By Keighley’s Mike Armstrong, an award-winning master baker with a big passion for baking. See

APPLE Charlotte is often described by those who don’t know better as a classical French dessert.

It was actually named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III – she was said to be the patron of apple growers, with the recipe being around since the early 1800s.

There are two types of Apple Charlotte and ‘the other one’ suggests it comes from Charlotte Russe, which is traditionally set – the French can have that one back.

The Apple Charlotte is actually one of our own, as us Brits have really kept to our traditions and love to use stewed fruits and stale bread in our puddings – it’s a very British thing to do somehow, especially when it’s drowned in hot custard.

As this pedigree of a pudding suggests, it’s an elegant dish perhaps more suited for Sunday tea than crumbles or pies midweek.

A king on our tables of British royalty, but happily it’s also pretty cheap and simple to make – even without the palace kitchens at your disposal.

The apples are the key to making a successful Charlotte.

Cooking apples are always recommended and called for, like our British Bramley apple – which also benefits from breaking down easily when heated, giving a smoother, fluffier puree which can lack the complexity of flavour of some eating varieties.

It’s well worth the sacrifice of picking them up on your next shopping trip, for their beautifully silky texture – sweetened to taste, as the bread we’ll be using is plain, rather than sweet pastry, unless you have spartan tastes and want to add a pinch of cinnamon to the dish which is a natural pairing with apples anyway.

Stale bread is often called for, but it can be easier to work with if it’s fresh.

It needs to be buttered to prevent it from burning and to no one’s great surprise, the more butter, the more crisp and delicious the results will be if you’re keen to impress.

To make the Apple Charlottes truly elegant, consider making them in a Dariole – “posh French pots” – but a big pudding basin is more suited in Yorkshire, just add the amount of bread and apple accordingly.

So always remember, buy British apples – or the empress-witch from Snow White will tell Isaac Newton to boink an apple on your head.



Makes 4 individual pudding moulds or one large pudding bowl


125g / 4oz butter

500g / 1lb Bramley cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

75g / 3oz caster sugar

Half a medium-sliced loaf of slightly old white bread with the crusts cut off


1. Melt 25g of the butter in a large sauce pan adding the apples and sugar, cooking gently for 5 minutes until the apples soften.

2. Melt the remaining 100g of butter, using some of it to grease the individual pudding moulds.

3. Cut 4 bread discs to fit the bases of the moulds and 4 larger discs to fit the tops. Cut the remaining bread into strips to fit the inside of the moulds.

4. Brush one side of the bread with melted butter, placing the small discs in the base of the mould, butter side down and line the sides with the bread strips, buttered side outwards using extra pieces to fill in the gaps snugly.

5. Fold away any excess bread from the sides and divide the apple filling between the lined moulds, then place the lid on top and gently push down.

6. Stand the moulds onto a baking tray and bake at 200C / Gas Mark 6 for around 30 minutes till the bread is golden, stand for 5 minutes before turning out and serving warm.