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Sage, Green Apple, and Aged Cheddar Tart

Sage, Green Apple, and Aged Cheddar Tart

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the puff pastry on the sheet. Place in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, cut the apples so thin that you can practically see through them. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the apples, pepper, salt, and sage. Toss to coat, then cook until the apples have begun to soften and lightly brown, tossing occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and refrigerate.

When the apples are cool, toss ½ of the cheese with the apples. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator, and arrange this mixture in the center of the puff pastry sheet, spreading gently and evenly to the edges, leaving ½-inch border of naked pastry.

Top the apples evenly with the remaining cheese, taking care not to drizzle over the border. Brush the naked border lightly with the egg wash and bake until the pastry is fully puffed and a rich golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Garnish with a final pass of ground black pepper and a light drizzle of sage.

Recipe Summary

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 pound pizza dough, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Pretzel salt or coarse salt, for sprinkling
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 10 ounces kielbasa, cut on the bias into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in lower third. On a parchment-lined baking sheet lightly dusted with flour, stretch dough into a 10-by-15-inch rectangle, with a 1-inch border of thicker dough. Brush entire surface inside border evenly with mustard. Brush border with egg, then sprinkle generously with salt. Sprinkle cheese over mustard. Scatter kielbasa, apple, onion, and sage evenly over cheese, then drizzle with oil.

Bake until crust is deep golden brown and bottom is set, about 25 minutes tent with foil if edges brown too quickly. Serve hot.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds bacon (not thick-cut), at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 pound aged white cheddar cheese, grated (about 4 cups), divided
  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 9 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle position. (A) Place 1 bacon slice in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet so that one end starts in center of skillet and extends along bottom and up side of skillet, allowing the other end to hang over skillet edge. Repeat process using remaining bacon slices, working in a circular pattern and overlapping slices slightly to completely cover bottom and sides of skillet. To reduce the thickness of overlapped bacon in center of skillet, stagger every other slice starting 2 inches from center (creating a longer overhang). Once all bacon is in place, flatten the center using the palm of your hand, ensuring there are no gaps in bacon. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon pepper evenly over bacon.

Stir together onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and tarragon in a medium bowl set aside.

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup cheese in an even layer over bacon in bottom of skillet. Starting around the inside edge of skillet and working in toward the center, arrange potato slices in concentric circles, overlapping slices by about 1/3 inch, until bottom of skillet is covered with a single layer of potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and about 1/3 cup onion mixture. Repeat layering process 5 times using remaining cheese, potatoes, pepper, salt, and onion mixture (sprinkle any remaining cheese over final layer). After each layer of potatoes, firmly press down to compact layers. Once all layers are in place, potato mixture will be mounded above rim of skillet.

Fold overhanging bacon neatly up and over top of potato mixture, working in a circular pattern and ensuring there are no gaps. To prevent the bacon from shrinking back during cooking, place a 5-inch parchment paper circle on center of tart top with a small (about 6 inch) ovenproof lid. Place skillet on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake tart in preheated oven until bacon is browned around edge of skillet, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove parchment paper and lid. Continue baking until bacon is crisp and a wooden pick inserted in potatoes comes out easily, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after 30 to 40 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

Remove tart from oven. Carefully pour off skillet drippings discard or reserve for another use. Let tart rest in skillet 10 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen bottom and sides of tart invert onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pat gently with paper towels to remove excess grease. Invert tart onto a serving plate. Slice into wedges, and serve hot.

The Magic Pan with the Removable Bottom

Metal tart pans with removable bottoms are standard baking containers for quiche. They come in several types and a large variety of sizes. There is one that is very shallow, less than 1-inch deep, and another that is almost 2-inches deep. The deeper one allows for more filling goodies in the custard base, and is the one I most frequently use.

After the quiche is baked, you simply rest it on a stable object of smaller diameter than the quiche pan bottom and let the outside rim fall off. (A bit of careful prying will be necessary if the custard has leaked.) The quiche is then placed on an appropriate serving platter, free-standing.

Or you may prefer to use a white ceramic quiche dish, in which case, the tart stays in the dish, rather than being unmolded. A flexible spatula will be of assistance in removing the first slice. Regular pie pans may also be used for making quiche, although, unless you have something very special, they are the least attractive choice. The pan size indicated here typically measures 10-inches at the top and 9-inches at the bottom.

