This deconstructed apple pie recipe is so quick and easy to make, coming together in just 30 minutes. Made using homemade pie crust, fresh apples, and lots of cinnamon and sugar, it's the perfect balance of crispy, sweet, and tart. Get ready to be in fall dessert heaven in no time flat.
Hands down, apple pie is my favorite fall dessert. Crispy, warm, and filled with sweet apples - what's not to love?
When I was a kid, I would help my dad make apple pie every year for our family on Thanksgiving. As an adult, I've carried on the tradition of making an apple pie from scratch for my own Thanksgiving dessert table.
And while apple pie is a staple during the holidays, sometimes you just crave those warmly spiced apples with crispy, buttery pie crust other times of the year as well. Enter deconstructed apple pie.
This low-maintenance cousin of the traditional apple pie is perfect for those times when you want the flavor of apple pie without all the time it takes to make one. It's also easily sharable, which makes it perfect for all of your fall get-togethers or even for a Friendsgiving gathering.
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What is a Deconstructed Apple Pie?
Deconstructed apple pie is a rustic, single-crust, homemade apple pie without all the fuss.
No need to worry about whether your pie dough will fit perfectly in your pie dish. No stress over whether or not the apples are cooked through. The two-hour wait for the pie to cook, then cool, before slicing? Not necessary.
With a deconstructed pie, you cook the pie dough on a baking sheet separately from the apples. In just about 30 minutes, you'll have yourself an apple pie dessert that tastes just like the real thing.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy- Homemade apple pie in 30 minutes? Don't mind if I do. This recipe comes together in no time at all and is half the work of a classic apple pie recipe.
- Cinnamon-Sugar Pie Crust- How can you make homemade pie crust even better? Brush it with butter and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. It's like pie crust cookies meet churros and it's seriously so good.
- Perfect for Sharing- A deconstructed apple pie is a fun dessert to share with friends and family. You can all scoop some apples into your own bowls and break off a piece of flaky pie crust to add on top. It's simple, rustic, and so much fun.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Pie Dough- Homemade pie dough takes any pie recipe to the next level. I love using my 3 Ingredient Pie Crust recipe for all of my pie dough needs. Often, I'll keep a few extra pie doughs in my freezer for when the pie cravings strike.
- Apples- I like to use Pink Lady apples or Granny Smith apples when I make apple pie because of their tart flavor. The tartness, paired with the splash of lemon juice, really helps to balance the sweetness of the sugar.
- Sugar- The combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar give this deconstructed apple pie a warm, rich, caramelized flavor that is perfect for a cozy fall evening.
- Spices- Cinnamon and nutmeg are warm, earthy spices that are often used in fall dessert recipes. I use cinnamon in both the sautéed apples and on top of the pie crust to give this dessert extra warm vibes.
- Butter- Sautéing the apples in butter give them a rich, decadent feel. This recipe also uses a bit of butter on the crust to help the sugar and cinnamon stick.
- Lemon Juice- Just a splash of lemon juice in the apple mixture helps balance the sweetness.
What are the Best Apples for Making Apple Pie?
You can honestly use any apple to make apple pie. It just depends on how you like your apples. Prefer things on the sweeter side? Try Gala, Fuji, or Ambrosia apples. Tart? Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Pink Lady apples are the better choice. Choose McIntosh or Cortland apples if you prefer them softer or Fuji and York apples for a crunchier texture. Here is a great article comparing apples by taste and texture.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make deconstructed apple pie.
Bake the Pie Crust
Step 1: Roll out the pie dough. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper or surface, roll out the pie dough to approximate ⅛-inch thickness and poke several holes in it with a fork to stop it from puffing up too much in the oven. Don't worry if the pie dough isn't perfectly round, we're going to be cutting it into pieces anyway.
Step 2: Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake. Brush the pie dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet (you can leave it on the parchment paper if that's what you used to roll it out) and bake for approximately 15 minutes. While the pie crust is baking, make the sautéed apples.
Make the Sautéed Apples
Step 1: Sauté the apples. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large, deep skillet or saucepan. Once the butter begins to sizzle, add in the sliced apples and lemon juice. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften a bit.
Step 2: Add the sugar and spices. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apples, stirring well to coat. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be soft, but should still have a little bite to them.
Step 3: Thicken with a cornstarch slurry. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Slowly drizzle the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan, stirring continuously until the apple mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
To Serve: Cut the pie crust into 8 pieces and serve on top of a scoop of sautéed apples.
Deconstructed Apple Pie Tips
- Multitask. Preheat the oven while you roll out the pie dough. Then, peel, slice, and cook the apples while the pie crust bakes.
- Use tart apples to balance the sweetness. Apples like Granny Smith, Cortland, McIntosh, or Pink Lady are all on the tart side and would be perfect for this deconstructed apple pie.
