The best frozen apple pie (and the worst)

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The beauty of apple pie starts with mounds of apples piled into a perfectly formed pastry crust. As it bakes, the seductive aroma of apples, cinnamon and butter fills the kitchen with the anticipation.

Thankfully, that delicious bite of apple goodness doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours in the kitchen, peeling apples and fighting with a rolling pin. It’s much easier, especially during the holidays, to pick up a frozen apple pie. Unwrap, bake and enjoy.

Frozen apple pies come in a range of sizes and styles, from lattice top or traditional crust to crumb-topped. Some are large enough to feed a crowd, others are perfect for small, intimate gatherings.

The best pies are pastry masterpieces — flaky crust filled with sweet, tender apple slices flavored with sugar and cinnamon. And that filling is juicy, sweet and plentiful.

Bad apple pie is candy sweet, with crust that tastes like old, expired shortening. The worst have pitifully few apples swimming in so much thick, starchy syrup that the apple flavor is lost.

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