Those are my takes at least. Perhaps you have a differing opinion? In my research I came across this awesome site, in case you want to look up a few other varieties. For now, I’m biding my time until the contest day arrives. Decisions have been made. Test pies have been baked and eaten. Surprises were revealed. Tune in next time for my Eve-tempting revelations. Same apple time; same apple channel.