Yesterday evening I made a quick run to the grocery section of the big-box retailer across the river. My mission was a sack of White Lily flour for the extraordinarily toothsome—if admittedly somewhat peculiar sounding—apple-pie-in-a-bag Myladylove was busy preparing. Flour and some French vanilla ice cream to go with the pie.
After after a day spent working in the yard, we'd decided this wonderful pie, à la mode, would constitute our supper. Not merely dessert; the meal in its entirety. I figured, in order to make sure of covering my nutritional needs, I'd better count on partaking of seconds…possibly thirds.
Oh, I also needed to pick up a brown paper bag. Can't bake an apple-pie-in-a-bag if you always carry your groceries home in plastic.
I will admit it is indeed handy, when such moods strike and you realize you're missing several critical ingredients, to have such a modern emporium nearby. Everything from dog treats to motor oil to a wedge of sharp cheddar available for the effort of a brief drive. Downstream, across the bridge, back upstream along the main thoroughfare which parallels the stream—though at a blessedly fair distance from the water. Perhaps a mile-and-a-half by road, or a third that from here as the crow flies.
A short trip which takes you from our practically rural setting to garish, congested suburbia. Yet two worlds which remain unreservedly separated by a dense, hundred-yard band of old riparian woods along each bank. Plus, on the far side, a wide park beyond the trees, additionally bordered by a tangled weedfield, and finally an intervening hill that cuts off any sight or sound of highway traffic, businesses and their parking lots.
I do sometimes feel like Pa, on Little House on the Prairie, taking the buckboard and making the monthly, day-long journey to town for supplies. Except for me, it's three minutes each way.
The sun was long down, light fast giving way to darkness. A waxing Hunter's Moon, nearing three-quarters full and bright as new silver, had rolled high above the trees. To the west, a painted sky was done up in autumnal oranges, reds, pinks, and yellows, decorated with hints of purple and blue. An undulating vee of geese, so far off they looked like a wavering cross-stitch on luminescent silk, appeared to be heading for the river beyond the hill.
When I reached the store's concrete façade, I was surprised by the sudden feel of it's radiated heat. Like walking close to an oven. Which reminded of the delectable pie soon to come and thus the necessity to hustle at my errand.
In case the notion of baking your own apple-pie-in-a-bag strikes you as eminently worthwhile—and I assure you, your time will be well spent—here's Myladylove's recipe:
6 or 7 medium apples, peeled and sliced (We used Winesap, but Granny Smith or your favorite baking variety works just as well.)
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 c. cane sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon, then toss together with the readied apples. Place in 9-inch unbaked pie shell. (A little heaping is fine.)
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. cane sugar
1/2 c. flour
Spread over apples on top, coating evenly. This becomes the pie's top shell. Using a baking sheet in case of over-bubbles, insert pie into brown paper bag. (Myladylove always places the bag on its side—horizontal instead of sitting upright.) Fold bag top closed and secure with paper clips or staples. Put on rack in the center of pre-heated 400˚ oven, taking care the paper bag doesn't come in contact with the oven's interior surface. Bake for 1 hour. Remove, cut away bag. Allow to cool to the level of your lip-pain tolerance…add whipped cream, ice cream, or nothing whatsoever should you prefer yours straight. Enjoy. Repeat as necessary.
And before you worry and ask…
No, the bag won't catch on fire.
No, baking in a brown paper bag doesn't give the pie a "funny" taste.
No, I haven't a clue who might have come up with such an odd baking method in the first place—or why—but it works, and scrumptiously well.