Freshly baked apple crumble or apple crisp is a classic dessert that anyone can have in their repertoire, but you might be wondering what type of apples work best.
Do you always have to use apples best suited for cooking, or could you make an apple crumble with any type of eating apples?
You can use eating varieties instead of cooking apples in an apple crumble or crisp. You can cook with most types of apple, although some are soft and better for sauces rather than baking. Taste your apples and adjust your sugar so your dessert doesn’t end up too sweet.
I’m going to take a look at the best way to use eating apple varieties like Golden Delicious and Pink Lady in an apple crumble or crisp and how they compare to using a cooking variety.
There are a few apple types that don’t work as well as others of course so I’ll also explore which ones I would avoid when planning to bake with them.
What’s The Difference Between Cooking Apples And Eating Apples?
The main difference between cooking and eating apple varieties is the sugar content and texture. Eating apples are sweeter with softer flesh as they’re meant for eating raw as a snack. Cooking apples are tart with firm flesh for cooking.
Many people are unaware that there are varieties of apples grown for specific purposes with two basic types and an unofficial third category I’ve created just for this article!
These are apples that have long been used to make pies, crisps, crumbles, and sauces. They tend to be large and firm fruits with a tart or tangy taste and tough skin making them a little unpleasant to eat raw!
Common varieties found in the States include Granny Smith, Jonathan, and Rome. The UK has a dedicated cooking apple called Bramley which is too tart to eat raw.
Cooking apples have thick skin so are usually peeled, but you don’t have to if you want a bit more texture, see my post on how to cook apples with the skin on.
This type of apple is grown to eat raw and is much sweeter than the cooking variety. They can have soft or firm flesh; some have a crisp or tangy taste although not usually tart. Sweeter apples mean less sugar needs to be added if you do decide to cook with them.
Common varieties include Gala, Fuji, Empire McIntosh, Red Delicious, and Honey Crisp.
I created this category as there are some apples that are great when eaten raw but will also work well for all types of cooking and baking. They tend to have a sweet but tart flavor and firm flesh. Varieties I would include in this category are Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Winesap, Gold rush, and Enterprise. All are available in the United States and many in other countries.
Can I Bake With Eating Apples?
You can bake with eating apples but the dish may turn out sweeter and with a softer texture than using a cooking apple which is naturally tart with firmer flesh. Use less sugar to counter the extra sweetness.
Eating apples can be used for anything you bake, but some are better than others. You can also mix it up and use a combination of apples that work well together. That way you can make the most of the different flavors and textures.
Traditionally, apple crumble is made with tart, firm apples suited for cooking, like Granny Smith or the Bramley (the latter mainly in the UK but you can now find these in the US too). These balance out the sweetness of the topping with their tartness.
By adding eating apples like Golden Delicious or Pink Lady to the mix you get a more mellow flavor that doesn’t need as much sugar in the topping to balance it out.
How To Make Apple Crumble With Eating Apples
You can try using any fresh apples you have in your pantry as they will all make a tasty crumble or crisp. The only caveat is some apple varieties like Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, and McIntosh may be a little too soft and turn a bit mushy when being baked.
If you struggle with a soggy top on your crumble, check out my post on why your crumble topping isn’t crunchy.
It’s also a smart way to use up any eating apples you have laying around or ones that may be a little overripe.
I recommend you give this easy apple crumble recipe a try.
It’s a really great apple crumble recipe that works with many types of apples. It’s so quick and simple with a crunchy cinnamon topping and a caramelized apple filling.
What’s The Difference Between Apple Crumble and Apple Crisp?
A crumble has a streusel (or crumb) topping made by mixing flour, butter, and sugar. An apple crisp topping is made using a mixture of oats, brown sugar, and butter and is designed to go more crispy when baked.
Did you know that apple crumble and apple crisp are actually two different desserts? Going back to origins, apple crumble originated in the UK and apple crisp in the US around the time of world war 2 rationings.
Many people use the names interchangeably to refer to the same apple-based dessert, but in reality, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. Especially when many people add a handful of oats to their apple crumble topping which blurs the lines.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that the apple crumble recipe I recommended earlier could well be referred to as an apple crisp. So it’s very much down to personal preference which name you use…
What Are The Best And Worst Apples For Baking?
The answer to this question is it depends on what you’re baking.
If you’re making an apple crumble, pie, or tart, you will get the best results from apples that have firm flesh, good acidity, and have enough flavor to hold up in the oven. Try a variety like Granny Smith or Jonathan in the US, or Bramley in the UK. Avoid softer, less flavorsome apples such as Red Delicious and Gala.
For muffins and cakes, I find it’s best to avoid tough cooking apples altogether and go for eating apples with a more delicate flavor like Golden Delicious or Fuji. These will soften up nicely even when cooked for shorter baking times.
Should I Use Green Or Red Apples For Apple Crumble?
Most of the apples I use for baking apple crumble tend to be more green than red, but there are plenty of red apples I would be happy to use as well!
Most recipes call for the apple to be peeled before cooking so unless you like to leave the peel on, the color of the apple will not make much of a difference. I pick the variety based on flavor and texture as that matters most to me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts on baking an apple crumble or crisp using eating apples instead of the cooking variety.
The best advice I can give you if you want to buy apples that can be used both for eating and cooking is to pick up one of my ‘all-purpose’ varieties at the store. You really can’t go wrong if you use Golden Delicious or Pink Lady.
If you prefer a more traditional crumble made with cooking apples, Granny Smith or Bramley apples are the best. Although you can try mixing it up and adding some sweeter eating apples to the recipe.