Posted by: njbrown | February 5, 2011

Mutzu – Golden Delicious “throwdown”


A few days ago, I watched Michael Smith – one of my favorite chefs – make what he termed, “the easiest apple pie.”  Wanting to make it healthier, he made the crust of oatmeal, whole wheat flour and vegetable oil (among other ingredients).  As he demonstrated the recipe, he said that another nice thing about the dough was that it didn’t have to be refrigerated before rolling (as regular dough needs to be).  I thought this recipe sounded like a winner, and when he said you didn’t even have to peel the apples, it made it even more appealing.  However, when I made the dough, it had a very strange consistency.  Rather than the pliable pie dough made with butter and shortening that I’m used to, this was quite stiff, and I began to have doubts about whether the pie was going to live up to its billing.  (I have always had the highest respect for Michael, and felt his humiliating defeat on Iron Chef America – by Bobby Flay of all people – was probably caused by avocado creating an uneven playing field.  Michael was very gracious in defeat, and said afterward he was just focusing on feeding 11,000 people at the Vancouver Olympics.)  I managed to wrestle the dough into the pie pan and crimp the edges, but the effect was decidedly “rustic” (as Jamie Oliver would say).

After taking the pie out of the oven, I couldn’t wait for it to cool to see if my hopes for an oatmeal cookie-type crust had been realized.  Alas, the crust was more oatmeal-dotted cardboard than crust.  My husband liked it, but he likes anything that doesn’t move when he tries to eat it.  He assured me it would be better when cold, but refrigeration only made it taste like cold cardboard to me.  As for leaving the peel on the apples, I won’t do that again.

In the course of the tasting and re-tasting, my husband began saying that the reason my easy apple crisp (see previous post) had been so delicious was because I had used Mutzu (Crispin) apples.  I tend to use Golden Delicious because Julia said they were failsafe for baking, and I had for the apple pie.  George continued to lobby for an apple crisp with half Golden Delicous and half Mutzu in order to prove the superiority of Mutzu; however, being under the weather for the last few days, I was afraid I’d lose track of which half was which.  I took the easy way out to compare a baked Mutzu with a baked Golden Delicious, and made Ricardo’s baked apple recipe that also helped me to use more of my large bag of oats.

Looking up characteristics of both types of apples on the Web, they seem closely matched.  When George and I did a comparison of the uncooked apples, the Mutzu was crisper but less sweet.  The Golden Delicious seemed to have a hint of pear in its flavor.  I had thought Mutzus were a recent variety, but a little research indicated they were developed from Golden Delicious by the Japanese in 1930.  We’ve only been eating them in our house for the last few years.

The throwdown resulted in a tie.  George continues to prefer the Mutzu because of its consistency.  I continue to prefer the more complex flavor and silkier texture in the cooked Golden Delicious.  Because of the sweetness of the oatmeal filling, the tartness of the Mutzu was balanced.   I guess the bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with either, and to promote marital harmony, I’ll bake with both.

Nancy

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