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Heat the butter in a saucepan until foaming, then add the onions and cook for 10 mins until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Pour over the cider, then add the potato and thyme sprigs and simmer for another 2 mins. Stir in the stock and cream, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins until the potato is soft. Remove and discard the thyme, transfer the soup to a blender and blitz until smooth.
To make the cheese & apple toasts, heat the grill to high. Toast the bread on both sides, then mix the cheese, dried apple and onion together. Pack the mixture onto the toasts, then grill until melted and golden. Pour the soup into bowls, scatter over the apple matchsticks and thyme leaves, then serve with the toasts.