Apple Varieties and Apple Recipes

One Minnesota family orchard located 45 minutes south of the twin cities called Sweetland Orchard is absolutely adorable and has several apple varieties. Owner of Sweetland Orchard and Recipe Developer, Mary Jane Miller stopped with different apple varieties and you’re missing out at the grocery store plus ways to use them in the kitchen.

Apple Varieties

  1. Chestnut Crab– A variety developed by the U of M and released in 1947. This apple is crunchy and sweet and a surprise to everyone who tastes it.
  2. Hybernal– This apple is so old it’s difficult to find mentions of it online except for publications of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society circa 1901. It’s extremely cold hardy and was used frequently early in the 20th century to achieve a dessert apple with cold hardiness qualities. Extremely tart!
  1. Wealthy– The Wealthy variety is the apple to prove that Minnesota could be home to dessert apples. It was grown by Peter Gideon in Excelsior, MN in 1868 when he used his last $8 to buy a bag of seeds from Maine, and the Wealthy grew from one of those seeds. It’s an old-fashioned apple with a crunchy texture and a sweet-tart flavor.



Apple Cider Meringue Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 4 hours


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 9 crackers)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon — optional
Pinch of salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted

Filling and Topping:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 3/4 cup cold apple cider
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. butter
3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch

Make the crust:

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a 9-inch pie plate, stir graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Add melted butter and stir.
  2. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Use a metal measuring cup to compress crumbs tightly.
  3. To make a baked graham crust: Preheat oven to 325°. Bake crust for 10 minutes, until it just starts to brown. Cool completely before filling.

Make the filling and topping:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine 1 cup sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan.  Stir in cider until smooth.  Whisk in egg yolks.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Immediately spoon into prepared crust.
  3. Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer at high speed until foamy.  Mix 1/3 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon corn starch and gradually beat into egg whites.  Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  4. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing to edge of crust.
  5. Bake 15 to 20 minute or until golden.  Cool on wire rack at room temperature for 30 minutes; refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Makes 8 servings


Hand Pies
I use Wealthy apples in this recipe.


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small bits
1/3 cup sour cream
2 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. ice water


3 apples, peeled and finely chopped (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt


1 egg
2 Tbsp. Water
granulated sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter and using a pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Add to the flour mixture and, using a fork, gently toss and stir together until large lumps form and all of the flour has been moistened.   Add the additional water if dough is dry.  Alternately you can pulse the flour mixture and butter together in a food processor then add the sour cream and water mixture, pulsing a few times until a dough forms.

Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour (if preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4½-inch round biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining half of dough. Refrigerate the dough circles for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together the filling ingredients.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Brush a little water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the assembled hand pies for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water for the egg wash. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and lightly brush with the egg wash. Using a paring knife, cut a few small slits on the top of each hand pie, then sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

Tip:  The pies can also be frozen, unbaked without the egg wash and sugar for up to 6 months stored in an airtight freezer bag.  Bake an additional 5 or 10 minutes.

Makes about 38


Applesauce BBQ Ham Balls
I use an old fashioned Hybernal apple in this recipe

Everyone loves meatballs.  Ground ham and fresh pork come together in a juicy meatball in a rich apple barbecue sauce.

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 40 min.
Serves: 15


2 eggs
2 slices bread, torn into small pieces.
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. ground cooked ham
1 lb. ground pork or ground beef
1 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup peeled and chopped tart apple
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Freak Flag Organics Smoky Red Mustard


  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  In bowl combine eggs, bread crumbs, milk, mustard and pepper. With a fork, mash bread into egg and milk until smooth.  Add ground ham and pork; mix well.  With wet hands, shape into 2-inch meatballs and place on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted into balls registers 160°F.
  3. Meanwhile, In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Cook apples in butter for 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in BBQ sauce in a 6 quart slow cooker, stir together the BBQ sauce, smoked paprika and applesauce.  Cover and heat on high for 10 minutes.  Add the fully cooked meatballs and turn to coat.  Reduce heat to low or warm for serving.


Chestnut Crabapples – Perfect to serve with cheese and charcuterie.

Click here for more details on “An Evening on the Terrace’ Gala” an annual fundraiser to benefit the 1006 Summit Avenue Society.


Sweetland Orchard Events

  • On Saturday, October 5, hosting the Good Vibes jazz trio at 7:00 pm
  • On Saturday, October 12, apple trivia and a cider and snack food pairing event at 7:00 pm
  • On Friday, October 18, kids day (for the school break)
  • On Saturday, October 26, celebrating an adult-style Halloween with a psychic
Print Friendly, PDF & Email