“Time ripens the substance of a life as the seasons mellow and perfect its fruits. The best apples fall latest and keep longest.” – Amos Bronson Alcott
The summer peaches and sweet berries are long gone; the grocery aisles, roadside stands, and farmer’s markets are now brimming with apples. Lots and lots of apples! Have you ever wondered how many types of apples there are? Hold on to your hat; there are 7,500 varieties of apples —2,500 of which are grown in the United States.
The most common apple varieties are the Red Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Golden delicious, Lady, Baldwin, McIntosh, Honey crisp, Fuji, and Cortland. I love it! I also love the new challenge of finding yummy ways to use all these apples.
Great idea, flawed execution
One of my childhood favorite treats was Caramel Apples. Unfortunately, as I grew older, this sticky sweet invention lost its appeal – when I lost a filling! However, I never lost my taste of creamy caramel combined with crisp fresh apple. I just needed an easier way to eat it.
I also wanted an easier way to make it – if you have ever tried dipping apples in a bowl of melted caramel, you know it’s not near as easy as it sounds. I couldn’t find a recipe that met my requirements for being stress-free to make and impressive to serve, so I took elements from a handful and came up with my own creation: The Caramel Apple Galette. And, btw, it’s absolutely delicious!!!
Easy, delicious alternative
A galette (pronounced “guh-let”) is a French cuisine term for a freeform pie or tart. No pie pan is required, just a 12 inch round pie crust. It has a very rustic charm to it, which means it’s not “fussy.”
The secret ingredient…
The ingredients are straightforward. A couple of apples, half a package of cream cheese, about a half bag of caramels, a splash of milk, a little butter, sprinkle of cinnamon and the secret ingredient… a refrigerator pie crust (the kind that’s rolled up, not the frozen type that comes in an aluminum pie tin). The refrigerator pie crust is what makes this recipe so quick and easy to put together.
There’s not a lot of prep that needs doing. The cream cheese and the pie crust need to be taken out of the fridge to warm to room temp, and a baking sheet/pan needs lining with parchment paper. I have a silicone mat for my sheet pans, but I opt for parchment paper because there’s a very high chance that the filling will leak. Parchment paper makes clean-up a breeze, provided that it overlaps the edges of the pan.
Prepping the apples
Almost any type of apple will work, but I like using Honeycrisp or Granny Smith. If you have never peeled an apple, don’t panic – it’s easy. You can use a paring knife, but I prefer to use a vegetable or potato peeler. I find it easiest to do a spiral peel. Then I slice off the cheeks of the apple and cut them into thin slices.
By this time, the pie crust has lost its chill and can be unrolled or unfolded (hopefully) without breaking onto the parchment-lined baking sheet/pan. If you get a crack or a tear, smooth it out with a bit of water and wet fingertips. Spread the softened cream cheese on the crust, leaving about an inch clear.
Prep the crust
Super easy caramel sauce
The caramel sauce is super easy! Unwrap the caramels and put them in a Pyrex quart measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl with two tablespoons of milk. Nuke on HIGH for one minute, stir and cook for another minute.
Pour half the sauce on top of the cream cheese and spread it out. Place the apple slices on top of the caramel layer. Dot the apples with the butter and drizzle with the remainder of the caramel sauce. Fold the edges of the pie crust up over the apples, leaving the center open.
Putting it all together
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheat 400˚F until crust starts to brown.
Bake, cool, serve!
Cool on a wire rack. This dessert is even more delicious when served with ice cream or whipped topping. Enjoy!
Caramel Apple GaletteCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This rustic galette embraces the taste of old-fashioned caramel apples without the sticky mess! Made with a refrigerated pastry crust, this free-form pie has a cream cheese base, with luscious caramel sauce layered between fresh apple slices.
2 tablespoons milk
1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust
4 oz. cream cheese (half package) – softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 apples, peeled, thinly sliced (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Gala, Braeburn, Pink Lady)
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
- Prep: Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet/pan with parchment paper. Set out pie crust and cream cheese to bring to room temperature. Peel and slice apples
- Microwave caramels and milk in a quart measuring cup or medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Cool 5 min.
- Unroll pie crust on the parchment-covered baking sheet. Spread with cream cheese within 1 inch of edge; drizzle with 1/2 the caramel sauce. Arrange apple slices over crust, overlapping as needed to form an even layer. Dot with butter; drizzle with remaining caramel sauce. Fold edge of pastry over apples, leaving the center uncovered. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 25 to 30 min. or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cool completely.