Posted by: njbrown | January 14, 2010

Non-collapsing Charlotte aux pommes (Apple Charlotte)!


January 14, 2010 – 9:54 p.m.

Apple Charlotte - It didn't collapse!

Apple Charlotte was driving me crazy, so George and I went shopping for the ingredients when I got home from work.  Six pounds of Golden Delicious apples and two loaves of special white bread later, I began working through the recipe. 
http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/apple-charlotte-unmolded-a-hot-or-cold-dessert 
(This recipe has a typographical error in the amount of butter called for.  I am sure it is 3 Tbs. and not 3 lbs.)  My goal was a blend of Julia’s recipe and Jacques’, but with a more sturdy bread casing.  Julia had stipulated 1/1/4 inch wide bread strips that were sauteed in clarified butter.  As I was cutting the crusts off my bread, each slice became very flimsy, and I had no hope of their holding the filling for any length of time.  I decided to butter each side of the bread, and overlap each 4×4" slice by half of the next slice to make stronger "walls."  I saw no virtue in sauteeing the bread, so skipped that step. 

Overlapping each square by half effectively gave it a double thickness (which was still thin giving the flimsiness of the bread).  The visible strips from the outside were almost 2" wide vs. Julia’s approximately 1 1/2".  After filling the mold (mounding the apples about 3/4 inch above the sides), I pressed the filling down as firmly as I could, then topped it with a double layer of buttered bread to give the Charlotte a good "foundation."  On top of the bread, I put a  square of parchment and weighted the whole thing down with a heavy saucepan lid to compress the filling as much as possible. 

To try to ensure non-collapse, I let the Charlotte cool for about an hour before unmolding.  It was still quite warm, but held its shape (although the top had sunk very slightly) until we cut into it.   When I was cooking my diced apples, I thought they would end up the consistency of Jacques’ – clearly pieces of apple rather than a thick applesauce.  However, after baking, the apple filling had become more uniform than his. It was very pleasant, and George said not like applesauce at all.  No one can beat the odds forever, so a cooking disaster must be coming soon.

The next culinary hurdle will be a cheesecake for my new son-in-law that hopefully will not crack, and will be the kind of cheesecake he likes.  That’s Saturday’s task.

Nancy

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Responses

  1. […] number one recipe for Apple Charlotte is from Julia Child and many people have imitated […]

    • Julia had a terrible time with her Apple Charlotte collapsing, and even Jacques Pepin did when they demonstrated one together. My goal was to try to find a way to make one that was less prone to collapse.

      Best wishes,

      Nancy


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