This Deconstructed Apple Pie combines buttery sautéed cinnamon apples with crispy, flaky cinnamon-sugar pie crust for a rustic fall dessert recipe that’s perfect for sharing. It’s a fun twist on the classic that’s easy to make and ready in just 45 minutes!
What’s your favorite fall dessert?
For me, the answer is apple pie. Crispy, warmly spiced, and brimming with sweet, tender apples - it’s hard to beat!
As a kid, I loved helping my dad make apple pie every year for Thanksgiving. In fact, I still make apple pie from scratch yearly for our holiday dessert table.
And while classic apple pie is a staple during the holidays, sometimes you just want the flavor of apple pie without all the fuss.
That’s why I started making what I like to call 'deconstructed' apple pie. By sautéing the apples on the stove and baking the pie crust on a baking sheet, you cut the cooking time in half.
This recipe is also great for beginner home cooks because its made using simple ingredients and its rustic nature means no decorative pie crusts to worry about.
Today, I’m walking you through how to make the best deconstructed apple pie, including which ingredients to use, tips that guarantee it turns out right the first time, and some of my favorite ways to serve this easy fall dessert.
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What is a Deconstructed Apple Pie?
This deconstructed apple pie is a simplified, rustic version of the classic fall dessert. I make this version when I’m craving the flavor of apple pie, but don’t want all the fuss.
With this recipe, there’s no need to worry about fitting the pie dough into the dish or whether the apples are cooked through. And unlike traditional pies, there's no lengthy wait time before slicing and serving.
By cooking the crust and apples separately, you can have a delicious apple pie dessert in just 45 minutes.
What are the Best Apples for Making Apple Pie?
The best apples for making apple pie are whichever apples you enjoy!
As long as they’re fresh and in-season, they’re probably a good choice.
Personally, I go apple picking every fall and use a mix of different varieties whenever I make apple desserts. You can also find in-season apples at local farmers’ markets, at the grocery store, or even in your own backyard.
Sweeter varieties include the Gala, Fuji, and Honeycrisp apple. For a tart flavor, try Braeburn, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith apples. Choose McIntosh or Cortland apples if you prefer them softer or Fuji and York apples for a crunchier texture.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy to Make- This recipe uses simple ingredients and cooking techniques to make homemade apple pie more approachable.
- Ready in 45 Minutes- This easy deconstructed apple pie is ready in just 45 minutes - about half the time needed for the classic version.
- Flaky Cinnamon Sugar Crust- Baking the pie crust on a baking sheet ensures each piece is crispy, flaky, and tender. Plus, the cinnamon sugar topping takes the flavor to the next level.
- Perfect for Sharing- This rustic dessert is great for sharing with family and friends. The experience of breaking off your own piece of flaky pie crust to place on your sautéed apples adds a fun, interactive element.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Pie Dough- While I recommend using homemade pie dough for the best flavor and texture, store-bought works fine too. This recipe uses one standard 9-inch pie crust.
- Apples- Use a blend of tart apples and sweet apples for a balanced flavor.
- Granulated Sugar & Brown Sugar- While both sugars add sweetness, the brown sugar adds a rich, caramel-like flavor to the apples.
- Butter- Butter is used to sauté the apples, giving them a richer flavor. Additionally, a delicious blend of butter, cinnamon, and sugar is brushed onto the pie dough before baking.
- Lemon Juice- A splash of lemon juice adds a bright, citrusy note that balances the sweetness of the apples and enhances their natural flavors.
- Cinnamon- Warm, earthy, and slightly sweet, cinnamon pairs well with apples.
- Nutmeg- Offers a slightly nutty, warm flavor that complements the cinnamon and adds depth to the dish.
- Kosher Salt- Enhances the other flavors in the dish and balances the sweetness.
- Cornstarch Slurry (optional)- When I first made this recipe, I used cornstarch to thicken the sautéed apples. After further testing, I realized it isn’t necessary. However, if your sautéed apples won’t thicken, you can whisk in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.
🌱 Sustainability Tip: Opt for fresh, in-season apples from a nearby farm or local farmers' market. This choice supports your local economy and helps cut down on the distance your food travels.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing this deconstructed apple pie to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Pie Dough- Swap pie dough for biscuits or puff pastry for a different texture and flavor.
- Apples- Substitute apples for any fruit you prefer. Try making a deconstructed pie with pears, peaches, strawberries, or cherries instead!
- Granulated Sugar- Replace granulated sugar with brown sugar or coconut sugar if preferred.
- Brown Sugar- You can substitute brown sugar with granulated sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Keep in mind that using liquid sweeteners may alter the flavor and result in saucier sautéed apples.
- Butter- Use coconut oil, dairy-free butter, or margarine in place of butter.
- Lemon Juice- Swap fresh lemon juice for bottled lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg- Substitute the cinnamon and nutmeg with an apple pie spice blend.
- Kosher Salt- Use sea salt or table salt in place of kosher salt if preferred.
- Gluten-Free- For a gluten-free version of this dessert, you'll have to make or purchase a gluten-free pie crust. The sautéed apples are naturally gluten-free.
- Reduced Sugar- Skip the cinnamon sugar topping on the pie crust and cut back the amount of sugar in the sautéed apples to about ⅓ to ¼ of a cup.
- Chai Spiced- Replace the spices in this recipe with one teaspoon of chai spice blend.
- Lemon Zest- Grate some fresh lemon zest into the sautéed apples for a bright pop of citrus flavor.
