created at: 2013-09-12Rosh Hashanah may be over, but fall is only beginning and Sukkot is just around the corner. So the classic pairing of apples and honey is just as relevant as it was last week.

I look at this duo as a jumping-off point—a basic combination that you can riff on by introducing some other ingredients, applying some heat, and building on the crunchy, tart-and-sweet snack until you get a more complex, unexpected dish.

One such dish is this apple, goat cheese and honey tart. You’ve still got the tartness of the apples, but they’re spiked with the tangy cheese and some earthy thyme. And each bite is filled with some of the honey’s sweetness, but it’s accented by a hit of seasoning salt. It’s truly sweet and savory.

Working with puff pastry couldn’t be easier, but it does require some forethought. Ideally, the puff pastry should defrost slowly overnight in the refrigerator, and worked with while still cold. You never want it to come to room temperature; it won’t puff up as dramatically if it does. This recipe is so quick to put together that if you prep the apples and goat cheese mixture before taking the pastry out of the refrigerator, it shouldn’t have enough time to warm up too much.

Between cakes, pies and donuts, chances are you’ll get your fill of apple dishes this season. And I think it’s safe to say that this sweet and savory tart is unlike any of them.

Apple, Goat Cheese and Honey Tart

To thaw puff pastry, let it defrost in the refrigerator to prevent it from getting too warm. You can easily cut this recipe in half by only using half of the puff pastry and reserving the rest for another use. In that case, halve the rest of the ingredients as well. (Sounds obvious but a reminder never hurts!)

Serves 8

1 14-ounce package frozen puff pastry (thawed)
4 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
3 medium Gala apples, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into ⅛-inch squares
2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
Salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Unfold thawed puff pastry. Cut in half lengthwise. Place each half on baking sheet. Using paring knife, score rectangle into puff pastry, leaving ½-inch border on all sides and taking care not to slice all the way through the puff pastry. Using fork, dock inner rectangle. (This will allow outer edges to puff up, while inside remains relatively flat.)

3. Mix goat cheese, lemon juice and thyme in small bowl. Spread goat cheese mixture over inner triangle of puff pastry sheets, taking care not to run over into ½-inch border.

4. Shingle apple slices atop the cheese. Dot butter squares on apples, spreading them out evenly. Drizzle 1 tablespoon honey over apples. Bake until apples are tender and pastry is golden, about 30 minutes. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon honey over top, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm or at room temperature.

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