Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Skillet Apple Charlotte

"Out of France", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). We are heading out of France with Jacques Pepin to explore other delicious cuisines from other countries. I'm making Jacques Pepin take on Apple Charlotte, a dessert which dates back to 15th-century England, where this dessert was named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. (And now there's a Princess Charlotte and Prince George, real cuties!).  (Note : an update : hi-lighted by Mae Travels in the comment below that King George III was born in 1738, so the 15-th century info is inaccurate! Sorry about that, I got that info from food.com when I googled for Apple Charlotte! Thank you Mae!)

Originally this apple dish consisted of lining a ring mould with bread and filled with apples, with the dish being served hot. Jacques Pepin version is to use a skillet to cook the apples over a hot stove until caramelized, and top with bread slices, baked in the oven until brown.

Skillet Apple Charlotte, with yummy caramelized apple wedges.

Firstly, apples (I've used Fuji), are peeled, cored and cut into wedges, arrange them in a non-stick skillet or ovenproof pan. Some butter, maple syrup and honey are added in. I have used all honey as I do not have any maple syrup. Bring it to a boil over high heat, turn down heat to low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until apples are just tender. Uncover and cook over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is completely gone, then continue to cook for another 2 minutes until the apples are caramelized. But by the time the apples are caramelized, there's still some liquid in the pan, and fearing that the already caramelized apples will get bitter if I continue to cook it longer, I have poured off the liquid into a small bowl, reserving it to be used later, if I need to. 

Four slices of white bread are trimmed off the crust, trim on one side of each slice to a rounded shape, so that they form a rough disc when arranged on top of the apples in the skillet. Butter one side of the bread slices, and place the buttered side up on the apple wedges. Sprinkle some sugar (I've used about 2 teaspoons) over the bread slices. Bake in the preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until the bread is browned. I have used a non-stick ovenproof saucepan which can withstand the maximum temperature of 180C, so I have baked the Apple Charlotte at 180C for 15 minutes on the middle rack, and move it up to the upper rack for another 10 minutes until the bread is brown and crispy.

When the Skillet Apple Charlotte is done, I left it to cool just a little (about 3 minutes) in the saucepan, then I unmould it onto a plate. Spread some apricot preserves over the apples. I have used my homemade orange jelly instead and have mixed it with the reserved liquid which I retain from the apples earlier on. The saucepan is still very hot, so I poured back the reserved liquid into the pan, add about 4 tablespoons of orange jelly, stir to combine. There's no need to heat the saucepan, as it still has the heat from the oven. Be careful when handling the hot saucepan! (Ouch!!). Pour this mixture over the apples, sliced into four servings and serve immediately.

This is so yummy! The bread is very crispy and the caramelized apples are tender and delightful. At first I thought that it would be sweet, with the honey and the sprinkling of sugar over the bread slices. But it blends out really well, without being overly sweet, just right, even with the orange jelly. I'll be making this again! A delicious way of using up the balance of one and a half jars of my homemade orange jelly lying in the fridge.

I made this in the afternoon for tea-time for both my daughter and me. We were both really hungry as we had eaten a late breakfast and have skipped lunch. My initial plan is to eat this with my homemade creme fraiche, but I have completely forgotten about it. Daughter had two slices, and I had one, only because I'm keeping the other slice for my son. When he came back from school a little while later, he ate it with a scoop of my homemade caramel ice cream! Now, why didn't I think of that!  

Skillet Apple Charlotte
(adapted from "More Fast Food My Way", Jacques Pepin)
(4 servings)
3 Granny Smith apples (about 1-1/2 pounds total) (I use 2 medium Fuji apples)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoons honey
4 slices white bread
1 teaspoon sugar (I've used 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
about 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yoghurt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel, core, and cut each apple into 6 wedges. Put the wedges in a small (7 to 8-inch) nonstick skillet and add 2 tablespoons of the butter, the maple syrup, and the honey. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the apples are just tender. Uncover and cook over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is completely gone, then continue cooking for another 2 minutes or so to glaze and caramelize the apples. 

Trim the crusts from the bread slices and arrange them touching, in a square on a cutting board. Trim the corners to create a rough disk that will fit into the skillet and cover the apples. Butter the bread on one side with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and arrange the slices buttered side up on top of the apples. Sprinkle on the sugar and place the pan in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned on top.

At serving time, if necessary, reheat the dessert on top of the stove to help loosen the apples and unmold the charlotte onto a serving platter. If the apricot preserves are firm, heat them for 30 seconds in a microwave oven to soften. Pour and spread them on top of the apples. Serve the dessert in wedges as is or with a couple of tablespoons of sour cream or Greek yoghurt, if you like.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week 
"Out Of France"




  1. Hi Joyce,

    This is like tarte tatin but made with bread.... Very interesting and the caramelised apples looks very yummy!


  2. So lovely! Caramelized apples are delicious!

  3. Yum! Thanks for the tip on using all honey :-P

  4. That looks very delicious! However King George III is not 15th century, he was born June 4, 1738, and married Queen Charlotte in 1761.

    1. Hi Mae,
      You are absolutely right! I got that info from one of the food websites. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  5. It reminds me of tarte tatin. It looks very tasty!

  6. Interesting and sounds delicious. Your son is smart to have it with your homemade caramel ice-cream!

  7. Love everything that's caramelized. I could just eat all those delicious caramelized apples alone!

  8. Hi Joyce! Your caramelized apples look gorgeous! If I have some apples, I will try this recipe. It seems rather simple but the results is stunning!

  9. Hi Joyce,
    This seems like a simple and delicious version of tarte tartin.
    No puff pastry needed only bread slices. I am imaging how yummy this apple charlotte is with a scoop of ice cream.

  10. I love how this can be made in a skillet, this looks so delicious!

  11. Oh my gosh! I'm drooling, it looks delicious, Joyce! Your children definitely know what good food is and have a mother to bake great goodies for them.

  12. I am a big fan of apple anything and this looks just perfectly delectable to me. I bet it was even more amazing with the homemade caramel ice cream. Yum! ;-)

  13. What a quick, easy and delicious dessert, Joyce! I love the simplicity.

  14. Your apples look perfectly caramelized and tender. I like how you removed the liquid to keep it from getting bitter. Great idea to heat it up back afterwards. This is gorgeous on it's own, but would be wonderful with caramel ice cream:)

  15. I like this version of the Charlotte much better. Looks much easier. And very very tasty.