The best fall dessert with almost no work

Three frozen apple pies offer quick and easy alternatives to a festive classic

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Kroger, Harris Teeter and Wegmans carry Marie Callender’s Dutch Apple Pie, which has a golden cinnamon crumble topping instead of the usual top crust. 

Ally Donberger | Cavalier Daily

Nothing screams fall like a warm slice of freshly baked apple pie. The cinnamon sugar, flaky crust and gooey apples all collide to create the staple fall dessert. However, baking an apple pie from scratch can be seriously labor intensive and does not necessarily fit in the schedule or baking abilities of your every day University student.

Frozen apple pies are a great alternative to this hectic task. Many grocery stores carry different options of pies. I found three strong options from the Charlottesville Kroger. However, different stores will carry similar options. With a wide variety of options to select from in the frozen aisle, I compiled a list of the three best options when hunting for the ideal frozen apple pie.

Marie Callender’s Lattice Apple Pie

Marie Callender’s Lattice Apple Pie promised an “extra flaky crust made from scratch” and did not disappoint. The pie came out of the oven almost as beautiful as the picture on the box. Crusted with browned sugar, and a intricate lattice design, this pie definitely had the best visual appeal of the three. The pie cost $8.99 at Kroger, which is reasonable considering all of the different ingredients that a homemade recipe entails. It cooks for 55 to 65 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

It tasted just as good as it looked. The crust was flaky as promised, and the sugar topping offered a hint of sweetness that balanced well against the apple flavor. It wasn’t too thick, but offered the perfect amount of crust with every bite. I think the lattice design was a bonus because the crust did not overpower the apples.

The inside of the pie contained the perfect amount of apple filling with a strong cinnamon flavor and great, gooey texture. The apples were very sweet and firm, but not hard or too mushy. It was the best feature of this pie because it had a strong apple flavor that is key to any good apple pie.

Marie Callender’s Dutch Apple Pie

Marie Callender impresses again with another delicious rendition of the popular apple pie.The Dutch version includes a golden cinnamon crumble topping instead of top crust, but still includes the “extra flaky crust.” The picture on the box is not quite as appealing as the lattice pie, but don’t judge it by the picture alone. This pie is delicious. It also cost $8.99 at Kroger and cooked for 50 to 65 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pie was little more complicated to make due to the crumble topping that had to be sprinkled on top 10 minutes before it was finished baking. However, it was definitely worth the extra trouble. The cinnamon crumbles were a tasty touch to the typical apple pie crust topping. The balance of the texture of the crumbles against the gooey apples worked really well. The bottom crust was not too thick and extra flaky as promised by the box.

The apple filling was similar to the lattice apple pie. Although the crumble topping slightly overpowered the filling, it still tasted good. If you are big fan of the apple filling, then the crumbles may be a bit overwhelming. However, it is definitely a still a strong contender for a potential frozen pie purchase.

Mrs. Smith’s Original Flaky Crust Apple Pie

Mrs. Smith’s Original Apple Pie definitely differed from the Marie Callender selections but still is a great option if you prefer tart apples and a buttery crust. The box displays a golden brown crust that promises a “real butter” taste which was prevalent in the actual pie. It is a cheaper option compared to the other two at only $7.49 from Kroger and bakes for 45 to 55 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The appearance of this pie is that of a typical apple pie. It has a full crust on both the top and bottom that is flaky and golden after baking. It had a strong buttery flavor as depicted which was a good balance against the apples. The Marie Callender’s crusts tended to have a significantly sweeter flavor that could sometimes be overwhelming against the apples.

The apples in the pie were more tart than the previous two pies. I thought this was better because it made a stronger apple flavor. It also had slightly less cinnamon sugar in the filling then the Marie Callender pies, which probably contributed to the overall strength of the apple flavor. I think that it modeled the taste of an actual homemade pie the most of the three. This pie is a good option if you aren’t a fan of overly sweet apple pies.

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