Apple Question (visiting from Kitchens Forum)

November 30, 2008

I recently received a baked apple-type recipe from a German friend. She specified "Boskop" apples, and specifically ruled out using Granny Smiths--with no explanation for why she preferred the one variety over the other.

I've never seen Boskops, but I've read that they are an old Dutch variety. I haven't found any information about what readily available American varieties would be good substitutes for the Boskops in baking, and I'd appreciate your advice.

Comments (22)

  • applenut_gw


    Boskoop is quite "sharp", which is high in acid compared to sugar. It will be tough to find that in an apple from the grocery store, as Americans do not like their apples this tart and few people are looking for cooking apples anymore. An equal would probably be Bramley or Zabergau, neither of which you'll readily find. Granny Smith may be as close as you can get, but will not be the same.

  • geraldo_linux

    didn't we just have a cooking apple thread here? Bramley will cook up soft, or fluffy as the English call it. How does Zabergau cook up? Calville has a strong citrus flavor. I use to make pies out of Granny Smith and I thought they were very good. I think your German friend is just a little too set in her ways. Or Euro Centric.

  • greenwitch

    When I lived in Europe (Switzerland) we made our apple tarts from "Canada" apples because they cooked up "fluffy" kept their shape and had a nice sharpness to contrast with the sugar/wine/cinnamon/butter we sprinkled over them. Nobody sells Canada apples in Southern California in my experience (I have searched).

    I have tried Granny Smith and Golden Delicious (same recipe) I prefer GD for flavor, but neither one has the fluffy texture of Canada apples. Both will hold their shape (as opposed to turning into apples sauce in your crust).

    Thanks Geraldo for the suggestion of Bramley. It's not only a matter of being set-in-one's-ways or Eurocentric - it's trying to replicate the authentic flavor and texture that one remembers. But differences in butter, flour, terroir/apple flavors and cultivars, water etc. between Europe and America kinda go against that goal. Also, distance and time tend to glorify things in one's memory when in reality a Granny Smith pie could be just as flavorful (maybe!).

  • maydl

    I e-mailed my German friend about her choice of apples, and apparently it's all about texture, not taste. She said I need to use a "soft" apple, one that when baked will (a) burst its skin and (b) be edible with a spoon. She said the Granny Smith stays firm and needs to be eaten with a knife and fork. So, for this particular recipe, can anyone recommend a supermarket apple that fits her "soft" criteria? Thanks so much!

  • Axel

    I have Boscoop, mine are quite sweet by now, not so acidic.

    I recommend you use pink lady, and as a close second choice, try pinova (pinata). Try to use organic apples, they have much more flavor, for some reason, the difference between organic and non-organic in pink lady apples is striking.

  • maydl

    Thanks so much, axel_sc, for the recommendation about Pink Lady apples. I've never seen or heard of the other variety, pinova, but the Pink Lady is available in markets near me.

  • marknmt

    I'm not a fan of GS for pies either, but my customers are- I've sold literally thousands over the years.

    If you could locate Rhode Island Greening it is a variety recommended for pie. I have a scion on my tree, even though it's not likely to bear in this climate. I just hope I get lucky one year.

    Good luck,


  • Axel

    Mark, Rhode Island Greening should fruit for you no problem if Granny Smith does. It fruits prolifically here in California, but it's too warm when it ripens, so the quality of Rhode Island Greening here is terrible.

  • marknmt

    Thanks, Axel. I'll keep hoping. Should know in a year or two.

  • milehighgirl

    Okay, now you've got me wanting one! According to Orange Pippin, "Belle de Boskoop is essentially a dual-purpose apple, suitable for both dessert and culinary uses. It works equally well in a savoury salad, or can be used sliced in continental-style apple pies and flans. Unlike the English Bramley cooking apple, Belle de Boskoop keeps its shape when cooked."

    I was going to get a Bramley's Seeding, but I think now I'll try Belle de Boskoop. I do have Calville Blanc, which, according to Orange Pippin, does keep it's shape as well. My tree just came this spring so I know I'll need to wait a long time for my Calville Blanc.

    Does anyone here have experience with cooking both of these apples? (Belle de Boskoop and Calville Blanc)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Belle de Boskoop apple

  • Axel

    Belle de Boscoop is truly a delicious apple, and if you store them around 35F, they'll sweeten up nicely by December without going mealy. Mine are of eating quality right now.

