10-12breakfast sausage links(maple flavor or regular)
1 ¼cupsshredded sharp cheddar cheese(divided)
½granny smith apple(sliced thin)
½gala apple(sliced thin)
1large egg(for the egg wash to brush on the edges of the pastry)
coarse salt(for sprinkling on the edge of the pastry)
maple syrup(for finishing and serving)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, pepper, fennel seed, and cubed butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs about the size of peas.
Add the ice water to the flour mixture, starting with 2 tablespoons. Stir the dough and continue adding water one tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together. The dough should hold together when pinched between two fingers. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Set a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Remove the casings from the breakfast sausage. Brown the sausage until cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
Roll out the dough into a circle about 12-14 inches in diameter. (If the dough was chilled overnight, the dough may need to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before rolling.) Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Slice the apples into thin slices. Spread ¾ cup of the cheese on the dough, leaving a 1 to 1 ½ inch border. Top with apple slices and sausage. Top with remaining ½ cup cheese.
Fold the edges of the pastry over the toppings to form a rustic crust. Brush the edges of the pastry with an egg wash (one egg whisked together with one tablespoon of water). Sprinkle the edges with coarse salt.
Bake 40 - 45 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges. Drizzle maple syrup over the top and serve.