Apple Pie Baked in a Bag

December 14, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes one 9-inch pie
Author Notes

Recipe inspired by the pies from the Elegant Farmer and tested by myself and Jonah Ollman, the taster and requester of the Elegant Farmer pie. —Leslie Stephens

What You'll Need
  • For the dough:
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons shortening (Crisco, if possible)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
  • For the filling, assembly, and baking:
  • 5 apples (I used a 2 honeycrisp, 2 macoun, and 1 granny smith)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon tapioca powder (or equivalent tapioca pearls)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for assembly
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • White of 1 egg
  1. For the dough:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening and butter until mixture is uniform and resembles coarse cornmeal.
  3. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with a pastry blender. Just only enough water to hold the dough together. The dough must not be sticky—it should come away from the bowl clean.
  4. Divide dough in half, then use your hands to shape the pastry into a ball then flatten it with your palm. Either wrap each half of dough tightly in Seran wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight at this point, or continue. Between two sheets of lightly floured waxed paper or Seran wrap, use light strokes from the center in all directions to spread the pastry into a circle about 1 inch large than the top of your pie plate. (To prevent wax paper from slipping, sprinkle a drop or two of water on the counter or work area before placing the dough down.) Repeat with each circle and set aside.
  5. Peel top sheet of waxed paper from one of the pastry circles, but leave the back on. Then, rest dough on hand and wrist and gently lift onto a 9-inch pie plate and ease dough into place inverting it, but do not stretch. Set pie plate and dough for top aside.
  1. For the filling, assembly, and baking:
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F. Core apples and slice into 1/8-inch half-moons. Add to a large bowl, then toss with cinnamon, tapioca, sugar, flour, and lemon.
  3. Add an even layer of flour to the pie plate assembled in Step 4 of making the dough (this will soak up some of the moisture and ensure a crisp bottom crust). Being careful not to add too much of the moisture pooled at the bottom of the bowl, transfer the filling into the prepared crust.
  4. Very carefully peel wax paper off of the second pastry circle and invert over the filling. Trim the edges, if there's excess, and flute the edges if able. Brush with whisked egg white.
  5. Place the pie onto a rimmed baking sheet, and create a bag out of parchment paper. This can either be done by taking two pieces of parchment paper, large enough to fit the entire pie inside, and stapling three of the edges together—use plenty of staples here, the idea is that steam cannot escape. Then carefully put the pie inside, staple it in, and place onto the baking sheet. This works great for presentation—as you can serve the pie with the bag. Alternatively, pull a sheet of parchment across the pie and tuck in the edges, then pull another sheet to layer over the first perpendicularly and tuck in the edges carefully so that the pie is pinning it down.
  6. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, remove it from the oven and raise the temperature to 425° F. Using a pair of scissors, carefully (steam will escape and the pie will be hot!) cut open a hole that goes just up to the edges of the pie, roughly 8 inches in diameter (so that it leaves the top of the pie bare, but still covers the edges). Once the oven has reach temperature, return it for 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and eat (with ice cream!).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bea
  • Tanya
  • Margarita Jullian
    Margarita Jullian
  • Leslie Stephens
    Leslie Stephens
  • Patricia Smith
    Patricia Smith

15 Reviews

Bea March 24, 2018
WOW, I can't wait to try this!! I'm so excited to make it in the paper, how cool is that. Thanks for sharing 😋
Tanya September 18, 2017
Wow, thank you so much for this amazing recipe!!

Have made this twice now and each time the results were out of this world. The finished pies were gorgeously golden, light, flaky, and deeply flavourful. Guests have raved about it and it is as good chilled as it is warm out of the oven. An utterly satisfying baking experience and serving delight!
Cindy November 12, 2016
I have had the Elegant Farmer apple pie in a bag. The top crust is different from the bottom crust. The bottom is traditional with lard. The top crust is more of a sugar cookie for shortbread recipe. If you watch the throw down with Bobby Flay you will see how they put it on in pieces. This is an incredible pie, which is very hard to replicate. I just order them when I need one and have it shipped.
Margarita J. March 15, 2016
Leslie thanks for answering, yes now it does make sense.
Linda P. March 15, 2016
Yes tell us about the hole. Is it as big as the pie? Please answer so we can try this! Thanks!
Leslie S. March 15, 2016
Yes! It's roughly 8 inches in diameter, so that just the edges are covered so the top browns but the edges don't burn. Hope that helps!
Margarita J. March 14, 2016
As Betsy and trish i´m rather curious about the hole . from where to to where doI cut , is it a slit or all around?
Leslie S. March 15, 2016
Hi Margarita, I've updated the recipe to clarify but you cut it so that it's just up the edges! About an 8-inch in diameter hole, so that it allows the top to brown but covers the edges so that they don't burn. Let me know if that makes sense!
trish March 14, 2016
Could you explain about where the hole is cut in the paper please. I don't quite understand "cut a hole that goes up to the edges of the pie"? Is it a circular hole that exposes the entire pie or a slit that lets the steam escape? I am anxious to bake this pie for my family!
Betsy December 25, 2015
If I'm interpreting the instructions correctly, the hole cut into the parchment should be basically the size of the pie. If that is indeed the case, would I get the same result by simply taking away the parchment paper after the first bake step?
Henry O. December 21, 2015
Hi there! I'm trying your recipe and I have some feedback for you. But first of all, I have some questions for you. Do you bake? Did you really bake this pie before "writing" this recipe? I have my doubts that you did. You see, if you had, you would not have written instructions like "place dough in the refrigerator overnight or continue". Um, what? You either let it rest overnight so you let the flour absorb the moisture from the water OR you don't because it doesn't matter. Both options are not simultaneously possible. I know this because I tried rolling this train wreck of a dough you call a "recipe" after half an hour rest and it was awful. Crumbly, dry and would not hold. Then I tried it 3 hours later and it still wouldn't work. I used 3 tablespoons of water with it. No dice. I ended up pressing the dough into the pie mold. Oh yeah, and how think we're you rolling this anyway? Your measurements barely yielded enough doug to press into a pie mold, let alone do TWO disks that can be handled as you wrote.

So I'm thinking you found this recipe somewhere, you"wrote" your article and posted it as click bait to sell ads for your boss.

Personally, I'm not trusting food52 again. This was just a frustrating recipe and not worth the effort when there are much better ones out there.
Leslie S. December 22, 2015
Hi Henry, yes! I've of course made this pie several times—when I made it the first night, I let the dough rest overnight, and when we made it in the test kitchen for the photo shoot (the photos you see here!), we used the dough immediately and both times the crust was equally delicious so I wrote that it was possible to do either way to give some options! I actually made it just tonight for my family (without letting the dough rest) and it came out as it did the last two times.

The several times we tested it, it was delicious and yielded plenty of dough so I'm not sure why your dough didn't yield as much but I'm happy to work with you to help you figure it out! I only shared this recipe because I found it delicious and wanted to share it so that other people could also experience it, but I'm sorry if you found that it was not as good as I found it!
Patricia S. December 22, 2015
One recipe doesn't come out perfectly the first time and you disown the site? Do YOU bake? If you claim to, I assume you know that there are literally dozens of factors involved in the chemistry of baking that can often yield less than sublime results.

Good gravy, dust yourself off and try again! I guess the good thing about this "feedback"/hater rant is that I now feel compelled to test this recipe myself to see if I can get it to work!
Jonah O. December 22, 2015
I also made this pie and can totally vouch for the recipe! It turned out wonderfully! Not sure what went wrong over there Henry, but no need to take it out on the kind people at Food52!
[email protected] December 15, 2017
Good riddance!