Monday, 31 August 2009

Heirloom pudding: apple charlotte

My garden apple tree has yielded its best, and there are only a few fruit left hanging. Time to make one of my favourite-ever puddings, made by my mum from a recipe in her 1960s Good Housekeeping recipe book: apple charlotte. Unlike most charlotte recipes, it's not made with whole slices of bread but with a breadcrumb/sugar/suet mixture, and it's irresistible. The only other cookery book that has anything similar is Katie Stewart's Times Cookery Book, but Katie's is a bit more fancy and includes golden syrup. So I'll stick to the original.
I've no idea what variety of apple my tree is, but they're eaters and have a lovely sweetness.
And they have a slight rose blush in the flesh nearest the skin. For the charlotte, if I'm using eaters I pre-cook them slightly tossed in a little sugar and lemon juice. If I'm using cookers, I just slice them and use them straight away as they don't need any help beforehand to cook down to a sweet softness in the oven. Next, make your crumb mix: 3oz white breadcrumbs, 2 oz suet, 3-5 oz demerara sugar and the zest of a lemon for every pound of apples. (The original recipe is pre-metric.)
Gently spoon through the mixture to combine.
Then start making layers in a buttered pudding bowl: the quantities I use give one layer of apple, followed by a layer of crumb, then another layer of apple followed by a final layer of crumb. Dot with butter. Put in an oven at gas mark 4 for around 45 mins, or until the top is golden and crusty. The smell is fabulous.
Serve with double cream - or in my fortunate case, the last of a tub of clotted cream. It's just as good as left-overs over the next couple of days.
I'm at a loss to know why a pud this good and this frugal is so little known. I must try making it with veggie suet to see if that's as good.


mangocheeks said...

Look at the pink blush on those peeled apples. Wow!

Dan said...

Gorgeous. Love apples in desserts. Thanks for the recipe Fran.

Josordoni said...

Apples might be Worcesters? they have a nice crunch and a pink blush. and they are earlies so would be around now.

The pudding looks more like an apple Betty to me than a charlotte,but I think sometimes people use names pretty interchangeably depending on what their mum called it!