How A Brown Paper Bag Can Help You Get A Golden Pie Crust

Even if the filling is made perfectly and the flavor is out of this world, a subpar crust can really take away from the overall quality of your pie. Fortunately, if you want yours to come out perfectly golden-brown, there's just one thing you need to do before you put your pie in the oven. Contrary to popular belief, this may not be achieved with a thicker layer of egg wash, or an extra coat of melted butter. Instead, you'll simply put it in a paper bag.

According to the Food Network, the technique was popularized by Southern Wisconsin-based general store and bakery Elegant Farmer. Before baking, every apple pie is placed in a brown paper bag with the top folded down and stapled. The bagged pies are then placed on a sheet pan and baked for an hour. After an hour, the pies are removed from the oven, and a large hole is cut on top of each bag. After 15 more minutes in the oven, the pie crust becomes golden brown.

Why does the paper bag technique work?

Elegant Farmer's actual apple pie recipe is a trade secret, but the reason it's baked in a paper bag — no so much. Elegant Farmer representative Debbie McCready shared with Food52 that the paper bag is used to create the ideal cooking environment which ultimately maximizes the flavor and texture of their pies. "The bag allows the pie to absorb the flavors of cinnamon sugar while keeping the apples crispy," she explained.

The Kitchn put the method to test and discovered that it also works by relying on temperature alone to create the golden color. Brushing the pie crust with egg wash or dusting it with sugar, the outlet explained, normally causes it to darken before the rest of the pie has a chance to catch up. With a paper bag, everything cooks evenly from start to finish, which means you won't have to pre-bake the pie crust, or scramble to cover the edges with foil by the end. Presentation is just as important as taste, and by using a paper bag, you'll get both a golden crust and a tasty pie.