It’s hard to think of another fruit that’s available in more varieties than apples. With all those choices, picking one for a pie or other apple dessert (see Apple desserts with easy crumb toppings) can be tricky because each variety behaves a little differently when cooked. To cut down on the guesswork, contributing editor Pam Anderson has classified some of the most common varieties into these three helpful categories. For pies, Pam recommends mainly using apples that hold their shape, along with a few apples that soften to tie everything together. If you’re considering a variety that isn’t listed, test its flavor and texture yourself by sautéing a few slices in butter.
Softens but holds it shape nicely. Quite juicy, with a complex sweet-tart flavor.
Fairly juicy, tart, and perfumy.
Flavorless when cooked. Save this one for the lunchbox.