Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This could be a sad day for blogdom... After reading this post, my guess is that TUESDAY's WITH DORRIE author Dorrie Greenspan will never blog again. Once she takes a look at this, all her efforts to cook desserts will pale in comparison.

OK, that was a tongue superglued firmly in cheek joke. Hopefully you all have taken a look at Dorrie's site (and book), and knows that she is a dessert god. I am not a dessert god; neither making, nor eating. No matter how it looks - no matter how many chins I seem to be growing, I usually politely eat about half of what I am given, if that much. But if it doesn't have bacon on it, I usually pass on dessert (and double up on whatever had bacon on it). Having said that, I have been on a quest for GRILLED desserts.

So, the other night, I was watching one of those Throwdown Bobby Flay shows on the Food Network. And there was a paper bag APPLE PIE challenge. It was right before bedtime, and this really did come to me in a dream... So sit down, sit down, I'm about to rock a boat...

OK, everybody at once, repeat after me... Well damn, he says it was grilled, and cooked in a paper bag... Tell us Dave, how did you do it???

Outdoor Cooking Guild Badge

First, a little advertising... I am in a guild... Fire cookers are uniting. If you grill or smoke or just like the idea of live fire cooking, take a look at the Outdoor Cooking Guild. It's a new club, with monthly challenges, and a great group of bloggers specializing in outdoor cooking. You can reach the homesite by clicking HERE. And while you are there, take a look at the "HOME" page for Livefire, leader of the cult. Great recipes, stories and some of the most beautiful photos in the WorldWW. This month's challenge will be turkey, so you all will have the benefit of our collective wisdom before you have your mother-in-law over for Thanksgiving dinner.

OK, back to the recipe... Here's what I did...

But first, why on a grill? I do a great deal of backyard entertaining. Often, I will smoke a main course, and grill the sides. But there are times when I have the sides also in the smoker, or are revenge dishes (best served cold), freeing up my grill. Imagine if you will, my grill close to my table with my guests sitting around waiting to be served. Now imagine the smell of a "baking" apple pie wafting through the air as the main course is being served. An Apple Pie is PERFECT for outdoor grilling.

Now... Here's what I did...

As always, assemble the ingredients. This is an experiment. I know how and why things cook, and I was confident that this would work. But, at the same time, I was testing the basic idea and technique more than the actual recipe. So, it was a simple recipe, nothing fancy...

I used...

4 Fuji Apples (each pealed and cut into 16 wedges)
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Combine everything except the apples into a soft paste consistency. You all know the trick of putting your Apple slices into a bowl of lemon water to keep them from turning brown. I am sure you know enough to do that, so I won't bother passing that tip on.

Don't you judge me... I also used...

1 frozen pre-made pie crust
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Roll out the pie crust (don't you judge me), and layer the bottom with apples.

Spread 1/3rd of the butter/brown sugar goo over the first layer of apples.

Stuff with cheddar cheese. Sure, I grew up in Illinois, but I was close enough to Wisconsin to learn the beauty of cheddar cheese in an apple pie. Lots of people will mix this in with the dough, but I like lots of cheese in my pie... Don't you judge me unless you've tried it.

Add the top layer of apples. I was not going to use a top crust, so try to make it pretty. I tried, but pretty is not always my strong suit.

Spread the rest of the goo on top. trust me, it all melts and flavors the apples...

Turn up the edges of the dough to form as tall a catch all for the melting butter as possible, and really...

Slide into a paper bag

Close the bag up.

And, now is the time for you all to ask... "Why a paper bag?".

Well, first, it came to me in a dream. And possibly it was the voice of God. In Acts 10:9-16, God spoke to Peter in a dream and (arguably) gave Catholics and Protestants the right to eat pigs (bacon, pork, ribs). This is why conservative Jews refrain from eating pork, while most of the rest of the world does not follow this practice anymore. Who am I to argue with (possibly) the voice of God.


Steam. The bag locks the steam in, helping to cook the apples through, while keeping a crispness. It sounds odd, but it really does work... The brown paper bags helps the apples cook long enough and stay juicy without over baking or over browning the crust.

Here's the rest of what I did...

OK, know your grill. My grill is hotter when set up for indirect heat about 2 to 3 inches above the grates. So I inverted a small casserole dish and put the bag on top of the dish.

I have a 4 burner gas grill. I turned the two side burners on high, and left off the two middle burners. This makes my grill chamber (once the lid is closed) a convection oven. If you keep the pie in the middle of the grill, above the flames, the bag wont burn. It killed me, I was dieing to look, but I didn't... for 1 hour and 15 minutes I didn't look. But at the end of that time, if I put my ear close (and turned up my hearing aid), I could hear the juices bubbling. It was time for step two of the brown bag cooking process.

