Last Friday, as we were eating dinner, I realized that I was having my monthly craving for apple crisp. I'm never quite sure what inspires this craving but it happens about as frequently as my craving for Indian food (which I know is a deep seeded British craving of sorts). The problem with the apple crisp thing is that there just isn't anywhere near our house that serves it and serves it well. So, outside of driving 20 miles round trip to BJs, I usually have to settle for Denny's. So, as the husband and I wandered off on our Friday night Denny's dessert date, we decided it was about time that one of us learned how to cook apple crisp because, even though it makes the cravings subside a little, Denny's apple crisp is a little disappointing to me every time.
Now, I should explain that the husband gets a little nervous when I try to bake sweet items (no problem whatsoever with savory baking I should add). I've had a long history of buggering up my baking - from the square cupcakes I once brought to a pot luck at work, to the cinnamon brick (I mean loaf) that I was supposed to be making for a bake sale, to the time when I made a pie with a ready made pie crust...and forgot to bake the crust. I do have my occasional moment of brilliance with a box of Duncan Hines, but outside of that, I kind of suck. Having chosen between 2 completely idiot proof apple crisp recipes, I confidently went off to the store to buy ingredients with the warning from my husband "If you mess this one up, I swear I will not let you bake ever again!"
I would just like to say that I totally aced it. I might even be able to move on from an easy recipe to an "intermediate" one - if I'm lucky and the wind is blowing in the right direction. What's even better is that we managed to get 3 nights of dessert out of one dish of the stuff and it even tastes really good cold. I already put a note on the fridge to buy some caramel next time I'm at the store because it's definitely the one thing I was missing that's needed for next month's apple crisp adventures.
The success of the apple crisp of course led to the next culinary test - French Onion Soup. Both myself and husband love this soup. If we're at a restaurant where we think they'll make it well, that's what we're ordering. The first time I took him to Paris, that's what he had to get. Again, went on a search for recipes and came up with several that I pulled ideas from, but mostly followed this one.
My primary concern with this whole thing is how much Gruyere cheese costs. $10 for a half lb!! Is this stuff gold crusted or something? It hurt just a little bit to put it in the shopping cart given my crazy budget for grocery shopping. (I would like to give a big shout out to Big Lots for providing me with awesome ramekins on the cheap...helped balance the pain of the cheese).
So, the fact is that this is not a hard soup to make, as long as you are patient. I did start off with the husband finding me in tears in the kitchen, but that's what chopping 6 onions at once will do for you. Once the caramelizing of the onions is done, the rest is simple and the broiling of the cheese is definitely the most satisfying thing I've done in a while. We have enough broth and cheese to have a couple more nights with this particular soupy appetizer and we're going to enjoy the hell out of it!