APPLE CHARLOTTE À LA JULIA CHILD
6 pounds crisp eating or cooking apples, quartered, cored and chopped into ¼” pieces
½ cup apricot jam, strained
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
¼ cup Calvados or Rum
1 pound sandwich bread, sliced
1 cup clarified butter
Sauce: crème anglaise or crème fraiche
Place apple pieces in a heavy pot, cover, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover, and beat in the jam, sugar, vanilla and flavoring. Continue cooking and stirring for 10 minutes or so until the apples are quite thick.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously butter a 6 cup mold that is cylindrical and about 3” high.
Trim crusts from the bread. Select 1 whole slice and another cut into 4 - ½ moon pieces to cover the bottom of the mold. Saute these in 4 tablespoons butter until golden brown. Place in the bottom of the mold. Cut remaining slices into strips 2” wide, dip them in butter and overlap them along the sides of the mold. Cut off ends that stick up above the edge. Fill the center with the apple puree, mounding it in the center. Dip 4 – 5 strips bread in butter and cover the top. Drizzle remaining butter around the edges.
Place mold in a pan to catch any bubbling butter and bake for 30 minutes, until the bread is toasty brown. Cool for 15 minutes before gently unmolding. If the charlotte threatens to collapse, return it to the mold to cool completely first.
Apple charlotte may be served hot, warm or at room temperature.