BEST. PIE. EVER!

Baking, as you may have read previously, is a hobby I enjoy. Even more than enjoy I find baking to be an almost spiritual experience. During stressful times in my life I’ve found the simple processes of measuring, pouring, mixing, rolling, cutting, and then inhaling the tantalizing smells of the final product as it comes out of the oven, to be grounding. I have trusted favorite recipes and enjoy trying new ones. I even have recipes that, no matter the amount of begging and pleading, I will not share with anyone (I figure why create the competition).

When I was living in Vermont I picked up a few incredibly tasty and successful recipes. One of the absolute foolproof and easiest is an apple pie that’s baked in a paper shopping bag. I haven’t made it in quite some time particularly since hopping on the bandwagon of bringing my own bags to the grocery store. I just don’t have paper bags hanging around the house anymore.

The recipe, Superb Apple Pie, came from a student who was part of a peer mentoring group I advised at the college where I worked. She wanted to desperately to make pie that fall of her sophomore year and baking in the dorms was no easy feat. Small stove that you could never be sure would work and no space for actually spreading out with all the ingredients. And then there is the matter of everyone in the dorm wanting a piece of the action; one pie does not feed the masses living in a college dorm.

The pie is just as easy to make as using a pre-made Pillsbury crust, and just as good if not better. The crumb topping is buttery and sugary and beautiful as it comes out of the bag still hot and smelling of fresh orchard goodness. I remember how Rachel looked when she presented her pie to those of us who waited anxiously, salivating, in my living room. I’m not sure it was exactly cooled enough to eat, but we needed to cut into it within several minutes of it coming out of the oven. It was heaven!

Rachel, I hope you don’t mind if I share the recipe here. It’s apple season and everyone should enjoy this recipe! Thank you for introducing it to me and I sure hope you’re still making it!

CRUST
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup salad oil (don’t use olive oil)
2 tbsp. cold milk

FILLING
4 cups sliced apple
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

TOPPING
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar

No rolling of the crust – baked in a paper bag. Combine flour, sugar, salt, oil, and milk. Mix until well blended. Pat mixture in bottom and sides of a nine-inch pan. Do not roll out. Combine sugar and spices. Toss lightly with sliced apples and pour into unbaked pie shell. Combine flour, margarine and sugar and mix together with fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of pie. Place pie in brown paper bag and seal. Bake at 350 degrees 1 1/2 hours. NO peeking! Slit sack open with sharp knife. Cool pie on rack. If oven bakes rather hot, reduce to 325 degrees.

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