Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Elegant Pie

I like to think I'm a pretty good baker, but there are some things that I just can't touch: one of them has always been Elegant Farmer Apple Pie.

For those of you who don't know---Elegant Farmer is a fabulous bakery and deli in Mukwonago, WI, famous for their amazing pies in paper bags. I make a pretty good pie, but I've never made anything that even comes close to their delicious, crackly crusted apple pie. Nothing comes close, nothing.

But what is life without goals?

With a free afternoon, and a bag full of assorted apples,  I decided to try to replicate the most amazing pie ever. Unsurprisingly, I don't think I duplicated it--but I came closer than I have before.

To start, the pie of course needed to be made in a bag:

Safety Note: Apparently, you're not REALLY supposed to bake pies in old grocery bags, because the dyes and composition of recycled paper bags aren't regulated for baking purposes. So if you're not as lazy as me, and don't feel like living life on the edge, use parchment paper.

The bag, whatever health risks it may pose, did succeed in producing the pie's characteristically crisp, perfectly browned crust.

The crust itself, which I hadn't been able to figure out previously, was also a success.

Pulling from a lesser used recipe on allrecipes, I tried out a topping that's essentially equal parts butter, sugar, and flour. The result is crackly, crunchy, and just what I was looking for.

The pie was delicious, but it could still use some tweaking. Dave described it as "too Christmas-y," which I believe means "too much nutmeg." Also, he made the point (and I might agree) that there may have been more of that crackly crust, and less of the normal, base crust in the original. As a crust person, I think more crust is always an improvement.

Too bad I don't have my very own test kitchen, or I'd make this again right away! As it is, I've got most a pie sitting here that's just not going to eat itself. I'm sure I'll b making pie again in the near future, however--and I will definitely be using this crust!

Edit: This is the recipe I used to approximate Elegant Farmer's Apple Pie: Apple Pie in a Brown Paper Bag 
Again, however, there is too much nutmeg, in my opinion, and the quantity of apples called for seems a bit high. I used closer to 2 lbs for my pie. Also, I used (gasp!) Jiffy pie crust mix for the bottom of the pie instead of their recipe. When I perfect this, I'll post my complete recipe with edits.


  1. OMG I miss those pies! You do realize that you might just have to share those recipes (along with the tweaks at a later date) with me, right? ;)

  2. That's true. You really should be posting your recipes!

  3. Thanks, guys! See the edit above :).

  4. I bet you could fit in more apples if you follow Cooks Illustrated's tips for sky high apple pie. They tell you to cook the apples separately first and then drain them to get rid of some of the liquid, then put them in the crust.