Salad Brain Exercise–Apple Pie on a Platter

by Min Merrell

Salad Brain is a creativity platform.

These exercises use the platter, rather than the typical deep salad bowl, as the canvas for creation and a means to illustrate the universal process of creative thinking and design. No matter the field, the steps of creativity are the same. Here we’re using salads because we all have some experience with salad, a low-stakes, easy medium for practicing everyday creativity. Plus, your installation will feed you beautifully and well, and shouldn’t we all be eating more salads anyway?


For an introduction to getting in touch with your salad brain, read Welcome to Salad Brain Creativity.


Apples–cored, peeled, sliced,  and cooked in a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add brown sugar or white sugar to sweeten. Cook until just tender.  Just make some fried apples sweetened with sugar.  Easy.

Boiled Custard Dressing–Make your favorite creme Anglaise or boiled custard.  Chill and serve in a little pitcher. It’s just creamy vanilla sauce.

Pie crust pastry.  Make your favorite or even buy frozen.  When it’s rolled out, cut it into irregular shapes. Place on a baking sheet. Brush with egg wash (egg whisked with a little water) and sprinkle with sugar (and cinnamon, or whatever).  Bake in the oven at 375 F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Little extras like toasted nuts, pomegranate seeds, blue cheese crumbles


The essence of apple pie goes free-form borrowing from the platter salad template but making dessert. The apples are the base of the “salad.” The pastry shards act as croutons. The boiled custard is the dressing. Is this a salad?  It’s platteral thinking for sure. The little extras take the deconstructed apple pie in different directions. The blue cheese adds a savory note. The pomegranate seeds add tang and much-needed color.


Use other fruits depending on the season. Whatever kind of pie you like, where does your salad brain take you? Try pears.  Peaches can even be sweetened and uncooked. Add raisins or other dried fruits to the apples. How about fresh cranberries cooked with the apples. Offer a simple caramel sauce as dressing #2.  Cheddar cheese is always nice with apples. Other cheeses?  Add a sprinkle of cardamom to the pastry.  What other nuts would you like? Pistachios, walnuts?

Related Posts