Big bushels of crisp, shiny apples signal the beginning of fall, but with all of the varieties on offer it can be difficult to know which ones to choose.
To help with your decision-making, here’s a handy list of commonly found apples and what they’re best suited for.
Empire, Golden Delicious, Crispin and Granny Smith: All of these apples are great choices for eating and baking.
Gala: This sweet apple doesn’t brown as quickly as other varieties, so it’s perfect for salads.
Honeycrisp: My personal favourite and the ultimate eating apple, Honeycrisps are so crisp and juicy. They’re also great in salads and can be used for baking.
McIntosh: Great for eating and cooking, McIntosh apples tend to break down when cooked, so I like to use them for applesauce.
Pink Lady: These apples are best for baking pies and desserts where you want the apple to hold its shape, like a Classic Tarte Tatin. They can be difficult to find and aren’t available year-round, so use them if you can find them.
Red Delicious: Love them or hate them, these apples have a slight mealy texture that is great for eating, but not for baking.
In the spirit of fall, I want to share my recipe for Bacon, Apple and Cheddar Scones. They are great on their own, but are also delicious paired with scrambled eggs or some sliced fruit for a quick breakfast.
Here’s what you’ll need:
(Makes 12 scones.)
6 strips bacon
1 cup finely diced and peeled Empire apple (about 1 small apple)
2 green onions, sliced
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
½ cup cold butter, cubed
1¼ cups shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp whipping cream or milk
In pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Chop and set aside. Discard all but 2 tsp bacon fat.
Add apple to pan. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until apple is tender, but still slightly firm, about 2 minutes. Add green onions; toss until softened, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese, bacon and apple mixture.
Beat milk with egg; pour over flour mixture and stir with fork to form ragged dough. With lightly floured hands, press dough into ball.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface; kneed gently 10 times. Pat into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick round. Using 2½-inch (6 cm) floured round cutter, cut out 12 rounds. Place on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Brush tops with cream.
Bake in centre of 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, about 15 minutes.
(Make-ahead: Let cool. Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours or wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
Tip: Rerolling the dough will make your scones tough, but if you’re like me and you don’t like to throw away scraps, cut them into bite-size pieces with a sharp knife, brush them with a bit of cream and bake them until golden, about 8 minutes.
What’s your favourite apple recipe?