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Paper Sack Apple Pie

Growing up, the unmistakable smell of a paper bag roasting in the oven always meant one thing – Mom was baking her famous Paper Sack Apple Pie.

Unlike lattice-top apple pies or double-crust pies, this pie is made with a crumb topping, which gives the pie a sugary, buttery crunch when you bite into it, and goes oh so well with a scoop of Bluebell Vanilla Bean ice cream — but what doesn’t?

Xavier recently pointed out the number of photographs on my blog with scoops of ice cream, but what am I supposed to do, serve these desserts naked? Besides being a capable star of its own, if you ask me, ice cream is the perfect sidecar to just about any dessert; it’s the Robin to the Batman, the Sonny to the Cher, the Ricky to the Lucy…together, they make a much more interesting, and delicious, pair.

On my recent trip home, I begged, I pleaded, for Mom to make her pie, which she did for Easter, and happily showed me some of her tried-and-true piecrust-making secrets along the way, which I’ll share in an upcoming blog, I promise.

These days, paper sacks are hard to come by – and Mom warns against using recycled sacks, because she read that they’re treated with chemicals that that shouldn’t be heated, and certainly not baked into a pie – so even though we managed to find a paper sack for this pie, if you can’t get your hands on one, don’t worry. A couple of layers of parchment paper would probably work, too (just put two pieces down in an “X,” bring the ends up over the pie, and clip with clothespins as you would with a paper sack).

Paper Sack Apple Pie

4-6 apples (Mom likes Granny Smith)
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup butter (4 oz. or one stick), cold

Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.

1. Peel, core and slice apples, and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.

2. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon in a small bowl, and add to apples and mix well.

3. Meanwhile, put 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour in a Cuisinart and pulse one or two times to combine. Add cold pats of butter and pulse only until butter crumbs form. 
(Mom still does this by hand, by putting all of the ingredients in a bowl and using a pastry cutter, and you may do this, too, if you’re so inclined.)

4. Place apples in unbaked pie shell and top with crumbs.

5. Slide into paper bag, fold it over once or twice to close, and secure with three or four wooden clothespins, and bake for one hour.

6. Split bag, remove pie, and cool slightly before serving.

7. Serve, naturally, with a scoop of ice cream.