Apple Pie Baked in a Bag (Streusel Top)

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Sunday afternoons at my grandma’s house were full of simple entertainments. Rummaging through her button box to find the fanciest, winking pink or gold buttons was a favorite pastime. So was raiding the gumdrop dish, and, creating masks out of the brown paper bags she kept next to the refrigerator. The thought that just such a paper bag could be used for baking apple pie never occurred to me. But it did occur to Grandma–and to Nicholas Soyer, chef at the Brook’s Club in London, who worked out the basics in his 1911-published “Soyer’s Paper Bag Cookery.” Turns out baking pie in a paper bag helps steam the apples to tenderness–without burning the house down. Since launching Lost Recipes Found, I’ve had requests for such a pie many times. Here, then, is a tasty version, adapted from Adrienne Kane’s United States of Pie. And if you’re looking for more apple-y recipes? Try our recipe for Richard Thomas’ Apple Spice Cake & Whiskey Frosting or, this simple Boo Leet’s Apple Crisp, or our Apple Pie Slices, or for a main dish, this recipe for Porkchops with Sauerkraut & Apple Stuffing.  More apple recipes coming, too!

Makes 1, 9-inch pie

Flaky Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled lard (Note: try to get good-quality lard from butcher shop)
  • 3 Tbsp ice cold 1/2 and 1/2

Filling Ingredients

  • 5 medium-sized Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, quartered and cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Streusel Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces


  1. Make bottom crust: Sift dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the lard into the dry ingredients until it looks like wet sand with some larger pea-sized bits. Sprinkle the 1/2 and 1/2 over, and using a fork, lightly mix in. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge.
  2. Make filling: Toss apple sliced with sugar; sprinkle cinnamon over, add lemon juice and toss again. Add flour and cornstarch, toss once more.
  3. Set oven rack to center position. Ensure there is at least 9 inches between the rack and the top of the oven, in order to give the paper bag clearance. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Make streusel topping: Mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and using two knives or pastry cutter, cut fat into the mixture until mixture resembles pea-sized lumps.
  5. Roll out bottom pie crust, ease into 9-inch pie plate; decoratively crimp edge. Fill pie shell with apple filling. Top with streusel, sprinkling evenly over all. Slide pie plate into a large brown paper grocery bag. (If it has handles, cut those off.) Fold/roll the top of the bag over twice and staple shut all the way across. Place the bagged pie on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet on oven rack and bake for 50 minutes at 425.
  6. Remove cookie sheet with pie from oven. Carefully cut open the paper bag. Using hot mitts, remove the pie plate from the bag. Throw the bag away and place the pie plate on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes until top of pie is nicely browned.

2 thoughts on “Apple Pie Baked in a Bag (Streusel Top)

  1. You know, that’s a very good question…I have not tried baking it in one of those…I suspect the paper bag might “breathe” a little more than a plastic bag…but then again, when you roast poultry in the turkey bag, you usually add some flour in the bag and cut some vents in it, so it could be a similar environment. Also, not sure about resting the bag on the metal cookie sheet…but a worthwhile experiment. Let me know if you give this a go and I’ll publish your result! Best regards, Monica

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