Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes


Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes Collage

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I don't know how you all felt, but I found myself wanting to get a little crazy in the kitchen on the 4th of July.  Holidays are great excuses for indulging - at least in my book!

I try to be healthy . . . most of the time.  I do stay active and I try to cook almost all of our meals so we're not eating junk.  Unfortunately, I have gotten pretty good at making homemade junk.  Ha ha.

Anyway, I had a blast flipping through cookbooks and searching online for the perfect recipes.  I settled on a bison burger recipe from this Bobby Flay cookbook:

I'm definitely a Bobby Flay fan.  I have a few of his cookbooks.  Some of the recipes are pretty labor intensive, but I've almost always loved the results!

To go with the burgers, I decided on a recipe for Hot and Smoky Baked Beans that I found on Epicurious.  I had made it once before, so it knew it was a winner.

To round out the plate, I picked this macaroni salad recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

Yes, I know the plate kind of needs a vegetable.  Well.  It's going to be too full as it is.  There is some slaw on the burger and roasted red pepper in the salad.  How's that?  :)

We've been trying to steer clear of dessert.  We can go through periods where I make baked desserts (like brownies) and we'll have a piece with ice cream every night until it's gone.  O.O  That can't be good.  I figured I could give us a pass on the Fourth of July, though.  Shouldn't we have something American?  Like apple pie?

I was just going to rummage through a cookbook until I found a pie recipe that I liked, but I was still hesitant about having 3/4 of a pie left.  There are only two of us, so pie tends to hang around for a while.  I finally decided to design my own recipe for free-form apple galettes.  What are galettes?  A fancy word for free-form pies, I guess.  That's what I thought.  However, Wikipedia says that a galette is more like a cake.  Well, call it what you want.  Tart?  Mini-Pie?  Galette?  They all work.

I wanted to include some cheddar cheese in the mix.  I saw an apple pie on MasterChef the other day that had a lot of cheese in it.  That one didn't look so good, but I could see how, under the right circumstances and with the right balance of ingredients, it could work.

Anyway, this is a great recipe if you're just serving two or four (though it would be easy to double).  I got four large galettes.  We had two for one night, and two to save for later.  I can deal with that much leftover pie!  :)

These were great - not overly sweet, and with just enough savory cheese flavor in the flaky crust!  Here's the recipe:

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

Makes 4 galettes


For the white cheddar crust:

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter (salted or unsalted, your preference)
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup finely shredded white cheddar cheese

White Cheddar Cheese for Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

4 to 6 tbsp. cold water

For the apple filling:

3 to 4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used a mix of Granny Smith and Jazz.)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
A pinch of salt

1 egg
1 tbsp. whole milk

A tablespoon or two of butter for dotting the finished galettes

Additional brown sugar for sprinkling

Parchment paper

Two large baking sheets

Ice cream of your choice (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

2.  Make the crust:  Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.  Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to the bowl.  (If you think of it, you can chill the shortening first.  I didn't.  The butter was cold, though.)  Using your fingers, rub the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles large crumbs.  Here's mine:

Pastry Dough for Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

Add the grated cheese and stir with a fork until combined.  Add the cold water, 1 tablepoon at a time,  while stirring, until the dough just begins to come together.  Using your hands, gather the dough together and form a ball.  It should hold together, but it shouldn't be sticky.  Pick it up and knead it a few times.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.

Pastry Dough Wrapped in Plastic for Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

3.  Prepare the apples.  Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and zest in a medium.  In another small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Add that mixture to the apples and toss everything until well-combined.

4.  Assemble the galettes:  Cut four sheets of parchment paper.  Each one should be at least 10 inches square - big enough to fit the dough for each galette after you roll it out.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into four equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and then place it on one of the parchment pieces.  Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a rough circle around 8 inches square.  (Remember, you're going to have to handle it still, so don't let it get too thin.  Mine was around 1/8 inch thick, or maybe a bit more.)  After all of the dough is rolled out, divide the apples evenly between the dough rounds, leaving a border of 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches.  After I divided the apples, I also divided the small amount of liquid that had collected in the bottom of the bowl by pouring it over each pile of apples!)

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - After Adding the Apples

Fold the edges of the pastry over the apples, leaving a small amount of uncovered filling in the middle.  It's totally fine if it overlaps and looks ragged.  That's part of the charm (and part of the reason why I love to make galettes)!  They don't have to look pretty!  :)  Cut the excess parchment paper away, leaving a border of an inch or two around each galette.  Transfer them (on the paper) to two baking sheets.

5.  After you have formed the galettes, beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl.  Brush the galettes liberally with the egg wash.  Place a few dots of butter in the center of each galette and sprinkle it with a little bit of brown sugar.  

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - After Adding the Egg Wash
Yes, I know.  I was kind of sloppy with the egg wash.  Oops.
6.  Place the galettes in the oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (switching the position of the pans halfway through), or until the pastry is done and the apples are tender.  The time really depends on your oven.  I have a convection oven, so you may need to bake yours a little longer (or bump up the heat by 10 degrees or so).  There's nothing worse than raw pastry, so I lifted one off the paper to make sure it was nice and golden on the bottom!  By that same token, if your oven runs hot, you'll need to keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

7.  Remove from the oven and transfer the galettes to cooling racks and allow to cool.

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - Cooling (Single)
The sugar got a little toasty, but that didn't bother us a bit!  :)

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - Cooling (All Four)

Serve the galettes slightly warm or at room temperature.  If you like, top each one with a scoop of ice cream!  Enjoy!

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - with Ice Cream
This picture turned out shockingly yellow, for some reason.  Hmmm.  They're not that yellow.  :)
Well, in short, these hit the spot!  They were just what I wanted - something to feed that apple pie and cheese craving, but not leave us with lots of leftovers!  These turned out to be pretty big, though!  I asked my husband if he wanted to split one and he looked at me like I was nuts.  Ha ha.  We got through it, and we're looking forward to polishing off the last two tonight!

Another good thing about this recipe is that it is also pretty easy!  I don't know about you, but I'm not great with pie crusts.  I can make a good pie, but the crust always looks a little . . . rustic.  O.o  Galettes are very forgiving.  And parchment paper can be a lifesaver!  

I could taste the cheese in the pastry.  I used a pretty sharp white cheddar.  I wanted to taste the cheese, so that worked out well for me.  Actually, we both loved the pastry.  It turned out tender and flaky . . . perfect!

When I saw the volume of the sliced apples, I chose to use only three.  I probably will throw in the fourth apple when I do this again (and I will).  They shrink up a little bit anyway, so I think it would have been fine.

It's pretty much impossible for us to have apple pie without ice cream.  I wasn't sure if it would go with the whole cheese thing, but it did.  It was a perfect sweet treat with some nice savory undertones.  I really wanted to use cheesecake ice cream, but I couldn't find any.  We just got French vanilla.  If you can find some kind of cheesecake ice cream or gelato, I think it would be even better!  :)

 Well, that's it.  I hope you enjoy these.  We sure did.  Oh, I almost forgot to post a picture of our dinner!  You know, all those recipes that I mentioned above?  We enjoyed them - I would recommend that you check them all out!  

Bison Burger, Baked Beans, and Macaroni Salad

Please feel free to leave comments!  Did you try these?  How did they turn out for you?  Did you also find the crust to be much easier than pie crust?  Thanks for reading!

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