I just baked my first apple pie. It's a little dry and could probably use some sugar (Lady Evil Fruit suggests that more sugar would have drawn out some more moisture, solving both problems). People I work with were shocked that I had never made an apple pie, given my thing for fruit, but while I do have a thing for fruit, I don't have a thing for cooking, at least not historically (I've become oddly domestic in the last month or so, but this is my first foray into fruit-based cooking).
Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on what makes a good pie apple? In this case, because I was struck by a powerful urge to make an apple pie now, I was limited to what I could find at the grocery store up the street. I've had 'Golden Delcious' pies that were okay, and I recalled being less impressed with '(Red) Delicious' and 'McIntosh'. When I got there I basically narrowed it down to 'Empire', which I've been a fan of since my days at Cornell, and 'Granny Smith'. I settled on Granny Smith, partly because it was bigger than the smallish 'Empire' and I didn't feel like spending forever peeling apples, and all things considered I think it was an okay choice, though my cooking probably didn't do it justice.
Anybody have favorite pie apple cultivars (either common or obscure)? I've heard good things about 'Newtown Pippin' and 'Rhode Island Greening', but neither was available at Publix. (No great surprise).
Update: My mother reports using 'Jonagold' this Thanksgiving with good results.
Update 2: John Schmid reports success with 'Grimes Golden' and 'Northern Spy'. (Anybody know a source for 'Northern Spy' in North Florida? I haven't had one in ages...)