Apple Charlotte


Welcome to the last chapter in the premiere episode of Downton Abbey ... Season 3 of course.

By this point in the evening, we had eaten some delightful deviled eggs and some Shepherd's Pie. And nearly an entire bottle of champagne.  

We had also continued our hobby of impersonating some of the cast when we took quick breaks for drinks, dishes or more food. Baby Sister does a great impersonation of Daisy and several other characters as well. She always knows how to make me laugh on pretty much any day ... but doing impersonations really gets a giggle from me. Me on the other hand? No impersonation skill. I just can't channel my inner Brit.... unless it is the one scene when Sir Anthony Strallan spits out the Raspberry Pudding dessert because she put salt on top instead of sugar. That's the only one I can do... besides peel apples.

So in honor of that scene, I made Apple Charlotte. This is the dessert that Sir Anthony wanted the Crawleys to make for dinner that nice but Mrs. Patmore refused. I'm not sure why she refused because this is so easy to make. Like, I can't wait to make this again easy.

If I wasn't so busy drinking my champagne cocktail and snuggling on the couch, I would have licked the bowl clean.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease four 5.4-ounce ramekins with butter. This matters. You'll want to be able to easily get these suckers out of the ramekins later.

(Step 2) Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the apples, vanilla extract, lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon, and mix well. 
(Step 3) Cook on medium-low heat until the apples are tender and any liquid has evaporated; this should take 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the variety of apples you are using. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. The mixture should thicken and turn a medium caramel color.
(Step 4) Combine the eggs, milk and 1 tablespoon of superfine sugar in a shallow dish. 

(Step 5) Cut the crust off the pieces of raisin bread. You'll need 1 whole square for the bottom of each ramekin and about 2 whole pieces cut in half for each of the sides (i.e. think like sides of a square).

(Step 6) Quickly dip each bread circle in the egg mixture and place one in the bottom of each ramekin. Then dip the rectangles, standing them upright around the inside edge of each cup, extending above the rim so you can fold them over later to make a lid. 
(Step 7) Fill each ramekin with the apple mixture. I added in a little bit of extra brown sugar before folding over the top of bread pieces to make a fake lid. 
(Step 8) At this point, I tossed these babes in the fridge for a few hours while we watched the premiere of Downton Abbey. It worked totally fine. I just folding down the bread like a lid and covered them with saran wrap.
(Step 9) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.
(Step 10) Allow to cool slightly, then run a knife around the edges and turn them out onto individual plates. Top with some great vanilla ice cream. 

Adapted from this recipe

Shopping List
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2/3 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon superfine sugar, plus more for sprinkling
10 slices stale challah or raisin bread, 1/2 inch thick (about 12 ounces), crusts removed

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