When things don’t exactly meet your expectations in just about any way, shape, or form, what do you do?
Are you the type that just lets it roll of your back while singing, “no worries” or some other words of super chill wisdom while gazing at an invisible Bob Marley poster OR are you the type that lets it brood and fester and rot for two days while muttering like Gollum, developing an odd case of scoliosis from being hunched over, and vowing that you’ll just never again have expectations?
I know this will probably come as shock to the eeeeeeeveryone (the sarcasm here is bounding) but yes, my name is Sarah Smith and I’m totally a 100% expectation lover. I don’t count on just anything to meet my expectation- I like to count on ALL the things. ALL the pieces. And then, when things don’t work out as usual, comme d’habitude if you will, you can find me hunched over in my room muttering in my really horrible Gollum voice counting the ways how the situation isn’t my fault even though, well, it kinda is for my outrageous expectations.
Let me provide an example.
Yesterday I was invited to this dinner party hosted by (get ready for it this it’s a bit complicated) a work colleague of the father of my friend Drew. Being a lover of food, I asked my friend if I should bring anything, he said “aw of course”, and after some thought I decided to make a cake I heard about in one of my classes. Charlotte aux Pommes (aka the weirdest cake ever).
The afternoon went a little like this:
Stage one: chopping apples (the recipe seems quite normal at this point)
Stage two: sauté the apples with a bit of cane sugar and cinnamon (also quite normal)
Stage three: get 15 slices of bread and cut the crusts off (uhhhhh what?)
Stage four: slice the bread in thirds and use two thirds of them to line a deep baking dish (ummm okay…)
Stage five: put the sautéed apples atop the bread slices, top with remaining third of sliced bread, drizzle with melted butter, and bake (… but won’t my bread get soggy?)
So I put it in the oven and things were looking weird but good. Until of course I began to smell something like burnt toast igniting on fire and ran to the oven while forming some kind of recovery plan (can you give a cake CPR?).
I take out the “cake” or whatever it’s supposed to be and this thing is nasty looking. Nasty. The bread on top is covered in what seems to be asphalt or black paint but that’s really just the burnt bits laughing at me. After I take it out there’s complete silence in my apartment I really hope my friends aren’t thinking, “…if you have a food blog doesn’t that mean you know how to NOT burn things” or really just “…ewwwww”.
I think my friends either saw a hint of my disappointment or maybe my back hunching over and the whole Gollum bit coming out to whine and so they told me everything would be okay, to put some powdered super on the top to cover the burnt bits, and not to worry about it. But of course I worried about it.
I worried about it on the metro.
I worried about it at the door when I handed our host the cake and thought surely “He’s gonna throw this in my face I mean I’ve basically disgraced his native cuisine”.
I worried about it during delicious raclette and then when our host announced “time for Sarah’s dessert!” my heart was pounding with fear.
But that was the silliest thing because everything ended up being…well…perfect.
Once plated, you couldn’t even see the burnt bits the powdered sugar didn’t catch. The apples looked and tasted perfect and the bread had this really nice “bread pudding” effect that really made everything come together deliciously. Even the burnt bits added a nice crunch that no one would have anticipated.
Needless to say, I happily brought home an empty dish.
So the moral of the story is, the next time you come across something that really didn’t meet any of your expectations, do what I should have in the first place: dust it with a little powdered sugar, hope for the best, and dig in anyways.
Charlotte Aux Pommes
1 loaf rustic bread
4 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons cane sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and slice apples and then place in a large bowl. Add cinnamon and sugar, mixing until all apples are evenly coated.
2. Sauté the apple mixture over medium high head for about 4 minutes. Set aside.
3. Cut the crusts from the bread and then cut each slice into thirds.
4. Coat the bottom and sides of a deep baking dish with about half the melted butter. Line the bottom with roughly 2/3 of the bread slices.
5. Add the apple mixture and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the bread.
6. Drizzle the remaining butter over the bread and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, checking regularly to ensure the bread doesn’t burn.