Baking apple pie in a paper bag? I know. It sounds crazy. But it turns out it produces the ideal apple pie – one with a beautifully golden-brown crust that’s flaky and irresistible and a melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon-spiced filling. It goes without saying that apple pie is a classic, and while this method of making it might not be quite as classic, it produces the best version of this pie I’ve ever had.
The crust is a shortening/butter combination so it’s long on flavor and flakiness. Baking it in a bag ensures that it’s always an even golden brown in the end, with no burnt edges or sogginess to be found. You aren’t using just any paper bag though… you want to use a parchment paper bag. You can sometimes find a large parchment roasting bag at your grocery store, but if not you can fashion your own out of a parchment roll. More on that later.
Granny Smith apples are always our first choice for apple pie because of their tartness and texture, and it’s no different here. They’re tossed with some sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice…
… and sealed in between two rounds of that delicious dough.
You cut a few slits in the top and seal the pie up in its bag, but if you can’t find a bag, no need to worry. You can either staple two sheets of parchment together to form a bag, or you can simply fold two large sheets of parchment around the pie in opposite directions, so it’s completely covered like so.
It bakes for a good while – nearly an hour – before you pull it out and cut a hole in the center of the parchment. That hole should reveal the center of the pie and go just to the edges of the crust; you still want them to be covered to prevent burning.
The heat on the oven gets turned up and the pie heads back in for a few minutes, just so everything can get beautifully golden and any steam can get cooked away.
This method of cooking eliminates all of the woes that often come with baking an apple pie – there are no burnt edges, no soggy or gummy crusts to worry about… It’s just a super simple way to make the perfect pie, every single time.
Paper Bag Apple Pie
Serves 8-10; 1 hour 15 minutes
- 1 parchment roasting bag or parchment paper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons shortening
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 Granny Smith apples
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg white, whisked
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening and butter until coarse crumbs are formed.
- Add cold water one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition. Add just enough water for the dough to hold together.
- Divide dough in half and shape each portion into a disc. (You can wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator overnight, if needed.)
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a circle. Transfer one circle to a 9-inch pie plate and set the other aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the apples and lemon juice and toss to combine.
- Transfer filling to prepared crust and top with the other circle of dough. Trim edges and flute. Brush top with whisked egg white.
- If you don't have a parchment roasting bag, you can make one out of two large pieces of parchment paper stapled together tightly. (You don't want steam to escape.)
- Slide the pie into the parchment bag and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and raise temperature to 425°F. Cut a hole roughly 8-inches in diameter that goes just to the edges of the pie. The edges should be covered, but center of the pie uncovered. (Steam will come out, so be careful!)
- Once the oven comes up to temperature, bake for 8 more minutes. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Food Network.