Well, it’s been a while. Having recently returned from visiting Hannah in Denver, I felt I needed to finally get to posting.
Julia Child’s Apple Charlotte, which I made more than a month ago around my birthday, was a success. The secret of course, was butter, and lots of it. Perhaps too much, but some say that’s not possible. If there indeed is such a thing as too much butter, I think I might have discovered it with Apple Charlotte. This recipe took a bit of time, but the ingredients were inexpensive and simple (see above). Per Julia’s suggestion, I used golden delicious apples, which worked quite well.
To save some time on cutting the apples, I did take the shortcut of using an apple slicer. It was worth it, considering the other finicky steps that went into crafting this dessert, such as cutting the crusts off many slices of bread.
It might not seem like removing crusts would take a lot of time, but in an effort to not destroy every piece of bread I touched, I used a knife and tried to be precise in my de-crusting.
Now for the butter. I think I ended up using close to three sticks of butter for this recipe, which in hindsight seems like far too much. But it did make the bread and the filling extremely soft.
After dipping each piece of bread in butter, I made a layer on the bottom of my pie plate. A tip is to toast the pieces of bread before dipping them in butter to avoid overly saturating the bread in butter but to ensure it soaks in enough. I learned that after creating this first soggy layer of bread.
On top of the bread went a layer of apples, lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon. This step, I think, was the prettiest part of the whole experience. The lime green of the apple peels, the bright yellow of the lemon zest and the bronze of the cinnamon contrast so well with the off-white interior of the apples, don’t they? I had a lot of fun trying to make this layer look pretty, even though it would soon be covered by more buttery bread.
I did another couple of layers of bread and apples to fill up the pie plate, before topping it with the final layer of buttered bread. If I did this again, I would make sure to overlap my pieces. Of course, they shrank slightly as they baked, so it left little gaps. Ideally, it would have looked like one cohesive crust on top.
It certainly could have been worse, though, seeing as my oven has a talent for burning baked goods.
You can see the cracked crust a bit better in this one. Still, it didn’t detract from the taste.
Here’s how it turned out on the inside. It tasted a lot like apple pie, but with more butter and a more gooey consistency. Sort of like an apple pudding. (Though I wonder, would homemade brioche have been better than white bread?)
Because I made this as a birthday week treat, we served it with vanilla ice cream. Oddly, the ice cream helped distract from the overly buttery taste and didn’t add too much richness. Out of all the apple baked goods I’ve made, this one worked, but I think for the everyday occasion, I’d prefer a simpler apple tart. Now that spring is here, I’m excited for a new challenge, perhaps one with fruit…