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Taste test: Apple desserts

Whether it's Christmas morning, a rainy afternoon or the end of a long day, a hot apple treat is always a good option. Taster's Choice found five brands of apple turnovers, cobblers and "apple blossoms" in local grocery store freezers. Several were delightful pastries filled with hot apples and spice and at least two would be perfect for company, too.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Marie Callender's/

Taste of

Mrs. Smith's/

How'd it look? Rich and inviting.Pretty.Crisp and homemade.
Judges' comments This famous piemaker has a special touch with apple cobbler. The apples cooked up crisp with delicious cinnamon and sugar flavors. The sugar was a bit much for some judges, but others preferred the extra sweet taste. The crust was flaky and firm with enough crumb topping to satisfy all of the judges. The especially liked the large apple slices in the dessert."This looks like Aunt Jean's apple dumplings," said one panelist who liked the slightly tart taste of the dessert. The crust was as soft as the apple inside of this treat, which judges described as creamy. "This is like a warm-folded document of yummy freedom," said another judge who said he would love the dessert with some nutmeg, cinnamon and ice cream. Panelists described the apples as ripe.Mrs. Smith's apple dessert looked a bit better than it tasted. The nice, crisp pie crust held up well during baking, but the inside was a bit gummy. The apple slices were generous and covered with a nice layer of cinnamon. A couple of judges said this dessert was almost too sweet. Another said it tasted peppery. "It's like it was left in the cupboard too long," he said.
Would they buy? Two of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes and one said maybe.One of the four judges said maybe.
Shopping information$4.99 for a 32-ounce package

from Publix.
$4.59 for a 16-ounce package of four from Sweetbay.$4.99 for a 32-ounce package from Winn-Dixie.
Also sampled: Great Value ($2.25 for an 8-ounce package of two from Wal-Mart, 33 points) and Pepperidge Farm ($3.19 for a 12.5-ounce package of four from Sweetbay, 31 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and consumer/foodie John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc. Personal chef Kay Hodnett Bell helped administer the tasting. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Taste test: Apple desserts 12/22/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:30am]
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