An apple and cream cheese galette is sliced for serving. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

An apple and cream cheese galette is sliced for serving. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

THE COOKING HOBBYIST: Apple pie alternative provides a tasty, guilt-free treat

I’VE MENTIONED A few times now that I’m trying to eat more healthfully and that has continued throughout these past few weeks, so much so that when I found myself wanting apple pie, instead of just buying one I went looking for a recipe.

I have a cupboard filled with cookbooks, recipe magazines, loose sheets of paper and binders of bound, printed recipes. So of course, after getting all of those down expecting a lengthy search, I found a good recipe to try in the first item I looked through.

The magazine, a special interest publication by Better Homes & Gardens, is from May 2018 and I had never opened it before this search. I vaguely recall buying it while grocery shopping with my sister, mainly because the cover headline, “Cut the sugar” caught our attention.

The recipe I decided to make, apple and cream cheese galette, actually doesn’t use any processed sugar. The dish is sweetened with honey and the natural sugars found in an apple.

I didn’t know what a galette was, but the picture looked quite tasty in the magazine. A simple internet search informed me that a galette is “a flat round cake of pastry or bread” so it’s not exactly pie but it has crust, filling and apples, so it fit the bill.

I quickly read through the instructions and was relieved to see that I already had most of the ingredients and that there weren’t any other words or cooking methods I needed to look up. Being a beginner with this whole cooking thing, that’s been a problem in the past.

After buying the few ingredients I needed — just what I’m supposed to do with a nearly full container of sour cream when I only needed two tablespoons I’ll probably never guess — I went home and got to work on what turned out to be a pretty fun, easy recipe.

I had some issues with the dough because I don’t have a pastry blender, so I used two forks to scrape two tablespoons of butter up until they could be mixed with the dough. This method worked with the lemon bars I made last month so I’m not sure what the problem was here.

Maybe the problem is that I keep using the word “dough” when the recipe says “pastry” because, to me, those two words mean the same thing. From my time of watching “The Great British Baking Show,” however, I’m starting to remember now that dough and pastry are different and respond differently to different ingredients and methods.

Oh well, too late now, right?

Anyway, after getting a fairly crumbly crust together, covering it with the filling mixture and baking for 30 minutes, I ended up with a not-at-all sugary dessert that hit my craving for pie without leaving any guilt.

The recipe even includes nutritional facts at the end.

If my crust had made it out to a 14-inch circle and if I was physically capable of cutting the resulting galette into 10 equal-sized slices, each slice would have contained 175 calories, 10 grams of fat (4 grams saturated fat), 47 milligrams of cholesterol, 176 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein.

Apple and cream cheese galette

For crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, cut up

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons cold water

For filling:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 to 2 tablespoons honey, warmed

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups thinly sliced apples

Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)

To make the crust, stir together 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. I deviated from the recipe here because I don’t have a pastry blender. Instead, I used two forks to scrape up the butter. This might have been a mistake.

Stir in sour cream and oil until combined.

Sprinkle with the water, tossing until moistened. My wet ingredients definitely absorbed quicker into the dough than I expected here. I believe that’s one reason why my dough wouldn’t hold together.

Gather pastry into a ball, kneading gently just until it holds together (mixture might appear crumbly). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill one hour. Frankly, I had to gather the dough up into the plastic wrap and then squeeze it all together because I could already tell it wasn’t going to hold properly.

To make the filling, beat cream cheese, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt with a mixer in a medium bowl until combined. Stir in one of the eggs just until combined.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Once the dough has chilled for one hour, roll it between two pieces of parchment paper into a 14-inch circle; discard top paper. This part worked fairly well except that my dough wouldn’t stretch out to a 14-inch circle. I kept having to shape it into a circle because I couldn’t roll it that way and when I took away the top paper, the edges of the dough started crumbling.

Slide remaining paper with pastry onto a baking sheet and then spread the pastry with the cream cheese mixture to within two inches of the edges.

My cream cheese mixture just sort of spread of its own volition and ended up nearly right at the edges.

Arrange apples on cream cheese mixture. Fold the uncovered pastry over the filling, pleating as needed. I definitely didn’t have enough pastry on the edges to do this final part.

Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush over the top and sides of the pastry. The egg came in handy here because I used it to sort of glue together the edges of my pastry.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack.

If desired, drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon honey and/or dust with cinnamon.

Emily Hanson is a copy editor/paginator for the Peninsula Daily News. She is also a beginning baker and clumsy cook. She can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 560-50 or [email protected] dailynews.com.

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