12/1/13

Brown Bag Apple Pie

Have you ever baked a turkey in a brown paper bag? I have. The turkey comes out beautifully tender and moist. I don’t know why the bag doesn’t burn up in the oven. And I don’t know why it creates such a good turkey. But it does.

With one or two brown bag turkeys under my belt I was certainly curious earlier this fall when a fellow quilter, who was hosting me in her home in Oklahoma for a few days, asked me if I had ever baked an apple pie in a brown bag. No. I had not. But suddenly, I wanted to!

I brought the recipe home with me and set to work making a Brown Bag Apple Pie.

Following the directions I rolled out the bottom crust and lined a pretty pie plate. I peeled and sliced the apples, a mix of Jonathon and Jonagold, and tossed them with sugar and spices and poured them into the unbaked shell. I mixed my crumb topping and sprinkled it atop the apples. Then came the leap of faith – putting the pie into a brown bag,  crimping the opening tightly shut and sliding it into a piping hot oven. Fingers crossed, I closed the oven door and went away for an hour.

60 minutes later the timer rang. I couldn’t see the pie so I didn’t know if the filling was hot and bubbly. How would I know if the apples were fully cooked? I couldn’t peek as it baked to see if my crust was getting too brown – or worse, not done enough. But the kitchen smelled of hot apples and cinnamon, butter and nuts so I called it “Done” and removed it from the oven.

apple pie in a bag

Unrolling the end to open the bag, I took a look – “Oh MY!” It’s a pretty pie!

peeking in at apple pie in a bag

Carefully, least I burn myself on the hot steam flowing off the pie, I tore the bag open to reveal the pie in all her glory.

apple pie  looking good

The apple filling was still bubbling up along the edges – a good indicator that the filling was fully cooked. The top, lightly golden, was crunchy but not overly browned. With a fingernail I brushed a tiny section of the fluted crust – it flaked against my nail. Done.

While the pie cooled, I wondered, “Why does it work? Who ever thought of putting a pie in a brown bag, anyway?” To my surprise I learned, from a quick internet search, that in 1911 a whole cookbook was published with recipes for brown bag baking: Soyer’s Paper Bag Cookery, by Nicholas Soyer –  a reproduction of the original can be found in online bookstores. Who’d of thought!

AFTER I baked my pie in a brown bag, and it came out just fine, I read to avoid using a bag with printing on it or glued on handles. (The heat causes fumes, or worse – flames).

I still wasn’t sure what the big deal was – yes, my pie was pretty but I’ve made other pretty pies without a brown bag. So I served up a slice and bit into it. The apples: tender and juicy, the spices:  just right. The crust: flaky and golden, evenly baked. Then there was the crumb topping – oh, the crumb topping! There, blanketing the apples, I found the goodness of a Brown Bag Apple Pie! Crunchy, nutty, buttery – it was like no other topping I have baked nor eaten. It was like an apple pie with a pecan speckled shortbread cooky on top!

Apple pie baked in a brown paper bag

Forget the turkey! The next time you feel like baking something in a brown bag, try apple pie!!

 

 

 

 

05/15/13

Easy as pie?

Slowly but surely I’m figuring out how to build a website and will be ready to start blogging soon! The guy on the video said he built his website in an hour. I’ve lost track of the number of hours I’ve been at it! It makes making a pie look easy!