You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
When it comes to cooking, all apples (and there are lots of 'em!) aren't created equal. The glossy green Granny smith is arguably the best apple for cooking, especially in purées and sauces. Its natural tartness makes it ideal for relishes. golden delicious apples have juicy, aromatic flesh and are perfect to use when you want apples to hold their shape after cooking (as in our cider-roasted spatchcock). They are also suited to apple tarts and could be used in place of Braeburns in the apple, ginger and almond cake. Crisp and juicy braeburns, with a pink-red blush against green skin, are great baking apples, although some would argue they are best enjoyed when eaten raw. Another blushing variety is the pink lady, a cross between golden delicious and Lady Williams. A very popular eating apple, its firm dense flesh also holds up well to caramelising, baking and for use in pies. Dark red and elongated, red delicious are the least suited to cooking. They're best put to use thinly sliced raw through salads, where their sweetness is beautifully offset with a piquant dressing. Other great cooking apples include cox's orange pippin, lady williams and, if you can get your hands on them, crabapples, which make the finest tarte Tatin you could hope to eat (look out for the John Downie variety).