It’s a Saturday night and I’m standing in the kitchen staring at two pitiful Fugi apples and some short pastry off cuts. You would think I had more exciting things to do, but no. Most of the time this is as thrilling as it gets. Regardless, I was determined to do something productive with my evening.
I had made mini quiches for lunch earlier in the day, resulting in the left over pastry. Usually I will roll the leftovers together and make a few more quiches which always end up a bit chewier due to the pastry shrinking (you should let the pastry rest for 30 minutes after re-rolling but I always get too impatient. On this occasion I had run out of egg mix so more quiches were out of the question – I was too lazy to make more egg mix – but didn’t want to just throw the pastry out. Consequently it was shoved in the fridge labelled “deal with later”.
Fast forward to ‘later’. I was still feeling pretty lazy – I mean it was a Saturday night – and didn’t want to cook anything complex. The result? Deconstructed apple pie. Now, deconstructed is a word that is used increasingly frequently in the culinary world. Sometimes it produces works of genius, and other times it is a way of making a disaster sound fancy (I’m definitely guilty of the latter use). But this wasn’t a disaster. Far from it. It was, wait for it, intentional deconstruction. A wonderful discovery. I actually got so excited about it that I tipped the hot apple straight into the serving glasses, causing them to completely fog up. Not a smooth move as it made photographing them a million times harder. It didn’t even occur to me to remove the apple and defog them – I just wanted to eat!
It is lighter than a standard apple pie for obvious reasons – I had far less pastry to work with – and significantly less hassle too. I tend to shy away from microwave cooking (it somehow doesn’t seem ‘proper’), however it works superbly in this dish. After a few minutes the cubes of apple are soft yet still hold their shape and retain a bit of crunch in the middle. I candied some pecans whilst the pastry was baking, however that is entirely optional. As an alternative you could add the pecans (or walnuts) raw or toss some sultanas in with the apples before microwaving. Or if you are feeling particularly sloth-like, skip the pastry and nuts and sprinkle over a handful of toasted granola instead.
After producing these ‘pies’ my Saturday night didn’t seem quite so lame after all….
Deconstructed Apple Pie for Two
Short pastry off cuts – however much you have.
¼ tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp pecans
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp rice syrup
2 small apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm dice
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp plain flour
Preheat oven to 200C and grease a small baking tray. Place pastry off cuts (no bigger than 5cmx5cm) on the tray at one end and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
In a small bowl combine the pecans with the two syrups and mix until well coated. Place on the other end of the baking tray.
Bake for 8 minutes. Turn oven off and remove pastry cuts from pan. Return pan to oven for another 4 minutes or until pecans are well crisped and brown.
Meanwhile in a small microwave safe bowl coat the apple cubes in lemon juice. Stir through brown sugar, cinnamon and flour so that the apple is evenly coated.
Microwave on high for one minute, stir and repeat. Cover the bowl and microwave for a third minute. Leave to stand a minute or two.
Divide apples between two glasses/small bowls and scatter with pecans and crispy pastry pieces. Serve with vanilla ice cream, Greek yoghurt or custard.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.