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In my great-grandmother's recipe for Open-Face Apple Pie, she writes, "Cut apples in eighths if they are not quick-cooking." I assume that this means some apples will cook more quickly than others, but I can't find a list of such apples anywhere.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

One of my favorite topics, having grown up close to two apple orchards...

Most likely, by "quick-cooking," the recipe intends you to use a pie or sauce apple, i.e. one that softens readily with heat.

  • Sauce apples. Use these for a pie if you like VERY soft pie contents. Personally, I prefer applesauce that has some chunks in it, so I don't use "sauce apples" for sauce; however, the standard is to list for sauce those apples that practically dissolve (like McIntosh).

  • Pie apples. An apple listed for pie is typically one that retains its shape but softens well (like Cortland, Mutsu, Empire, Jonagold, or Fuji).

  • Consider the taste. Some apples (Gala, for example) lose a lot of flavor when cooked, and are best for eating raw. Others gain tremendous flavor when cooked (Empire).

Which apple to use is certainly a matter of preference. Some people like their pie apples to remain quite firm (using, say, Granny Smith), while others like them to be VERY soft (and thus use a "sauce" apple).

Here's some apple lists/charts ... I'd say look up the varieties readily available to you, and see which ones are listed for sauces or pies.

Look up the website for your local orchard - they may link to a usage chart for the apples they grow!

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This might relate to the 'hardness' of the apples. Some apples cook down to a sauce much quicker than others (Bramely might be considered quick cooking whilst Cox's might be considered slow cooking).

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