To accommodate smaller or shallower quiche pans, diminish the ingredient proportions accordingly don’t worry about being exact, anything in the general range of 1 egg to ½ cup cream will work.

Sausage and Apple Pie in a Cheddar Crust

England's Cheshire Pie, a hearty combination of boneless pork loin and cider-moistened apples in a flaky crust, is the inspiration for this sausage and apple pastry. Serve this warm, with fruit salad, at breakfast or brunch. Or heat some up for Sunday night supper, where it goes wonderfully well with a plain green salad.


  • 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (113g) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons (28g to 57g) water, cold
  • 5 medium (595g) peeled, cored, and sliced apples
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (227g) apple cider or apple juice, or substitute 1/4 cup (57g) boiled cider + 3/4 cup (170g) water
  • 1/2 cup (92g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage, cooked and drained


To make the crust: In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

Using an electric mixer, a pastry blender or fork, or your fingers, cut and mix the cheese and butter into the flour mixture until the fat and flour form a crumbly mixture.

Add the lemon juice or vinegar, then sprinkle on just enough water so that you can gather the dough into a cohesive ball.

Perfect your technique

Sausage and Apple Pie

Divide the dough in half, and flatten each half into a 1" thick round. Wrap one of the rounds in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and refrigerate it while you work with the other. Transfer the remaining dough to a well-floured work surface.

Roll it into a 12" circle, using as few strokes of the rolling pin as possible the fewer times you touch the crust at this point, the more tender it'll be when it's baked. Transfer the circle of dough to a 9" pie plate (a giant spatula works great here), and gently fit it to the pan's contours. Again, if you push and stretch the dough too much during this stage, it'll shrink when you put it in the oven.

To make the filling: In a large, shallow frying pan, cook the sliced apples with the salt, cider or juice, and sugar for 15 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the liquid is syrupy.

Stir the cooked sausage into the apple mixture, and remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the filling into the crust.

Roll out the remaining crust, and center it over the filling. Press the edges of the top and bottom crust together, fold them under (onto the top of the pan's rim), and crimp.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is very brown. If the crust appears to be browning too quickly, tent it lightly with foil.

Remove the pie from the oven, and serve it warm or at room temperature.

Tips from our Bakers

Use your favorite baking apples — a combination of Granny Smiths (for their tart flavor and crisp texture) and Cortlands (for their sweetness and softer texture) is nice. Northern Spies or Ginger Golds are wonderful, if you can get them.

Wine & Cheese Pairings: Apples

  • The Apples:
  • Havarti
  • Edam
  • Emmental
  • Gruyère
  • Mild Cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • Manchego
  • Chardonnay
  • White Burgundy
  • White Bordeaux
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Viognier
  • Riesling (off-dry)
  • Gewürztraminer
  • The Apples:
  • Ricotta
  • Mozarella
  • Burrata
  • Chèvre
  • Feta
  • Halloumi
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Riesling (dry to sweet)
  • Moscato
  • Champagne
  • Pinto Gris
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Rosé
  • Stilton
  • Gorgonzola
  • Roquefort
  • Cambozola
  • Bleu Cheese
  • Red Port
  • Tawny Port
  • Sauternes

Tart Apple Varieties

  • The Apples:
  • Pink Lady
  • Aged Cheddar
  • Cheshire
  • Comté
  • Aged Gruyère
  • Aged Gouda
  • Pecorino
  • Manchego
  • Asiago
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Aged white Burgundy or Bordeaux
  • White Rhône blends
  • Sweet Riesling
  • Viognier
  • Red Bordeaux
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Petite Syrah
  • Zinfandel

Quesadilla ideas

Looking for quesadilla ideas? Here are a few of our favorite quesadilla ideas here on A Couple Cooks:

1. Loaded Veggie Quesadilla Recipe

This Loaded Veggie Quesadilla is full of sweet potato, black beans, spinach, cumin, and garlic, and features American Colby cheese. Put it over the top and make our Homemade Spinach Tortillas to up your veggie quotient even more! This quesadilla also works for packing in a healthy kids lunch.

2. Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas

These gooey mushroom and brie quesadillas are a super savory and delicious quesadilla ideas! Contrasted with a bit of fresh herbs and a drizzle of honey, it was a supremely satisfying lunch that’s also incredibly quick to whip up.

3. Avocado Black Bean Vegetarian Quesadilla

Avocado quesadillas? The green fruit makes these zesty quesadillas creamy without overloading on the cheese, making them both delicious and nutritious.

