An apple charlotte is an American dessert similar to an apple pie, but made using bread instead of a traditional pie crust. In some respects, apple charlotte resembles a bread pudding or similar dish in that it can be an excellent use for older or stale bread in making a fairly simple and delicious dessert. Though a fancier version can be made using ladyfingers or similar bread-like cookies, traditionally the dish is made using a filling similar to apple pie and a crust formed from white bread such as French bread.
This can also be an excellent recipe for anyone who enjoys baking but does not have the time or ingredients to make a crust. An apple charlotte is a great way to make a delicious dessert without the effort involved in making a pie crust, but with all the flavor and gooey texture found inside a traditional apple pie. It is also so easy to make that precise measurements are not required, making this a perfect treat to make with children or inexperienced cooks.
Typically, an apple charlotte begins much the same way that an apple pie would. The filling is fairly similar to an apple pie and involves peeling and slicing a number of large apples, usually around four or five, depending on the serving size desired. These are sliced thinly and can either be used raw or cooked down to a thick sauce.
To cook down the apples for the filling, the slices should be combined with some butter in a large sauce pan. These are cooked over medium-low heat to allow the butter to melt and the apples to soften in the pan while stirring to ensure nothing sticks or burns. As the apples cook down, a small amount of sugar as well as spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple pie spice, can be added to the mixture. Once the apples are soft and have come to a thick gelatinous consistency, they should be removed from the heat and allowed to cool. A small amount of vanilla can be also added for even more flavor.
Four or five slices of white bread, such as French bread, should be prepared by trimming off the crusts and cutting them into cubes. The cubes of bread are set into the bottom of a buttered dish or baking pan, and the apple mixture is poured over them. This can be topped with a few slices of butter and the reserved bread crusts, which are often processed into bread crumbs for a finer texture. The apple charlotte is then baked until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown, then removed from the oven and allowed to cool before serving, often with whipped cream, vanilla custard, or vanilla ice cream.