The Empire apple comes out the New York State Fruit testing program in Geneva, New York, one of the last remaining apple breeding programs in the US. Despite its less-than-perfect parents (McIntosh x Red Delicious), it’s probably one of their best introductions. Although mostly abandoned in recent years because of small fruit size, the apple can still be found in small quantities in commercial Maine orchards.
Empire is often recommended for dessert (fresh eating). It should also make very decent sauce though we haven’t tried it. It stores quite well in the refrigerator or root cellar.