Sponsored Post: Asiago Apple Galette with Pazazz Apples

Pazazz apples, Asiago cheese, thyme, and the most incredible crust make this the apple dessert of your dreams.
Pazazz apples, Asiago cheese, thyme, and the most incredible crust make this the apple dessert of your dreams.

Few things bring a smile in fall and winter like a bountiful slice of fresh-baked apple pie.

With cheddar cheese, though? Not so much.

At least, in my humble opinion.

But add Asiago and a pinch of thyme in its place, and apple pie soars to newfound heights.

New Englanders and Midwesterners may have an affinity for that sharp orange cheese married with apple pie. Yet, I’ve never been keen on the combination because I think it overwhelms the apples.

Instead, reach for Asiago, the Italian cow’s milk cheese full of buttery nuttiness for a true complementary addition in this superlative “Asiago Apple Galette (or Pie).”

That’s exactly what I did when I got my hands on some Pazazz apples.

Beautiful, delicious Pazazz apples are available now through June.
Beautiful, delicious Pazazz apples are available now through June.

This late-season variety sports gorgeous red skin with yellow-green striations. These apples are snappy and full of sweet, tangy juice. Best yet, when baked, they keep their shape, making them ideal to spotlight in pies, crisps, and crumbles, and in savory dishes such as roasted alongside duck, chicken, or pork sausages.

At peak now through June, Pazazz apples can be found at Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons.

Grab a few to bake this special pie or galette, whose delectable taste has stayed with me since I first devoured a slice eight years ago when moderating a cooking demo at the landmark Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

The recipe is from Jesse Cool, the Bay Area chef-owner and longtime champion of organic and sustainable ingredients at Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park.

As the recipe title implies, this dessert can be shaped free-form like a galette or more precisely like a pie in a pan. I tend to favor a galette because I adore its rustic look.

The galette all assembled.
The galette all assembled.
And just out of the oven.
And just out of the oven.

Whichever way you go, you will end up with a crust that will amaze. Frozen grated butter ensures the dough stays cold and the butter pieces distinct so that when baked, maximum flakiness and crispiness is achieved. Moreover, a generous amount of sour cream adds melt-in-your-mouth richness like that of a fine French pastry. The final touch is dried thyme that adds a haunting citrusy, floral, and almost minty note.

The crust gets filled with the sliced apples that get tossed with brown sugar and fresh nutmeg. The piece de resistance is the streusel topping made with a heap of grated Asiago mixed with brown sugar, softened butter, a little of flour, and a sprinkle of black pepper for a touch of warmth.

Don’t be afraid to pile on the apple slices in a thick layer in your galette or pie because the filling will compress a bit when baking.

Layers of flavors and textures.
Layers of flavors and textures.

As it bakes, the kitchen will fill with the fragrance of the sweet apples, the nutty cheese, and the almost biscuit-like note from the thyme in the dough.

It all makes for a pie or galette with exquisite nuance and depth. Rather than just simply jammy apples and buttery crust, there’s the lively crunch of streusel, plus flavorful layers of intense nuttiness, bright spring herbs, and even a twinge of savoriness that really rounds out the overall sweetness.

A dessert for the ages, it plays to that sweet-salty penchant, but in a way that’s far more satisfying and original.

The apples hold their shape beautifully, too.
The apples hold their shape beautifully, too.

Asiago Apple Galette (or Pie)

(Makes one 10-inch galette or pie)

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cold, grated, then placed in the freezer to firm up for 20 minutes

1/2 rounded cup (generously measured) sour cream

For the topping:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, then cut into small cubes

For the filling:

4 to 6 Pazazz apples (you’ll need the smaller amount for a galette; the larger amount for a pie), peeled, cored, and sliced thinly

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

For finishing:

1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing on the edges of the crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, thyme, and salt. Using your fingers, add the grated butter and work gently into the flour mixture. Add the sour cream 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix the dough until it holds together.

In another bowl, add all the topping ingredients, and mix together gently with your fingers until a semi-clumpy texture forms.

In a large bowl, mix together the filling ingredients with a spoon.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pie crust to a 12- to 13-inch circle.

If making a pie: Transfer rolled dough to a pie plate, fill with apple mixture, top with cheese mixture, crimp crust edges, and brush edges with beaten egg.

If making a galette: Transfer rolled dough to a large sheet of parchment paper on top of a baking tray. Spoon apple mixture onto the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around the edge. Fold edges over, pleating as you go to seal in the apples. Spoon the cheese mixture all over the center. Brush galette edges with beaten egg.

Bake on the middle rack for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the crust is brown. Let cool before slicing and serving.

Adapted from a recipe by Jesse Cool of Flea Street Cafe

More Pazazz: Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles

And: Cheese Focaccia with Pazazz Apples

And: Williamsburg Wrapples

And: Apple Beehive

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  • Gotta try this! I used to put Parmesan in my galette dough when I made them with apple. I loved the nutty saltiness it added.

  • Hi Robyn: Ooh, I love that idea of Parmesan in galette dough, too. The Asiago is similar in profile, but used in the crumb topping instead. I think you’ll much enjoy this recipe. 😉

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