John Bunker’s spent a lifetime studying apples, including cooking with them and eating them. Through that tasting, he discovered the delicious reasons why Maine growers for generations grew and passed on certain varieties. Here are three recipes that include some of his favorite heritage apples, and suggestions for substitutions.

John Bunker’s apple sauce

For most of the year, John has apple sauce every day, straight up or in/on various foods. His go-to apples for applesauce vary depending the season: Cole’s Quince, Duchess, Redfield, Kavanagh, Roxsbury Russet and Cherryfield. However, St. Lawrence and Wealthy apples also make great sauces and may be easier to find. Here’s his simple method.

Cut several apples into 4-8 pieces. Do not remove skin or cores.

Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan — about 1/2 inch or so.

Simmer until fruit is soft. Run it through a Foley food mill or other simple hand-operated mill. This will remove the seeds and any skin/core material that didn’t cook down. No need to add any spices or sugar. Let the apples speak for themselves.


Serve hot with oatmeal or pancakes in the morning, meat at night or ice cream at noon!

Cammy’s favorite baked apples

John’s wife, Cammy, loves this baked apple recipe. Wolf River and Blue Pearmain are two of the best apples for this recipe, but other large baking apples can be used. This recipe is on John’s website at


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup dark rum


1/4 cup apple cider

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon whipping cream

2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 teaspoon flour


1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped and toasted

6 pitted dates, chopped

4 apples (about 2 pounds)

Additional melted butter for basting



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 1/4 cup melted butter, the rum and the cider in an 8 X 8 X 2-inch glass baking dish.

Mix the brown sugar, egg yolks, cream, ginger, flour, lemon zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in small bowl until smooth. Mix in almonds and dates.

With a melon baller, scoop out the stem end and the entire core of each apple, being careful to leave the bottom intact. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 1-inch-wide strip of peel from around top of each cavity. Pack the cavities to the top with the almond mixture.

Arrange the stuffed apples in the prepared dish. Brush the exposed apple surfaces with additional melted butter.

Roast the apples, basting occasionally with the juices in the pan; cover loosely with foil if the filling browns too quickly. Bake until a tester inserted into an apple meets little resistance, about 45 minutes. Watch the apples carefully so they don’t overcook and explode.


Serve warm with whipped cream.

Carol’s famous Walk-About apple pie

Wolf River apples work especially well in these pies since they are on the dry side and don’t make the pies too juicy. In lieu of Wolf River apples, choose an apple that holds its shape well when baked. This recipe is also on John’s website at


2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar


1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening or butter

2/3 cup milk

1 egg, separated

1 quart Wolf River apples, cored and sliced

1 cup sugar


1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a jellyroll pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients, and cut in the shortening or butter. In a separate bowl beat together the egg yolk and milk. Add this to the flour mixture, and mix just until the dough comes together in a ball and holds its shape.

In a third bowl toss apples with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll out half the dough on a floured surface, and lay it in the reserved, greased jellyroll pan. Spread the apples on top, and dot with butter. Roll out the remaining dough, and lay it over the top of the apples. Cut slits on the top for ventilation. Brush the top with egg white, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the surface is golden brown.

When the pie is cool enough to handle, cut it into squares. No need for a knife or fork; you can take it with you to eat as you talk a walk, stroll a beach or mosey through an orchard.

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