In this tart, the play is on the perennial pairing of apples and cheese. The edgy tartness of Granny Smith apples is idyllic with a best-quality aged, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese. Sage seals the deal with its effortlessly earthy touch.
This tart comes together in minutes. Assemble it just before your cocktail guests arrive and bake while they wait. The house is filled with wonderful aromas and the tart bakes in just 20-25 minutes. Serve it very warm, while the cheese is still gooey and gently oozing from the edges of the tart wedges. This tart makes the perfect appetizer companion to a sturdy red wine, or pair it with a salad to make a complete meal.
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.