4. Greek Quesadillas

One of our favorite quesadillas ideas: Greek! This Mediterranean take on the quesadilla features feta cheese, red onion, black olives, spinach, and fresh oregano. It’s a slam dunk!

5. Apple and Gouda Quesadillas (below)

And finally, these apple and gouda quesadillas! These apple and gouda quesadillas feature that perfect savory and sweet combination: apples and cheese. Smoky, creamy gouda cheese contrasted against the sweet tartness of apple make for an unconventional pairing in this quesadilla. It was a fun way to enjoy a new variation on the standard quesadilla. Alex and I enjoyed it as a delicious fall lunch. Scroll down for the apple and gouda quesadillas recipe!

15 Apple Appetizers for Fall

Apples are great for more than brown bag lunch sides, treats for teachers, and additions to pie recipes. From Golden Delicious to Gala to Granny Smith, these sturdy, affordable fall fruits make a scrumptious addition to many appetizer recipes. Hey, you can't spell "apples" without "app," right? Fresh to baked and sliced to diced, these apple appetizers feature apples in sweet and savory applications that will please adventurous and picky eaters all at once. (By the way, grandma was right on track with that apple-cheddar pie &mdash sweet, tart apples and salty, rich cheese pair beautifully together.) Read on for creative apple appetizer recipe ideas including dips, crostini, salads, and more.

Savory Apple Tart with Onions, Cheddar and Thyme

This recipe puts a fresh spin on the classic apple tart, transforming it into a savory version by adding caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and thyme. Serve as a hearty appetizer, or pair with a tossed green salad for a light lunch or supper.

Savory Apple Tart with Onions, Cheddar and Thyme

For the crust:

16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen until firm

2 2/3 cups (13 1/2 oz./425 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) plus 3 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 yellow onions, sliced into thin rings

1 cup (8 oz./250 g) crème fraîche

1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)

3 or 4 baking apples, such as Granny Smith, cored, partially peeled and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the butter, flour and salt and pulse until the mixture
resembles coarse meal with some large pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk and ice
water. While pulsing, drizzle in the egg mixture until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of
plastic wrap, shape into a rectangle and wrap well. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-by-21-inch (35-by-53-cm) rectangle and
refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Coat a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Fit the dough into the prepared baking sheet. Fold the excess dough under and pinch to form a crust that comes 1/2 inch (12 mm) above the rim. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Position 1 rack in the upper third and 1 rack in the lower third of an oven. Preheat to 375°F (190°C).

Line the dough with parchment paper, pressing it flush against the surface of the dough and leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) overhang on all sides. Top with pie weights or dried beans. Fold the parchment over the edges of the crust. Bake on the lower oven rack for 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.
Remove the parchment and weights. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil and swirl the pan to combine. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned and starting to caramelize, about 8 minutes per side. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and mustard and spread evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) of the cheese and the thyme. Arrange the apple slices and onions on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) cheese, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake on the top oven rack until the pastry is golden and the cheese is melted, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with thyme, cut into slices and serve. Serves 6.

Ingredient Spotlight: Apples

Most apples are harvested from autumn to early winter, which means that apples are at their most bountiful right about now. Which is perfect, since a crisp, sweet-tart apple is not only the ultimate handheld snack, but also a fantastic ingredient to highlight in cooking, baking and preserving. Keep reading for some of our best bets when it comes to choosing and prepping apples, plus a number ways to prepare these fruits in simple, elaborate, sweet and savory recipes.

Apples: Everything You Need to Know

What to Look For

Apples should have unbroken skin with good color and no soft brown spots. Whenever possible, buy newly harvested local apples. Because they continue to ripen at room temperature, refrigerate them in the cold back part of the refrigerator for one week or longer. If you plan to eat them soon after purchase, they can be held at room temperature for a few days.


Sweet, thin-skinned apples are best for eating raw, as a snack out of hand or paired with aged cheese, while tart apples are ideal for making pies, cakes, pastries or applesauce. The most recognizable varieties for eating fresh include Red Delicious, sweet Golden Delicious, tart and green Granny Smith, red- and yellow-streaked Gala and the red-marbled McIntosh. Bakers seek out varieties such as Jonathan, Cortland, Pippin, Winesap, Gravenstein and Braeburn for their sturdy texture that balance sweetness with pronounced tartness and hints of spiciness. For more tips on the best varieties for specific uses, see our Apple Guide .


