Rustic Apple Charlotte
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 6 to 8
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6–8 slices good-quality stale bread, crusts removed
- 1 tablespoon plus ¼–½ cup sugar, to taste
- ¼ cup water
- 1½ pounds Red or Golden Delicious apples
- 1 teaspoon instant tapioca
- Cream or ice cream for serving
Melt the ¾ cup butter in a small saucepan. Line a sieve with dampened cheesecloth and pour the butter through. Discard the white solids that remain in the cheesecloth and save the clarified butter.
Cut the bread to fit the bottom, top, and sides of a charlotte mold, a 4-cup soufflé dish, or a mixing bowl. Set the bread pieces aside.
Using a pastry brush dipped in the clarified butter, coat the inside of the mold. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar into the mold and tip it all around so the sugar coats the inside. Dip the bread in clarified butter and line the bottom and sides of the mold. Set aside.
Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan. Add the water.
Peel, core, and slice the apples and add them plus the ¼ to ½ cup sugar to taste and the tapioca. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until apples are soft and pulpy. Remove the lid and cook until water is evaporated, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Let the apples cool.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour apples into the prepared mold.
Dip the bread lid in clarified butter and place on top of mold. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 375°F and bake for 20 minutes more or until the charlotte is browned and bubbling.
Serve either warm with heavy cream or cold with ice cream.
Molded desserts lined with sponge cake, lady fingers, or buttered bread are charlottes. Classic fillings are custard and whipped creams, which are then refrigerated. The apple charlotte is the exception; it is filled with sautéed apples, then baked.