There’s never a better time to bake an apple pie than during the first cool days of fall. So which of the thousands of varieties of apples is best? For pies and cobblers, you want apples that can withstand heat without losing their shape or zing. Granny Smith (tart and crisp), Golden Delicious (unbeatable crunch and flavor), and Braeburn (sweeter and slightly softer) are all good picks—but for the best type of apple for apple pie, see our complete guide here. "Before you buy, check for a fresh, fruity aroma," says Amy Traverso, author of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook. No smell? "The apple could be mealy, which will leave your pie lacking in flavor." To really go above and beyond on your pie baking, be sure to keep your butter ice cold, use fresh spices, and crimp the edges carefully using the thumb and forefingers of your opposite hand all the way around the rim (more on that here). Serve your pie a la mode—or, for a savory twist, sprinkle a half cup of grated cheddar cheese over the top crust about 20 minutes before you remove it from the oven.