A few reminders to make it fabulous:
- Baking apples come in abundant variety: Beacon (sweet) to York Imperial (slightly tart and crisp). Look for locally-grown favorites, which will be especially fresh.
- Try mixing apple varieties in a single pie, combining tart with sweet or crisp with mealy. It may take a bit of trial and error, but this is a great way to personalize a recipe.
- Because apples shrink during baking, a pie may have a gap between the apples and the crust. Use tart, firm apples, layering them so there isn't too much space in between. Larger air slits in the top crust also helps.
- Cut baking time of an apple pie in half by using a microwavable pie plate. Microwave the unbaked apple pie uncovered on High for 12 to 14 minutes or until filling begins to bubble through air slits in the crust. Transfer the pie to a conventional oven (don't preheat), and bake at 450°F for 12 to 18 minutes or until the crust is brown and flaky.
- Try berries fresh from the farmers' market or a roadside stand, or pick them fresh at a “pick-it-yourself” farm for a yummy berry pie.