- Homemade pie crust is best. Of course, when making pie of any variety, hand-made pie crust is one of the easiest ways to elevate it. I always recommend keeping homemade pie dough in the freezer for making quick and easy desserts like this one.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can customize this dutch oven chicken pot pie recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Pie Crust- Store-bought pie crust, biscuits, or puff pastry can be used in place of the homemade pie crust.
- Apples- Not a fan of apples? You can make this recipe with pears, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, or cherries. Get creative!
- Butter- Use dairy-free butter or margarine in place of the regular butter, if desired.
- Sugar- While I prefer a mixture of granulated and brown sugar, you can use all of one type of sugar in the sautéed apples if you prefer. You could also swap a few tablespoons of sugar for honey or maple syrup. Keep in mind, however, that this may make the sauce a little thinner.
- Spices- Cinnamon and nutmeg are classic in apple pie. Cardamom, cloves, ginger, and allspice would all make wonderful additions. You could also replace the cinnamon and nutmeg with an apple pie spice blend. Just remember to keep the total quantity of spices to about 1 teaspoon or a little more.
- Lemon Juice- Don't have a fresh lemon on hand? Bottled lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can be used in place of the fresh lemon juice. You can also leave the lemon juice out entirely, especially if you're using tart apples.
- Gluten-Free- For a celiac-friendly version of this dessert, you'll have to make or purchase a gluten-free pie crust. The sautéed apples are naturally gluten-free.
- Dairy-Free/Vegan- Swap the traditional butter pie crust for a vegetable shortening-based (or lard-based if not vegan) pie crust recipe. Dairy-free butter should be used in place of the regular butter to brush the pie dough and to sauté the apples.
- Reduced Sugar- You can easily reduce the sugar down to ¼ cup total if you'd prefer a less sweet dessert.
- Chai-Flavored- Replace the spices in this recipe with a teaspoon of Chai Spice Blend for a bit of a twist.
What to Serve with Deconstructed Apple Pie
There's nothing better than a slice of warm apple pie on a chilly fall day or after a delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Here are a few ideas for what to serve with this deconstructed apple pie.
- Ice Cream
- Frozen Custard
- Whipped Cream
- Heavy Cream
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese (New England-Style)
- Candied Pecans or Walnuts
- Caramel Sauce
- Alcoholic Beverages: Bourbon or Brandy
- Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Hot Coffee or Espresso, Chai Tea, Egg Nog, or Apple Cider
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Room Temperature- The pie crust can be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- Refrigerator- Store the sautéed apples in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Freezer- For longer storage, keep the sautéed apples in the freezer for up to 1 year. The cooked pie crust can be stored in a freezer-safe bag or container for approximately 1 month.
How to Reheat
Warm apple pie is a real treat during the fall. Here is how to reheat any leftover sautéed apples you may have so that you can enjoy this deconstructed apple pie all over again. Of note, the pie crust can be enjoyed at room temperature.
- Stovetop- Place the leftover apples in a saucepan over low heat. Add a splash of water to help loosen the apple mixture, if necessary. Cook until the apples are just warmed through.
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cooked apples in a casserole dish or pie plate with 1-2 tablespoons of water and stir. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the apples feel hot.
- Microwave- Add an individual serving of sautéed apples to a microwave-safe bowl or plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring halfway through.
More Recipes You May Enjoy
- Strawberry Apple Crisp
- No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Maple Syrup Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats
Deconstructed Apple Pie
- Baking sheet
- Large, deep skillet or saucepan
For the Cinnamon-Sugar Pie Crust
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pie crust
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
For the Sautéed Apples
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6-8 medium apples peeled and sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Cinnamon-Sugar Pie Crust
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper or surface, roll out the pie dough to approximate ⅛-inch thickness and poke several holes in it with a fork to stop it from puffing up too much in the oven. Don't worry if the pie dough isn't perfectly round, we're going to be cutting it into pieces anyway.
- Brush the pie dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet (you can leave it on the parchment paper if that's what you used to roll it out) and bake for approximately 15 minutes. While the pie crust is baking, make the sautéed apples.
For the Sautéed Apples
- Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large, deep skillet or saucepan. Once the butter begins to sizzle, add in the sliced apples and lemon juice. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften a bit.
- Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apples, stirring well to coat. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be soft, but should still have a little bite to them.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Slowly drizzle the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan, stirring continuously until apple mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
- To Serve: Cut the pie crust into 8 pieces and serve on top of a scoop of sautéed apples.
- To Store: Store leftover pie crust at room temperature for 2-3 days and leftover sautéed apples in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze: Baked pie crust can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month and the cooked apples can be frozen for up to 1 year.
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