APPLE VARIETIES have a long tradition of having multiple names. Before it became Baldwin, the apple was known as Woodpecker, Butters, and Ball; Roxbury Russet had several names, including Leather Coat and Boston Russet. Mutsu is also known as Crispin, and Cripps Pinks is marketed by the trademarked name Pink Lady.
The apple called Pinova began as Corail, and it has also been called Sonata. In 2004, the apple was trademarked with the name Piňata by a single grower in Washington state, Stemilt Growers, which now has exclusive rights to grow, market, and sell it in the United States. The variety can still be grown and sold in New England as Pinova or Corail by growers who had purchased it prior to the trademark.
Pinova was developed in Germany from Cox’s Orange Pippin, Golden Delicious, and Duchess of Oldenburg parents, and released commercially in 1986. A late-season apple, Pinova is conical in shape like its Golden Delicious parent, and it has red striping over a yellow skin like its other two parents.
It is not clear what Duchess of Oldenburg — an early season heirloom from Russia with mild flavor that does not store well — brings to Pinova, other than color and hardiness. Pinova’s distinctive flavor comes mostly from Cox’s Orange Pippin. It is well balanced between sweet and tart, with hints of citrus. Pinova is known for being slow to brown after being sliced. It is good for both cooking and fresh eating.
Cox’s Orange Pippin, an English heirloom dating back to 1825, is one of the most flavorful apples in the world — the website orangepippin.com calls it “a variety for the connoisseur.” Complex, spicy, and highly aromatic, Cox’s Orange Pippin is especially good for fresh eating, and it excels in cider, where it is making a modest comeback in New England.
Its medium to small size make Cox’s Orange Pippin less desirable for cooking and baking than its larger Pinova offspring, but for sheer eating pleasure, the parent outshines the child.
* * *
THE CROSTATA, from the Latin word “crusta,” dates back to 1465 Italy. It is similar to the French tart called galette, which we featured a few years ago with an old family recipe from the Darrow family of Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont (reprinted below). It was one of their grandmother’s favorite apple recipes, found in Gourmet magazine years back — Galette [gah-LET] de Pommes au Calvados (Apple and Calvados Tart), a grand name for this rustic pastry.
One appealing thing about crostatas and galettes is that they can be made in different sizes and shapes – they can be fancy or plain, symmetrical or not. I baked this one in a traditional pie plate, but a flat cookie sheet would work as well.
It goes without saying that the single, most notable quality of this tart is the fresh New England apples used in the recipe. I tried a combination of Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh (just one small one for flavor).
Give it a try – give it your own creative twist or adornment.
Dough for a single pie crust: Apple pie, part II: Making the perfect crust
½ c sugar
1 T cornstarch
2 t cinnamon
4 c New England apples, cored and sliced thinly
¼ c pecans or walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Mix together dry filling ingredients, then add apples, stirring to coat slices.
Lay out bottom crust on ungreased pan. Spoon apples onto the center of the crust, leaving about 2 inches of dough around the edges. Fold the 2-inch edge over the filling and press lightly. Brush the edge with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar mixture.
Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes or until crust is browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with pecans. Continue baking for 15 more minutes or until apples test done.
Let set for 20-30 minutes before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.
* * *
Here is the recipe for an apple galette, from the Spring 2012 McIntosh News:
Galette de Pommes au Calvados
(Apple and Calvados Tart)
All-butter pastry dough
Makes a 12-inch single-crust galette (or a 9-inch double-crust pie)
2½ c flour
2 t sugar
½ t salt
1 c (2 sticks) butter, cut into ½” cubes
9-12 T ice water
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Blend in butter with a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 9 tablespoons ice water, gently stirring with a fork. Squeeze the dough to test if it holds together. If it does not hold together, add 1 tablespoon ice water at a time until it does. Caution: Pastry will be tough if you overwork it.
Turn out dough onto a floured board and divide into 8 parts. Using heel of your hand, push each part once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and press into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
5 medium Corail or other New England apples
2 t fresh lemon juice
⅓ c sugar
Calvados applesauce (recipe follows)
3 T butter, cut into ½” pieces
1½ t sugar
Roll out pastry to a 16-inch round, ⅛-inch thick. Transfer to large parchment-lined baking sheet. Fold in edge of pastry to fit on baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
While pastry is chilling, peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Toss slices with lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar.
Keep chilled pastry on parchment, remove plastic wrap, and unfold any edges so pastry is flat. Leaving a 2-inch border, spread cooled Calvados applesauce over pastry, and top with sliced apples, mounding slightly. Fold edges of pastry partially over filling, pleating dough as necessary. Dot apples with butter. Lightly brush pastry edge with water and sprinkle the edge with the 1½ teaspoons sugar. Bake galette 40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and apples are tender.
Makes about 1¼ cups
3 medium New England apples
½ c cider or water
⅛– ¼ c sugar, depending on tartness of apples
½ t grated lemon zest
¼ t cinnamon
2 T Calvados
Peel and core apples, then cut into 1-inch pieces. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring apples, cider, sugar, zest, and cinnamon to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Uncover and simmer 5 to 10 more minutes, or until most of liquid is evaporated. Add Calvados and simmer 1 more minute. Mash apples to a coarse sauce.
2 T apple jelly (or apple cider jelly or apple butter)
While galette is baking, melt apple jelly in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring.
Slide baked galette on parchment onto a rack. Brush with glaze and let cool to room temperature.
1 c heavy cream
1 T confectioners sugar
2 T Calvados
In a medium bowl, beat together cream and confectioners sugar until cream holds soft peaks, then beat in Calvados. An easy way to cut galette into servings is to use a pizza wheel. Serve with a dollop of Calvados cream.
You can simplify the applesauce, glaze or topping if you don’t have the time or ingredients. You will still be left with plenty of apple flavor.
Oh, and this is very important: it’s better if it’s all eaten the day it’s baked — piece of cake.
* * *
New England Apple Association Executive Director Bar Lois Weeks and Senior Writer Russell Steven Powell will once again serve as judges at the Great New England Apple Pie Contest this Saturday, October 15. Judging begins at 10:30 a.m. as part of Wachusett Mountain’s 33rd annual AppleFest, a two-day celebration. The contest, now in its seventh year, features two categories of pie: apple only, and apple and other.
* * *
Powell will be giving two talks about apples in the coming weeks:
New England Apple Orchards Past, Present, and Future
With an emphasis on western Massachusetts and native son John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.
Tuesday, October 18
West Springfield Public Library Community Room
200 Park St., West Springfield, Massachusetts
Admission is free. Sponsored by the Ramapogue Historical Society.
A Guided Tour of New England Apples
A metaphorical walk through the orchard.
Tuesday, November 1
Florence H. Sweet Club House
44 Peck St., Attleboro, Massachusetts
The public is invited. Admission is $10. Sponsored by the Attleboro Garden Club.
Powell will answer questions and have apples for sampling at both events, plus copies of his books America’s Apple and Apples of New England for sale and signing, and the 2017 New England Apples wall calendar featuring orchard photographs by Powell and Weeks .