Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Apple Diaries 2015 - Apple Charlotte

Apple Charlotte is a dish first found in recipe books from the beginning of the 19th century.  It consists of buttery bread which lines a basin or dish which is then filled with stewed fruit.  A bread 'lid' is popped on top and the whole thing is baked until the bread is golden and crispy.  The Charlotte is then turned out of the basin to be admired by all before tucking in.  

The idea of trying this dish really appealed to me as I love the combination of crispy bread with fruit (as in the Betty I made recently).  The recipe in my Good Old Fashioned Puddings book however was for Apple and Marmalade Charlotte which I didn't like the sound of, so I adapted it slightly and will give my own version below.

As you can see,when I turned the Charlotte out the bread casing gradually began to splay out, slightly spoiling the overall effect.  Luckily it certainly didn't spoil the overall taste, and I wasn't trying to impress any dinner-party guests!  I think next time however I would arrange the bread slices so they slightly overlapped in order to avoid this 'slump'.  But you can learn from my mistake.


Apple (and Blackberry) Charlotte

225g butter
115g caster sugar
4 or 5 slices of day-old white bread
600g cooking apples (or a mix of apples and blackberries)
1 tbsp water

Melt the butter and brush the inside of your chosen mould.  I used the basin in which I cook a medium-sized Christmas Pudding, but you can also use a round cake tin or a loaf tin.  Remove the crusts, then cutting and jigsawing your bread, gradually line the basin by dipping pieces of bread into the melted butter and then pressing the bread around the basin.  I used a round cutter to create a circle of bread for the bottom of the basin, then strips of bread for the sides (see note above about overlapping). 

Peel, core and slice the apples and gently stew in a pan with the sugar and water (and blackberries if using).  Fill the bread-lined basin with the fruit mixture and then place a whole crustless slice of bread dipped in the last of the butter on top of the apples.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220C/425F/gas 7 for 30-40 minutes until brown.

Slide a knife around inside the basin to loosen the Charlotte, then carefully turn out onto a plate.  Serve with cream, custard or vanilla ice-cream.

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