Apple Pie Deconstructed

by Min Merrell

Baking a pie not your thing?  Who cares. Make fresh applesauce in about 10 minutes, pair it with a good cookie and a scoop of ice cream.  That’s apple pie deconstructed.

There’s this restaurant menu trend to “deconstruct” dishes.  What it means is that the chef has prepared and artfully arranged separately on the plate all the components of a dish usually cooked together. I’ve seen deconstructed ratatouille with segregated piles of zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes; deconstructed stews with the baby carrots, leeks, and turnips dancing around a center of braised beef cheeks; and lots of deconstructed desserts.

Pies are popular to deconstruct and construct anew because the components are so easy to work with. You can do it at home. Take a classic apple pie a la mode for example. It’s just pastry, cooked apples, and ice cream.  In the apple pie deconstructed format, make a quick homemade applesauce, serve it with a good cookie, and a scoop of ice cream.   Put it in a little bowl and call it an apple pie sundae.  Line up everything on a rectangular plate and you could charge at least 10 bucks for it.

Sounds simpler than pie, doesn’t it?  Hmmm…deconstructing a dessert means it’s easier to make. Wonder what the profit margin is on that.

What got me thinking about this was a spoonful of cold homemade applesauce straight from the fridge. The wonderful fresh flavor has nothing in common with those little lunchbox cups. Nothing. Why don’t I make it more often, and why do I relegate it to the kids instead of whipping up quick dinner party desserts? It’s that good. Tart-sweet apples that fall apart easily under heat make a great sauce.  Combine a few varieties.  I can never remember which ones are good for what and have to google it every fall.  And it all depends where you live and what you can get. Empire, Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap, McIntosh are some of the fall apples I  look for.

When deconstructing your latest applesauce creation,  remember there are so many flavors that complement apples–toasted nuts, oats, granola, cinnamon, raisins, caramel, ginger, cranberries. The list is long. You can easily add a little value-added smear of an ingredient on that rectangular plate.

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