Apple pie has been part of the American diet for over the past 200 years, but this classic staple didn't necessarily gain its stardom in the states. In fact, apple pie was invented in England and included figs, apples, and even pears. Today, it has become ingrained in American foodie culture, lending to the meaning, "American as apple pie." This fruity dessert is a satisfying treat to enjoy at any time.
Apple pie comes in many variations, with the addition of dried fruit and nuts to adding rum and bourbon. Some apple pies have a crispy crust, while others are smothered in a decadent crumble. One thing most can agree on when it comes to perfecting the apple pie is that fresh, crisp apples, with a buttery-rich crust and smooth, spicy filling makes all the difference. But most importantly, an apple pie should be able to encompass thick chunks of apples and a juicy center, balanced by the perfect blend of sweet and tartness.
Keep in mind that when preparing to bake an apple pie, a store-bought crust is the fastest option and easy to use. For an extra burst of flavor, create the perfectly flaky crust from scratch.
There are at least 2,500 varieties of apples that are grown within the United States, all imparting their unique tastes. However, there are about 6 types of apples that are the most renowned for their crisp sweetness. While you may enjoy super sweet apples over the more tart variety, or vice versa, the best apples for baking during the summer should hold their own during the baking process without getting soggy.
Although apples are normally associated with autumn, summer apples typically come into season during the months of July and August and are much more intense and flavorful. While there are a variety of options to choose from, which range from super sweet to lemony, one of the most popular varieties of apples to use for pies is the Fuji or Granny Smith for their juicy consistency. However, it is best to use both types of apples since Granny Smith tends to be sour, while the Fuji adds a hint of sweetness to add a perfect balance. Ambrosia is also a nice alternative for baking due to it's tender, juicy flesh that envelopes a honey-flavored texture, while Northern Spy apples, while similar to Granny Smiths in their tartness, usually mellows out when stored over time. If you prefer more sweetness over tart, Honeycrisps are some of the sweetest varieties around, similar to Granny Smith, but with a slightly less firm texture.
Whichever type of apple you choose as the centerpiece, there is nothing quite as American as an apple pie. This tasty treat is the perfect accompaniment for a delightful summer picnic, backyard barbecue, or whenever you have a craving for something warm, spicy and delicious.