At first glance in the grocery store, I thought these Opal apples were just huge yellow bell peppers, and I wondered why they were selling them in a different area than where the other bell peppers were. Then I noticed the sign that read “Opal Apples”
This variety of apple was developed in the Czech Republic and is exclusively grown in FirstFruits Farms in the southeastern part of Washington state. They are the only orchard in the US that grows Opal apples! Introduced in 2010, these apples are a cross between Golden Delicious and Topaz (another apple developed in the Czech Republic), which resulted in an apple that not only had a more vibrant yellow color on their exterior, but also a non-browning feature of their interior when exposed to air. Seriously, the apples you see here were cut stayed fresh-looking for hours!
And just in case you’re wondering, taste-wise, I think they are much tastier than Golden Delicious. These have a very subtle tartness that adds dimension to the sweetness. They also feel crunchier and are fairly juicy. They are also a non-GMO product! In short, Opal apples are bigger, better, crunchier, tastier and they don’t brown when you cut them! Instant apple love! I almost feel sorry for the Golden Delicious apple. Who will continue to buy them when these are around? Yes, they do cost a little bit more, but about the same price for other apples of this caliber, like the Honeycrisp.
Even though the recipe I chose was initially meant for pears, I felt that this would be the perfect recipe to showcase the uniqueness of this apple. The recipe is from a book called “La Cucina Italiana: Delicious Desserts”, but I noticed that the recipe itself is very similar to other recipes meant for French Apple Cakes. I bought the book as a used book at a thrift store in the early 2000s, so the inner sleeve has a handwritten note from Kay to Kim, who apparently went to Italy together, and this was a gift from Kay that she gave to Kim shortly before, and in anticipation of, their trip to Italy!
french apple cake with opal apples
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large Opal apples, peeled, cored, and diced
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and stir with a whisk several times. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time until all is incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract and beat it in to incorporate, then add the flour mixture and fold into the creamed mixture until all the flour is moistened. Do the same with the apples, fold it into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the top surface with the bottom of a spoon. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.
Place in oven and bake for about an hour. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing the cake from pan. Sprinkle confectioners sugar on top, if desired.