An apple charlotte is one of those desserts that everyone loves, but few people know how to make.
This traditional French dish uses puff pastry dough as its base and includes fresh apples in various ways.
What Is An Apple Charlotte?
Apples are used extensively in baking because they add sweetness without adding too much moisture or fat.
An apple charlotte contains all these qualities, so it’s perfect for both sweet and savory dishes.
The name “apple charlotte” comes from the fact that this dessert was originally served with a cream cheese filling made out of whipped egg yolks, sugar, and butter.
The pastry crust would be layered on top of the custard filling before being baked into a beautiful golden brown cake shape.
The original version of the dish included more fruit than just apples, including pears, plums, and even peaches!
Over time, the style of apple charlotte has evolved, so now most recipes call for only apples.
You can find variations where other fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are added instead of or along side of the apples.
The main difference between the two versions is the amount of sugar, which can range anywhere from 1/4 cup per 8-ounce serving (for the original) to 2 cups per 8-ounce serving (for the modernized).
What Are The Ingredients In An Apple Charlotte?
Apple charlottes can be made with or without custard filling.
If using custard, it should be baked separately from the pastry for about 15 minutes before adding it into the center of the pie.
The top layer of pastry will also need to bake longer than the bottom layer to give the custard time to set properly.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 medium-sized baking apples (about 1¾ pounds)
- ⅓ cup cold water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
If you’re not using custard, simply fill your charlotte with caramelized fruit and serve immediately.
- 4 cups sliced red or green pear, peach, nectarine, plums, or cherries
- 8 ounces dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
How Do You Make An Apple Charlotte?
You’ll need some basic kitchen equipment for this simple yet elegant dessert such as a food processor or blender (a handheld electric mixer will also work), a 9-inch pie pan (or similar size baking dish) with sides at least 2 inches high, two 10-inch metal skewers, parchment paper, foil, aluminum foil strips, and two sheets of nonstick cooking spray.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to package directions (you can substitute store-bought puff pastry if necessary)
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
6 tablespoons brown sugar + 2 teaspoons cinnamon + 1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water (this will help seal the crust)
What Is The History Of The Apple Charlotte?
The name “charlotte” comes from the town of Charolles in France where this apple cake was originally made.
The word châtaigne means chestnut in French, so the original apple charlotte was actually a chestnut tart topped with apples. In time, the châtaigne became shortened to just “Charlotte” and then finally to “charlotte” or “apple charlotte.”
In fact, there are several different types of apple charlottes depending on what kind of filling they include.
They can be filled with raisins, dried fruits, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, candied fruit, and more.
Most apple charlottes also have some sort of glaze applied to them before baking.
Apple charlottes were often served at special occasions like weddings and birthdays and even during religious holidays like Christmas.
Some examples of these celebrations included Easter Egg hunts, baptisms, weddings, and confirmation parties for children.
Today, apple charlottes are still very popular in France and most other countries where they are common.
However, because they aren’t always available in supermarkets, many Americans will only encounter them when they go out to restaurants or bakeries for birthday cakes or holiday treats.
There are two main methods used to create an apple charlotte.
One method involves cutting off a piece of dough about 1/4-inch thick and rolling it into a circle.
Then, it is placed right over top of a sliced apple and covered with another slice of dough.
After the second layer has been baked, the whole thing is cooled until ready to serve.
A second method involves using a tube pan to cut circles of dough which fit inside the pan.
These circles are stacked on top of each other and then baked until golden brown.
Once finished, they can be spread with a glaze made by mixing melted butter with sugar or honey.
If you want to learn how to bake an apple charlotte yourself, check out our article detailing all the steps involved in making this sweet treat!
Why Is It Called An Apple Charlotte?
The name “charlotte” comes from the city of Charolles in France, where this dessert has been around for centuries.
The original version was made with applesauce instead of cream or custard, which makes it similar to today’s apple pie.
Chocolate is another popular ingredient used in making an apple charlotte.
Chocolate brings out the sweetness and richness of the fruit while adding a touch of decadence.
You can also add caramelized sugar cubes into your batter if you like things sweeter than usual.
This apple charlotte recipe is also known by other names including apple tart, apple pudding, and apple flan.
For some reason, there are many versions of this dessert, so don’t be surprised when you see different names on the ingredients list of recipes online.
Where Did The Apple Charlotte Come From?
The name “charlotte” comes from the city of Châteauroux, France, where this dessert originated.
The word means “golden apple,” which makes sense because of the golden color of the baked apples inside.
If you want to learn more about what made this particular version of the apple charlotte such a favorite, check out the history of the fruit itself.
