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James Rich shares a small selection of the most popular cooking and eating apple varieties that are widely available. Some are more common than others, but each has their own distinctive flavour and story to tell…

1. Annie Elizabeth

A particularly sweet cooking variety that works well in cakes as it keeps its shape, which make it ideal for decorating the tops of tarts and galettes.

2. Blenheim Orange

A dual-purpose variety that can be eaten as well as cooked. Great in desserts, crumbles and cakes.

3. Braeburn

Originally grown in New Zealand, this is a hardy and robust eating apple. Juicy, well balanced and with an interesting taste combination that includes a subtle hint of nutmeg and cinnamon flavours, Braeburns hold their shape when cooked and are great stuffed and baked.

4. Bramleys

There is a reason why Bram leys are the undisputed king of the cookers: they have a durable, bitter sharp- flavour that mellows and sweetens when cooked. Bramleys are known the world over and easy to find in supermarkets. They also have a fascinating history, hailing from Southwell in Nottinghamshire U K, they were first recorded in 1809. The original tree that bore the very first Bramley apple fruit is still alive and producing apples each year, two centuries on.

5. Chivers delight

Not dissimilar to a Cox’ s, this has a good balance of sweet and sharp and a subtle aroma. It can be eaten raw or used in cooking.

6. Cox’s

Arguably the most famous – and delicious, if you ask me – eating apple in the world, the Cox’s Orange Pippin, to use its full title, is crisp, juicy and perfectly balanced. Intensely sweet, but with a hefty level of sharp flavour, it can be eaten raw and used in cooking and baking too, where it keeps its shape well.

7. Crab

Tiny green or blush-coloured apples that are about the size of a large cherry, crab apples have beautiful blossom and have recently been grown for their decorative properties rather than to be eaten, however they have an amazingly tangy flavour when cooked. Generally, they are too sharp to be eaten raw, unless picked at the end of the season, but they are great in pies and make perfect preserving apples for jams and jellies due to their very high pectin levels.

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About Baking Heaven

Christmas is just around the corner so we've gathered some of our favourite seasonal recipes to inspire you. You'll find everything from stained-glass cookies you can hang on your Christmas tree, to tear & share cupcakes and even candy cane bread, but if you're looking to create something with a real 'wow' factor this year, don't miss our festive Fault Line cake. It's the hottest new cake trend around and we show you step-by-step how to make it! Plus we chat to Liam Charles, find out which varieties of apples are best for baking and feed a crowd with party perfect bites! Get your copy now!