    It's a very sharp apple when first picked, and makes incredibly delicious pies. Boscoop has a more complex flavor than Calville Blanc, but I think they should perform equally from a texture perspective.

  • Axel

    OK, after this discussion, I grabbed a Belle De Boscoop that had been sitting in the cooler since about mid-October.

    All I can say it wow, talk about sweet, tangy and delicious. I can't even begin to describe the deliciousness, all the tannins had broken down, and replaced with amazing flavors. It was definitely not crunchy, the flesh was on the soft side, which some people don't like because they expect a solid cracking crunch, but quite juicy and certainly not mealy. There is a complexity in this apple that I have not found in many other apples.

    Are you salivating yet? Well you should, because this is one heck of an apple. It was very beautiful for an apple, so I even took a picture. I'll have to upload it and post it.

  • Konrad___far_north

    Boskoop was the #1 cooking apple when I was growing up in Switzerland, I still have a soft spot for this cultivar,
    because these were magnificent trees, picking in my teens on a nice sunny fall day high up on a ladder,
    I never forget! A good size tree could yield about 2 tons.
    Also, picking these lovely, red blush, kind of rough skin, which made it better for picking, not slipping out of your hands.
    We had some stored in the root cellar, in about May, the skin would have shrivelled up but the flesh was still good.

    OH...another thing I got to tell you...
    When my mom was baking pies in the wood oven, [farm house] we kids took one of the Boskoop and
    wrapped the whole apple with dough and backed it along with get it!...Awesome!

    I remember trees like

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:125921}}

  • Axel

    Here's a picture of the absolutely amazing Boscoop I described above. It was so beautiful i had to take a picture of it before devouring every last morsel. They are perfect right now, sweet and complex flavored, but 6 weeks ago, all you could do is bake with it.

    Click on the link to see the picture.

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:125922}}

  • Axel

    Ooops, I meant to post it as a picture. Here it is, the Belle De Boscoop.


  • Konrad___far_north

    Looking good, Axel!
    As for a hardy northern cooking apple zone 3, the Collet is my best, also good to eat.



    My wife say's, this is the only apple she likes for pie, the perfect flavour and they don't need to be pealed, the skin is SOooooooo....thin and soft.
    Doesn't brown up for a long time after cutting.


  • milehighgirl

    Okay, help me decide if a Belle de Boskoop would be okay for my climate. Denver gets late killing frosts, which makes late-blooming essential. When does the "Belle" bloom in comparison to say, Calville Blanc, which I already have. I also have NW Greening for baking and was thinking of getting Arlet (Swiss Gourmet). Should I go for a Belle de Boskoop instead? Tell me more about Collet, it looks like a super hardy tree but I can't find it in the U.S.

  • Konrad___far_north

    >>Okay, help me decide if a Belle de Boskoop would be okay for my climateYes, I had this one fruiting on a top graft crab apple, Boskoop is not a early fruiting cultivar, this graft fruited about in the 5 th. year.The tree had fire blight so I cut it down.
    You can wait several years more as a newly planted tree.
    Boskoop is a poor pollen spender for other trees, I found some trees in a European forum what are good for cross pollination the Boskoop.

    Summerred, Jerseymac, James Grieve, Berlepsch, Idared, Berner Rosen, Glockenapfel, Cox Orange, Spartan, Gloster, Goldparmäne, Jonathan


  • Axel

    Boscoop is early to mid blooming, and blooms for a longer time. Doesn't sound good for Denver, but it all depends. If you get lots of warm spells early before the last threat of freeze, then this is not an apple you should grow. Frost is ok, but below freezing temperatures are not ok during bloom unless it's for a very short duration.

  • milehighgirl


    Where can we find this recipe? Will you share?

  • kabri

    This is an old thread, but just wanted to add my enthusiasm for Boskoop apples! Our young tree fruited for the first time last fall, very large, gorgeous apples! They DO hold their shape in cooking extremely well, I made canned apple filling with them. This means the apples are cooked twice before you eat the pie and they were fabulous, no mush!!!

  • lisawalborsky

    Where can I buy boscoop apples in NYC?

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