In general, apple charlottes contain either sweet or tart varieties of apples like Granny Smiths, Galas, Braeburns, Pink Ladies, or Red Delicious.
They can also include pears, plums, quinces, figs, peaches, apricots, and other fruits.
You can even add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give your apple charlotte a unique flavor!
One of the most important parts of making an apple charlotte is choosing the right type of puff pastry for the job.
There are many different types of puff pastry available on the market today, so read our article to find out which kind works best with your recipes.
If you would prefer not to bake your own puff pastry, there are several options available at grocery stores, too.
One popular brand is All-American Puff Pastry, which has been around since 1968.
Another option is Pepperidge Farm, who offers both store-bought and homemade puff pastries.
What Are Some Variations Of The Apple Charlotte?
There are many different recipes for this classic French dessert, so there isn’t just one version.
The most common variation is made with puff pastry (the same kind used for croissants), which can be purchased in the freezer section at your local grocery store or bakery.
However, it’s also possible to buy frozen puff pastry dough online.
The original recipe calls for two types of apples, but other versions call for only one type.
If you decide to go with only Granny Smith apples, they should be sliced thin and layered on top of each other before being covered by the batter.
You could use three varieties of apples, but then you would need to cut them into quarters rather than slices.
Apple charlotte cake
Another popular variation of the apple charlotte involves making an individualized cake instead of using a sheet pan.
To create this “cake,” you slice the apples thinly, layer them like sashimi, and put them between sheets of parchment paper in muffin tins.
Once baked, remove the apples and set aside.
You will now add the filling ingredients to the remaining mixture and bake it until golden brown.
Then, take a sharp knife and carefully separate the apples from their molds, allowing them to cool completely.
When ready, place them back in their respective pans and cover them with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.
Refrigerate overnight, unmold, and enjoy!
How Do You Serve An Apple Charlotte?
This is a great dessert for entertaining because it looks really fancy when served at your next dinner party or holiday gathering.
Plus, it’s easy to make, so why not whip this out every once in awhile?
The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it by adding different types of fruit into the filling, which makes it even more interesting.
While there are many different versions of this dessert throughout France, the most popular variation includes fresh apples, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla extract, and butter.
You could also add brandy, rum, or coffee liqueur to the mixture before baking.
You will need:
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 8 inches square)
- 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Vanilla bean paste, optional
- Maple syrup, optional
- Nutmeg, grated, optional
- Whipped cream, optional
What Goes Well With An Apple Charlotte?
The most popular accompaniment to apple charlotte is vanilla ice cream, which complements the tartness of the fruit nicely.
However, it’s not necessary to be so fussy about your topping choice.
You can also pair this cake with whipped cream or even plain old milk if you want something more refreshing.
Another common pairing is caramel sauce, though again, there isn’t really anything wrong with using regular sugar syrup instead.
You could go further still by serving the cake on top of freshly made crème brulee, but I think it would ruin the whole point of what makes apple charlottes great — their simplicity.
What Are Some Tips For Making A Perfect Apple Charlotte?
You can find the best apple charlotte recipes on the internet or at your local supermarket.
However, there are a couple things you should keep in mind when preparing this popular dessert.
- The first step is to choose the right apples. You want something sweet like Gala apples. If you’re not sure what variety of apple works best, look it up online. There are also plenty of great apple charlotte recipes available if you search around.
- Another thing to consider when choosing your apples is their size. The smaller ones will go better inside the cake while larger varieties work better outside the crust. If you don’t want to bake both sides of your pie, try baking just half so you can fill it with fruit before serving.
- When it comes to filling your crostata, be sure to add enough liquid to cover the bottom layer of apples. Then top off the mixture by adding more apples until they reach the edge of your pan. Do not overfill because excess moisture will cause the whole thing to fall apart.
- Finally, remember that every oven cooks differently. Make sure to preheat your oven properly before putting anything into it. And once you put everything in place, give it time! Ovens vary greatly depending upon the model you own.
- 1 Oven
- 1 Bowl
- 3 cups apples
- 1 lime juiced
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees C). Use nonstick cooking spray and parchment paper to line a 6.5-inch springform pan. Use nonstick cooking spray to coat parchment paper.
- Mix the lime juice with the apples and leave aside. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
- In a separate bowl, mash the eggs with the brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend just enough. About one-third of the batter should be poured into the pan. Top with remaining batter, then add apples.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. After transferring, allow to cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
- After releasing the springform pan with a knife, flip Apple Charlotte onto a plate. Place the cake on a serving plate right away.