A small, sharp knife is all you need for peeling and slicing apples, although a vegetable peeler may be faster and easier. Specially designed apple corers are also useful tools. Exposed apple flesh will brown quickly unless it’s rubbed with lemon or other citrus juice. Since the skin of the apple contains so many nutrients, it is a good idea to leave it on when possible.


Because apples continue to ripen at room temperature, refrigerate them in the cold back part of the refrigerator for 1 week or longer. If you plan to eat them soon after purchase, they can be held at room temperature for a few days.

Your Apple Toolkit

    , for peeling, coring and slicing apples (and pears and potatoes!)
  • All-Clad Essential Pan , to cook apples into applesauce and apple butter, and to make fillings for pies and desserts or ceramic pie dish , for baking individual or large whole apple pies , for making crusts and crumble toppings , to uniformly slice apples

Simple Preparations

Slice, wedge, julienne or chop thin-skinned apples for raw preparations, such as savory or fruit salads, lightly-dressed slaws or a fall cheese plate . Save the most tart of apples for baking they add a nice layer of acidity to pies, cakes, pastries or applesauce.

Looking for a few simple, recipe-free ideas for serving apples? Here are several of our favorite no-brainer preparations below.

Shaved Apple & Fennel Salad: Whisk together apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, chopped fennel fronds, canola oil, salt and pepper. Using a mandoline, thinly shave peeled Granny Smith apples and fennel. Toss with vinaigrette and garnish with fennel fronds.

Pork Chops with Apple-Calvados Sauce: Sear bone-in pork chops in saute pan until browned transfer to a baking sheet and finish in oven. In same pan, saute thinly sliced shallots and Gala apples until golden. Deglaze pan with Calvados. Add chicken stock and simmer until apples are tender. Whisk in butter, chives, salt and pepper. Serve over pork chops.

Smoked Trout and Apple Salad: Whisk together white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss mixed greens with vinaigrette and thin slices of Fuji apples. Top with pieces of smoked trout and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw: Combine thinly sliced red or green cabbage (or a mixture) with coarsely grated Granny Smith apples and thinly sliced green onions. Whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over cabbage mixture toss to combine.

Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins: Toss chopped walnuts and raisins with brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fill 8 cored apples with walnut mixture place in a buttered baking dish. Bake at 350ºF until apples are tender and filling is bubbly, 40 to 50 minutes.

Savory Apple Tart with Gruyere: Place chilled puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet brush pastry with olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, salt and pepper top with grated Gruyere and tart apple slices. Bake at 350ºF until golden brown, about 20 minutes.


Some of our most beloved apple preparations may be more elaborate and time-intensive, but they highlight the apple’s versatility in starters, salads, entrees and desserts.

When winter chicories come into season, start any meal with a Radicchio Salad with Roquefort, Apples and Hazelnuts . Use a crisp, dense and sweet apple, like a Fuji, to counterbalance pleasantly bitter radicchio and pungent Roquefort cheese.

Fresh and crisp apple slices complement a fall grilled cheese. For this Apple and Artisan Cheddar Panini , opt for a tart red apple, like a Pink Lady, to counterbalance the fat in a rich cheddar cheese.

This simple fall dish of pork chops with apples and sage comes together quickly for an easy yet elegant weeknight meal. Serve it with a hearty green salad and crusty bread.

Think of these cider-braised chicken thighs with caramelized apples as apples two ways—it calls for caramelizing tart Granny Smith apples, as well as braising chicken thighs in apple cider.

This Savory Apple Tart with Onions, Cheddar and Thyme puts a fresh spin on the classic apple tart, transforming it into a savory version by adding caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and thyme. Serve as a hearty appetizer, or pair with a tossed green salad for a light lunch or supper.

A Brown Butter Crisp with Apples and Blackberries , which takes advantage of late-summer blackberries and early fall apples, is the perfect sweet finish to an August or September meal.

Perfect for a picnic, these adorable little apple hand pies have the added surprise of pistachios. You can make these in any shape you like: in rounds as instructed, as squares, or folded over into triangles or half circles.

Frozen puff pastry makes this apple galette so much easier than most. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Learn more about how apples are harvested and enjoyed at one of our favorite apple farms, and find more tips and recipes for peak-season produce here .

Watch the video: The BEST Apple Cheddar Pie Recipe Ever! (December 2021).