4 1/2 pounds Rome Beauty apples
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup apricot jam
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
18 slices firm-textured white bread, such as Pepperidge Farm
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Premium quality store-bought vanilla ice cream
1. Make apple filling: Peel, quarter and cores apples. Cut quarters crosswise into thin slices.
2. Melt butter in 6-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes, or until apples are completely soft. Remove cover and add sugar, jam, nutmeg and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring and mashing apples frequently, until liquid has completely evaporated and apples form thick, dry, coarse puree, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and vanilla. Set aside to cool while making crust.
3. Make crust and assemble charlotte: Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease charlotte mold with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle sugar in mold and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Tap out excess sugar. Melt remaining butter in small saucepan over low heat and set aside.
4. Using serrated knife, remove crusts from bread and trim slices into 31/2" squares, reserving crusts and trimmings. Form square with 4 slices bread. Center bottom of charlotte mold over bread square. Cut around mold to form circle, reserving trimmings. Cut each quadrant in half so that there are 8 "rounded triangles" of equal size. Dip each one in melted butter and line bottom of mold with triangles, buttered-sides down.
5. Set 4 slices bread aside and cut remaining ones in half, forming rectangular strips. Dip one side of each strip in melted butter and arrange strips, upright, around inside of mold, buttered-sides against mold and overlapping by about 1/2" to 3/4"to completely line mold.
6. Put reserved bread trimmings and crusts in bowl of food processor fitted with metal chopping blade and pulse until fine crumbs form. Stir 1/2 cup crumbs into cooled apple puree. (Save excess crumbs for another use.) Spoon filling into bread-lined mold, mounding it slightly in center.
7. Form square with remaining 4 slices bread and cut out circle large enough to cover top of apple filling. Dip pieces of bread into melted butter and place on top of filling, buttered-sides up. Press down lightly.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover top loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top is deep golden brown and side slices are golden brown (slide a thin-bladed knife between bread and pan to check). Remove from oven, uncover, and let rest for 45 minutes on wire rack. Run thin-bladed knife around edges of pan and unmold onto serving platter.
9. Combine apricot jam, lemon juice and water in small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until jam is completely melted. Bring to boil, then remove from heat. Using pastry brush, paint crust with glaze. Serve charlotte warm or at room temperature.
10. With serrated knife, slice charlotte into 8 wedges and serve, if desired, with vanilla ice cream.
After dinner, enjoy a magnificent box of truffles from Chocolate.com!
Next Article: Chocolate Hanukkah