Try this recipe for apple charlotte, then check out our apple tart, apple crumble, Dorset apple cake, apple sponge pudding and more apple recipes.


  • 5 Cox apples, Braeburn or Russet
  • 4 knobs of ginger stem ginger in syrup, 3 tbsp of syrup
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 125g butter
  • ½ white farmhouse bloomer loaf
  • 1 small jar or tub clotted cream


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to its maximum. Peel and core the apples, and chop them coarsely. Put them in a pan with the ginger syrup, lemon juice and 3 tbsp of water.

  • STEP 2

    Simmer gently until they are totally soft, about 20 minutes. Purée the apple mixture until it’s the texture of baby food — if it is too runny, it can always be reduced a little. When the apple is cooked, chop the ginger into medium dice or thin slivers.

  • STEP 3

    Put the butter in a small pan and gently simmer to clarify the butter, skimming off the curds as they rise to the top. I find this process strangely mesmerising, waiting for the little white islands to rise up through the golden pool. When properly clear, put this to one side. A little residue on the bottom of the pan isn’t a problem.

  • STEP 4

    Cut the crusts off the loaf. Slice the bread carefully. Cut it to the width of the nail on your little finger.

  • STEP 5

    Using a 16cm pudding basin, rest the basin on one of the slices, and cut round the base, creating a circle for the bottom. Taking the clarified butter and a pastry brush, paint the bread circle on both sides and put it in the bottom of the basin. When buttering, don’t be mean – really daub the pieces properly.
    Cutting the other bread slices in half, brush them with butter on both sides and put them around the inside of the basin, making sure that they all overlap by about 1cm. This is important as, while cooking, the hot apple magma will find any exit it can, and spoil the crisp exterior.

  • STEP 6

    When inserting the last piece of bread, make sure that it both overlaps and goes under the first piece. You should still have a couple of slices of bread remaining for the roof of the charlotte.

  • STEP 7

    Fill the bread casing with the apple sauce. Fashion a roof with the remaining butterpainted bread. Cut two circles of cardboard to fit inside the basin and wrap together in foil. Put this on top of the basin and weigh it down with oven-proof weights, stones etc.

  • STEP 8

    Put into the heated oven and cook for about half an hour. Check after this time — it will be very obvious whether the bread is cooked, as you will see any colouring on the edges very clearly. This colour will be the same throughout the rest of the bread and you want it to be a good dark gold.
    The top, though, will be less cooked, as a result of its being covered over. So remove the weights and foil lid and return the charlotte to the oven for a further 7 minutes. It won’t achieve the same colouring as the outside but don’t worry about this – as it sits unseen on the base it won’t ruin the look.

  • STEP 9

    When ready to eat, upend a plate on the top of the basin and invert the basin onto the plate, using a tea-towel or oven cloth so as not to burn your hands. Lift off the bowl. At the table, dramatically smash in the top of this molten apple volcano and spoon in 2 large dollops of clotted cream which will disappear into the hot apple interior. Attack with spoons, being careful not to blister your lip with your first mouthful.


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