I am making an apple pie for the first time this Thanksgiving. I was wondering what the best apple was for apple pie. There are so many to choose from.
Some of this is a matter of opinion, as you must decide what type of apple pie you like. Do you want one with discernable applie slices, or one where the filling becomes somewhat like apple sauce?
Kenji Alt of Serious Eats has done an in depth review of 10 commonly available apples (at least in the US), and his conclusion is:
[...] the best ones in the running are the Golden Delicious and the Braeburn. They're the ones I use for all of my baking purposes.
Still, I suggest reading his review, and drawing your own conclusion.
He also shares that the level of acidity an apple has correlates with how long it takes to brown when cut and exposed to air--the slower the browning, the more acid. Those apples with the most acid tend to produce the firmest cooked product, as the acid helps keep the pectin from breaking down.
Granny Smith is the standard go-to. I think the best pies use a combination of apples. Alton Brown likes a combination of Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn and Golden Delicious.
I love Granny Smith and Honeycrisp for out-of-hand eating, so I often have those on hand when I get a hankering for baking. A combination of those two apples do make for a great pie.