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Apple charlotte with stem ginger

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

You will need a 16cm/6in pudding basin.
6 Cox, Braeburn or Russet apples, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
4 pieces stem ginger in syrup, with 3 tablespoons syrup from the jar
½ lemon, juice only
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
½ large loaf good quality white bread, crusts removed, thinly sliced
clotted cream, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 230C/445F/Gas 8.
2. Place the apples into a pan with the ginger syrup, lemon juice and three tablespoons water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are very soft.
3. Blend the apple mixture with a stick blender to a smooth purée (or blend in a food processor).
4. Chop the stem ginger into thin slivers.
5. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat to clarify it, skimming off the white solids (curds) as they rise to the top. When the butter is clear, remove from the heat. (A little residue on the bottom of the pan isn't a problem.)
6. Place the base of a 16cm/6in pudding basin onto one of the slices of bread and cut around the base to create a circle of bread to fit into the bottom.
7. Using a pastry brush, paint the bread circle on both sides with the clarified butter, then place it into the bottom of the basin.
8. Cut the remaining bread slices in half and brush them on both sides with the clarified butter. Place all but 4-5 of the buttered slices around the inside of the pudding basin, making sure they all overlap by about 1cm/½in.
9. Fill the bread casing with the apple mixture.
10. Cover the apple filling with the remaining butter-painted bread slices.
11. Cut two circles of clean cardboard to fit snugly the inside of the top of the basin and wrap both in kitchen foil (alternatively use a plate that fits inside the basin. Place this on top of the basin and weight it down with a heavy pan (such as a cast iron fying pan). Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the bread topping is starting to turn golden-brown. Remove the weight and foil lid and return the charlotte to the oven to bake for a further 7-8 minutes, or until light golden-brown.
12. To serve, place a plate on the top of the basin and turn out the pudding onto the plate. Break the top crust of the charlotte and spoon in two large dollops of clotted cream and allow to melt into the pudding, then serve in generous slices.