In researching the answer to a question of why the apples in a pie became mushy, I noticed that two of my cookbooks contradicted each other on the Winesap apple, on whether it remains firm upon baking. When the Winesap apple is baked, does it become mushy like a McIntosh or remain firm like a Granny Smith? I have never used or even eaten a Winesap, so I was hoping someone had experience with them.
I went to the farmers' market last week and bought a variety of apples.
After cooking, here's the order from softest to firmest:
McIntosh, Cortland, Winesap, Yellow Delicious.
The McIntosh of course practically dissolve. If you want to make quick apple sauce, or if you like really squishy pie, they're the best.
I typically prefer Cortlands for pie, b/c they don't totally dissolve but neither do they keep their shape. I think I'm going to try Winesap, though; I think they'd work great for pie.
The Winesap apples I used got very soft, but they still held their shape. Think of it like a ripe banana or pear - it has shape, but you can squish it really easily. After 30 minutes in the oven (making apple crisp), they got soft enough that lightly pressing with a fork would squish them down. They did not stay as firm as the Yellow Delicious did and definitely not as firm as Granny Smith would.
I moved to Honolulu 40 years ago, and am so sad that winesap apples are no longer shipped here for Thanksgiving. They are the absolute best for apple pies--firm, tart, tingy--with a little sugar, depending on how tart the batch is (I use the Better Homes & Garden recipe) and a great, home made pie crust--yum! Granny Smiths, in my opinion, are flat and tasteless comparatively. Honeycrisps are what I use now in place of winesap--I found Fujis were too sweet.
This page claims they will hold their shape:
Winesap Apples (Stayman Winesap) are a firm but juicy apple with a wine-like, tart flavor. They're good for eating fresh, for making cider, and for baking. Since they hold their shape well when baked, they're good for making apple dumplings.