Charlotte Aux Pommes

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| Servings: Serves 6 to 8 people

This extremely good dessert is a thick, rum and apricot-flavored apple purée piled into a cylindrical mold which has been lined with butter-soaked strips of white bread (yes white bread). It is baked in a overshot oven until the bread is golden brown, and is then unfolded. For the sake of drama, the mold should be 3 ½ to 4 inches high. Be sure to pick the right cooking apples and that your purée is very thick indeed, or the dessert will collapse when un-molded. Julia Child


  • 6 lbs firm non juicy cooking apples (Golden Delicious are always reliable)
  • A heavy-bottomed stainless or enameled pan 12 inches across
  • A wooden spoon
  • ½ cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10 to 12 slices of homemade-type white bread, 4 inches square and ¼ inch thick
  • A 6-cup fireproof cylindrical mold about 3 ½ inches high
  • 1 cup clarified butter (we suggest more like 1 ¼ cup clarified butter)
  • A pan
  • A serving platter


  • ½ cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Optional: 2 cups crème anglaise (custard sauce) or 2 cups lightly whipped cream flavored with rum and powdered sugar


  1. Quarter, peel, and core the apples. Slice them roughly into ⅛ inch or smaller pieces. You should have about 4 quarts. Place in a pan, cover and cook over a medium low teat for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally until tender.
  2. Uncover and beat in the apricot preserves, sugar, vanilla, rum and butter. Raise heat and boil, stirring almost continuously until water content has all but evaporated — 20 minutes or more. The purée should be a very thick and fairly stiff paste which holds itself in a solid mass in the spoon.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F or 220°C.
  4. Remove crusts. Cut a square and 4 semicircles of bread to fit the bottom of the mold exactly. Sauté to a very light golden color in 3 or 4 tablespoons of fat clarified butter. Fit them into the bottom of the mold. Cut the rest of the bread into strips 1 ¼ inches wide. Dip in the clarified butter and fit them, overlapping each other, around the inner circumference of the mold. Trim off protruding ends.
  5. Pack the apple purée into the mold, allowing it to form a dome about ¾ inch high in the middle. (It will sink as it cools.) Cover with 4 or 5 butter-dipped bread strips. Pour any remaining clarified butter over the ends of the bread around the edges of the mold.
  6. Set in a pan (to catch butter drippings) and bake in middle level of preheated over for about 30 minutes. We found it best to rotate the pan every 10 minutes and to check doneness. Slip a knife between bread and sides of the mold; if bread is golden brown, the Charlotte is done. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Reverse the mold on a serving platter and lift the mold up a few inches to see if the sides of the dessert will hold. If there is any suggestion of collapse, lower the mold over the dessert again; it will firm up as it cools. Test after 5 minutes or so, until the mod can safely be removed.
  7. Boil the apricot, rum and sugar until thin and sticky. Spread it over the Charlotte. Serve the dessert hot, warm, or cold with the optional sauce or cream.