Apple Charlotte Brown Betty
This recipe is part of a series on classic American desserts. Read all about it and check out the other three recipes here!
Serves: 4 to 6
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 day-old baguette or half loaf of pain de mie, crusts removed and bread torn into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup granulated cane sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated cane sugar (plus more if apples aren’t that sweet)
5 large Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
Juice of ½ lemon
¾ cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice, plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons Calvados or apple brandy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Freshly whipped cream, ice cream or vanilla yogurt
1. Preheat the oven to 200°. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the bread in a single layer and let sit, without touching, until the bottom gets lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes, and then stir and allow all sides to get golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Combine the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle over the bread. Stir to coat each crouton in the mixture and cook for another minute. Transfer the croutons to a baking sheet in an even layer and put in the oven while you prepare the apples (this will allow the croutons to stay warm and get a bit crunchier).
2. Melt the butter in a large, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar begins to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and lemon juice and stir to coat in the mixture. Cook until the apples begin to soften and their juices release. Add the cider, bring to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft but still hold shape, and the mixture has reduced slightly. Add the Calvados and cook for another 2 minutes. 3. Stir together the cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon of apple cider in a small ramekin until smooth. Stir the mixture into the apples and cook until bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove pan to a baking rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Scatter the croutons over the top and serve warm, or transfer the apples to a pie plate or baking dish, top with the croutons, and serve.