Cut a hole in the bag. The hole cut in the paper bag is done after the apples cook. This allows the crust to get brown for a few minutes and get crisp. Really, the bag just helps keeps the pie from over cooking and the natural wood flavors from the bag give it the distinct taste that everyone loves. With the hole open, the smells really filled my backyard entertainment area. Exactly what I wanted. I did this just as the main course was served. People were dieing to try the brown bag apple pie.

I let the pie cook for an additional 30 minutes while we enjoyed our main course. Carley Simon's "Anticipation" played on the iPod... you should play it now...

OK... One issue... The bottom crust disintegrated. When I do this again (and I will), I will use a more substantial home made crust.

But the important part... The apples were cooked through, yet very crisp. The flavors of the sugar, cheese and butter really made this snap.

A little canned whip cream (don't you judge me), the pie served warm and this was a huge hit. The presentation of the sealed bag when guests arrived, followed by the ceremonial cutting a hole to let the smells escape (and crisp up the crust) makes this an IDEAL grill presentation dessert.

Hey Dorrie... Look what I did! But I think your job as blogdom's dessert goddess is safe.


  1. Nice job! My Dutch Great Aunt was using paper bags to make Dutch apple pie before you were born! Still works, don't it? :) Can't find Wolf River apples anymore- each one could weigh a pound, and more!

  2. I need to move closer to you.......

  3. This looks wonderful and it is a clever and, I think, original idea. Kudos.

  4. This sounds good~~apple and cheddar cheese, very creative.

  5. I may never blog again and I don't even bake. I have questions: did you already have all these ingredients on hand??? Any pictured items purchased because they were not already in your refrigerator?...you know what I'm sayin.

    I don't think I have had an apple pie with cheese in it. What's up with that? Looks delicious and it's official, I'm moving to your block.

  6. I've not seen this done on the grill, but I'm game to learn! And, I've never had apple pie with cheddar cheese; we like to bury ours in ice cream. I do love all the brown sugar goo you added!
    Very interesting post, Dave!

  7. Lea Ann, I had everything on hand. I probably would have bought Granny Smith apples, but we had the Fuji's already at hand. Also, if I planned better, I would have made a crust instead of the ready made.

  8. I have tried apple desserts with cheddar cheese and... well... I just don't get it. But the pie looks very impressive. I guess just about anything can be adapted for the grill!

  9. I never knew this version of apple pie existed....BUT... You have made it look extremely tempting !

  10. This is quite possibly the most awesome thing I've seen today - or in a long time, actually. Beautiful! Amazing! Paper bag? Well, I used to bake cakes in wooden boxes so crazier things have happened.

  11. Hey Dave, Good job with cooking a pie on the grill. You have inspired my Dave to get creative on the grill. Look out! He loves your blog.

  12. Man that looks good, cheese and apples, two of my favorite things!

  13. I've only seen recipes with apple pie cooked in a bag but have never tried it. I'm such a dork I'd probably set the bag on fire.

    Love apple pie with cheese, though have never cooked it together like this. I'll bet it was GOOD!!!

  14. I'm still looking forward to trying Cowgirl's pastry wrapped smoked apples. Alexis bought me the stuff to try it this weekend, but I can definitely see a pie in the Egg in the near future!

  15. Wow, this looks divinely delicious!! This is an amazing recipe! Kudos, dude! Better grill some bread pudding, soon. :) Cheers!

  16. Yummm.... genius... apples and cheddar cheese a Yankee favorite.... Dorrie's position may be safe in blogdom... but this is a great recipe... I'll have to pass it on to my SO (significant other)... he's the grill master in the family.

  17. I am now repeating. . .Well damn, he says it was grilled, and cooked in a paper bag... Tell us Dave, how did you do it??? CAN I ALSO SAY VERY VERY CLEVER AND YUMMY!?? I love you blog and this is a "must" follow for me! Thanks for sharing.

  18. What a cool recipe. I'd love to try this! I'm having an outdoor Pumpkin Carving contest with my peeps- this would be a great dessert to try.

  19. You had me at "cheddar cheese". You're a genius! Well done!

  20. I'm not sure which is more impressive, the finished result or the post. Nice piece of work there!

  21. Awesome looking pie. I was afraid for your crust from the begining though, all that juicy goodness had to go somewhere.

    RaceyB's Outdoor Cooking Fun

  22. Holy crap...that's one hot mess I would looooove to jump on! Yum!