- Additional Fruits- Add berries, pears, or peaches to the sautéed apples for more color and flavor.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Rolling Pin- An essential tool for rolling out pie dough evenly, a sturdy rolling pin makes this step a breeze.
- Parchment Paper- I like to use parchment paper to roll out the pie dough. It prevents sticking and makes it easier to transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
- Stainless Steel Skillet- A stainless steel skillet with high sides or a deep sauté pan work best to prevent spillover while sautéing the apples.
How to Make Deconstructed Apple Pie
Here is how to make sautéed cinnamon apples with pie crust.
Step 1: Prepare the cinnamon sugar butter. Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, granulated sugar, and ground cinnamon
Step 2: Roll out the pie dough. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the pie dough to about ⅛-inch thickness. Don't worry if it isn't perfectly round, we're going to cut it into pieces anyway.
Step 3: Brush with butter mixture. Brush the pie dough with the cinnamon sugar butter mixture. Place the parchment paper with the dough on a baking sheet. Bake for roughly 15 minutes, or until it turns golden brown. While the crust is baking, move on to preparing the sautéed apples.
Step 4: Sauté the apples. In a large, deep skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced apples and lemon juice. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the apples start to soften.
Step 5: Add sugar and spices. Reduce the heat to low and add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apples. Stir well to coat. Let the apples cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be tender but still have a slight bite to them. Remove from heat.
Step 6: Cut and serve. Cut the pie crust into 8 equal pieces. Serve approximately ½ cup of sautéed apples, topped with a piece of pie crust. Enjoy!
Deconstructed Apple Pie (Video)
Tips for Success
- Multitask. Roll out the pie dough and slice the apples while you wait for the oven to preheat. Additionally, sautéing the apples as the pie crust bakes ensure both will be ready at the same time.
- Use homemade pie crust. Perfectly flaky, buttery, and tender, homemade pie crust outshines store-bought every time.
- Parchment paper is your friend. Rolling the dough out on parchment paper ensures it won’t stick to the counter or the baking sheet.
- Roll pie dough out evenly. To prevent any undercooked or overcooked areas on the pie dough, roll it out to an even thickness.
- Choose a variety of apples. Using a blend of tart and sweet apples gives this deconstructed apple pie a more balanced and interesting flavor.
- Check apples for doneness. Cooking time for the apples varies based on the type and thickness of slices. Check for doneness before serving. They should be soft, but still have a slight bite to them.
- Thicken with cornstarch (optional). To thicken watery sautéed apples, whisk in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.
What to Serve with Deconstructed Apple Pie
While this homemade deconstructed apple pie is delicious on its own, it’s even better served with something a little extra.
Apple pie is commonly served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, whipped cream, heavy cream, yogurt, and even sharp cheddar cheese are also popular pairings.
Other toppings and sauces that compliment this deconstruction apple pie include candied pecans or walnuts, caramel sauce, granola, and fresh berries.
Finally, pairing this apple pie dessert with a warm seasonal beverage can be soothing on a chilly fall evening. Try it with hot coffee, tea, apple cider, chai latte, or egg nog.
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
Store the pie crust and apple pie filling separately for best results.
- Room Temperature- Store any leftover pie crust in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Refrigerator- Store the sautéed apples in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Freezer- For longer storage, both the pie crust and sautéed apples can be frozen separately for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
- Oven- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the pie crust on a baking sheet and warm in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until it's heated through and crisp.
- Stovetop- Place the leftover apples in a saucepan over low heat. Add a splash of water to help loosen the apple mixture, if necessary. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are warmed through.
- Microwave- Transfer a portion of the deconstructed apple pie to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until hot.
This simple deconstructed apple pie recipe is perfect for preparing ahead of time.
If you're making your own pie dough, it can be conveniently made and frozen weeks in advance. Additionally, the sautéed apples can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, making assemble a breeze when you're ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, store-bought pie crust can be used for convenience.
Absolutely! You can prepare the pie crust in advance and refrigerate it for 2 days or freeze it for several weeks.
If the apples release excess liquid and the sauce doesn't thicken, make a cornstarch slurry. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, then whisk it into the sautéed apples.
Deconstructed Apple Pie
For the Cinnamon-Sugar Pie Crust
For the Sautéed Apples
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 medium (about 3 pounds) apples (any variety) peeled and sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, granulated sugar, and ground cinnamon.1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out the pie dough to about ⅛-inch thickness. Don't worry if it isn't perfectly round, we're going to cut it into pieces anyway.1 pie crust
- Brush the pie dough with the cinnamon sugar butter mixture. Place the parchment paper with the dough on a baking sheet. Bake for roughly 15 minutes, or until it turns golden brown. While the crust is baking, move on to preparing the sautéed apples.
- In a large, deep skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced apples and lemon juice. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the apples start to soften.2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 8 medium (about 3 pounds) apples (any variety), 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Reduce the heat to low and add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the apples. Stir well to coat. Let the apples cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be tender but still have a slight bite to them. Remove from heat.¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Cut the pie crust into 8 equal pieces. Serve approximately ½ cup of sautéed apples, topped with a piece of pie crust. Enjoy!
- Quick Tip: If your sautéed apples won’t thicken, you can whisk in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Storage: Store leftover pie crust at room temperature for 2 days and leftover sautéed apples in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- To Freeze: Both the cooked pie crust and sautéed apples can be stored separately in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.