Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apple Charlotte

About Charlottes
A Charlotte is a moulded dessert that consists of a vessel of buttered bread with a fruit filling.  The earliest reference to an English Charlotte is 1796 as referenced by the Oxford English Dictionary.  The name probably comes from Queen Charlotte who was the wife of King George III.  She was said to be a patron of apple growers.  Antonin Careme, chef de cuisine to King George IV, is said to have made a version of this dessert with a cream filling instead of a stewed fruit filling in the early 19th century; he called it Charlotte Russe.

The Recipe: Charlotte
Mary Randolph, The Virginia Housewife. 1824 edition.
Stew any kind of fruit, and season it in any way you like best; fry some slices of bread in butter, put them while hot, in the bottom and round the sides of a dish which has been rubbed with butter, put in your fruit, and lay slices of bread on top; bake it a few minutes, turn it carefully into another dish, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, and glaze it with a salamander.

Modern Recipe Adaptation

  • 5 Large Apples (peeled, cored, and cut in chunks)
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar (or to taste, depending on sweetness of apples)
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
  • 9-10 Slices of Bread Cut with Thin to Medium Thickness (you can use white bread, challah, cinnamon bread, or whatever you have on hand)
  • Powdered Sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ยบ F.
  2. Place the apples, water, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  
  3. Cover and simmer the apples (stirring occasionally) for 12-15 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with a knife.
  4. While the apples are simmering prepare your pan.  Choose a 6 cup capacity oven-safe bowl that has high sides.  Use two tablespoons of the butter to grease all inside surfaces of the baking pan.  It is a lot of butter, but it works best to use such an amount for both flavor and to allow the Charlotte to be released easily from the bowl.
  5. Fry the slices of bread in the remaining butter until golden.  Be sure to keep adding butter to the pan and keep the heat low-to-medium to prevent burning the bread.
  6. Line the baking pan with the fried bread slices.  You will need to cut the bread slices to fit the shape of the pan. (See pictures below)
  7. When the apples are done cooking, drain them of any excess water.
  8. Pour the drained apples into the prepared baking pan.  Place fried bread on the top of the apples to cover them completely.
  9. Place the Charlotte in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Then, turn out the Charlotte onto an oven-safe plate.
  11. Sprinkle the Charlotte with powdered sugar.
  12. Return the Charlotte to the oven and broil it for 1-2 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.  Use a serrated knife to cut the Charlotte.  It can come apart easily, so be careful!
  14. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Frying the Bread

Line the bowl with the bread;
cut and fit as needed.
Fill the center with the stewed apples.

Cover the top with more bread.

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