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The Apple Charlotte That Should Have Been

Mrs. Patmore gets into some hot water (photo ITV)

” inPoor Mrs. Patmore.  In S1E5, it was evident that her deteriotating eyesight was beginning to seriously impact her ability to perform the duties required of such a large household. If she told anyone she may lose her position and then where would she be? 

Cora had invited Sr. Anthony Strallan to dinner as a potential husband for Lady Mary, and to further entice him (the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach) asked Mrs. Patmore if she could prepare Apple Charlotte, a favorite of Sir Anthony.  Embarrased that she was unable to read the receipt (recipe) Cora presented, she protested that the provisions of the dessert for that evening had already been arranged.  We do know in the end her eyesight betrayed her anyway, resulting in the salting of the raspberry meringue pudding.  An embarrassment to the Crawleys, but no real harm done.  Luckily for Mrs. Patmore, this family is very fond of their servants, and dispatched Mrs. Patmore to London for an operation to correct the problem, and all was well.

Mrs. Hughes was correct, the apple charlotte was a pretty easy recipe to follow, and there would have been no need to put sugar on it!  There are many Downton Abbey Cooks out there, with different interpretations.  Julia Child does a fabulous version with the added punch of rum, but today I will share a couple recipes which are more authentic to Britain and the period.  British cooks didn’t use cinnamon in that era, but I love cinnamon with baked apple dishes so make it your own!  You too, can be a Downton Abbey Cook! Bread and apples…how hard can that be?

Mrs. Beeton’s Easy Layered version

Enjoy apple sauce as a low fat topping on your desserts
simple charlotte; enjoy with apple sauce as a low fat topping

Mrs. Beeton, the original domestic goddess, is one of my favorite food writers.  She actually couldn’t cook at all, but had a brilliant mind for organization, and collected recipes and published them.  Learn more about her amazing young life and the movie about her young health.


  • 9 slices of bread and butter
  • about 6 good-sized apples
  • 1 tablespoonful of minced lemon-peel
  • 2 tablespoonfuls of juice
  • moist sugar to taste.
  • Butter a pie-dish
  • Place a layer of bread and butter, without the crust, at the bottom; then a layer of apples, pared, cored, and cut into thin slices;
  • Sprinkle over these a portion of the lemon-peel and juice, and sweeten with moist sugar.
  • Place another layer of bread and butter, and then one of apples, proceeding in this manner until the dish is full; then cover it up with the peel of the apples, to preserve the top from browning or burning;
  • Bake in a brisk oven (350 F / 180 C degrees) for rather more than 3/4 hour; torn the charlotte on a dish, sprinkle sifted sugar over, and serve.

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons. Seasonable from July to March.

Topping Suggestion:  Earl Grey créme anglaise

Charlotte can be served with ice cream, apple sauce (make your own), or créme anglaise.  Here is a great version with Earl Grey tea, inspired by Biscayne who blogs in Spain.

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Earl Grey tea bags
  1. Bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the tea bags into the milk, and let steep for ten minutes. Then remove the teabags from the milk, making sure to squeeze out all of the liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar thoroughly until the mixture becomes pale yellow.
  3. Pour about half of the milk into the eggs, mixing continuously. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk, and cook for a short time over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Do not let the mixture boil, and test for readiness by dipping a spatula into it and running your finger over the coated spatula. The creme is done when it is thick enough that the trail wiped away by your finger remains.
  5. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir it continuously for another two minutes. To complete cooling quickly, place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and stir the sauce until cool.

Individual Apple Charlottes
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This version is molded but easily achieved with biscuit cutter to impress your guests with individual servings.
Individual Apple Charlottes
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This version is molded but easily achieved with biscuit cutter to impress your guests with individual servings.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 individual servings 15minutes 25minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 individual servings 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings: individual servings
Servings: individual servings
  1. Carmelize the apples by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, vanilla, lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and cook on low heat anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes until apples are just tender and liquid has evaporated. It should have a nice medium caramel colour.
  2. While the apples are cooking, combine the eggs, milk and sugar in a shallow dish. Stir with a fork until fully combined. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and generously butter 4 small ramekins.
  4. Using a round 2.5 inch cookie cutter, cut out four circles from the bread. These will be the bases of the charlottes. Cut the other slices of bread into rectangles about 1" in width. Cube and store your bread scraps in an airtight container to be used for croutons or stuffing.
  5. Start with the circle cut outs, and lightly coat with the egg mixture, and place in the bottom of each ramekin. Lightly dip the other rectangles of bread in batter as well, then use them to line the walls of each ramekin - standing them upright around the perimeter leaving an overhang that you will later use to fold over and seal the charlotte. It should take about 6-8 strips per ramekin.
  6. Fill each bread mold with the apple mixture. Add a piece or two of bread to the top and fold over the edges to seal it up completely. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. Allow to cool slightly, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto individual plates.
Recipe Notes

For a special, yet easy Valentine's Day dessert, use heart shaped molds to achieve two perfect hearts!

Heart Charlotte






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18 thoughts on “The Apple Charlotte That Should Have Been

  1. I can´t believe I have not found this blog earlier! 🙂

    I´m a big fan of Downton Abbey, old cookbooks and history, so you´re perfect for me!!! some weeks ago I posted Mrs. Patmore´s apple charlotte, based onthe same Mrs. Beeton recipe mentioned on “The world of Downton Abbey”.

    I have also included a great sauce you should try. (scroll down for recipe in english!!)

    Greetings from a big, new fan of yours

    1. I love your version and what a lovely photo. I also came across Mrs. Beeton’s version and plan to make it next time I make charlotte which may be anyday now. My husband came home with a large basket of apples so that I could make applesauce for my low fat cooking. The version I used is quick to fix since I use applesauce and make little molds, but you lose the lovely texture of the apples and the lovely presentation like you have.

      Thank you so much for sharing and look forward to sharing recipes.

  2. We tried it yesterday at night, and it has been a real delight. Crispy on the outside, soft in the inside. Thank you for this receipe, and thanks to Mrs Patmore for not having baked it, now it’s legend !

    1. Mrs. Hughes was right, the recipe is easy to make,

  3. […] made and brought to the party. Fellow Downton aficionados will remember this dessert from the infamous salty pavlova episode (one of my personal all-time favorite Downton moments). Michelle’s apple charlotte was so […]

  4. […] Individual Un-Moulded Apple Charlotte Inspired by Downton Abbey Cooks […]

  5. This will be the dessert for our 3rd Downton Abbey party. The first was lemon curd on shortbread and the second, mincemeat pie. It is wonderful to see so many people having fun with this.Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Lovely. You can keep it simple with just an apple filling and allow your guests to pimp it up with topping, but the one version with condensed milk is lovely. I have also added a dab of peanut butter on occasion which is oh so good. Do send pics and I will post here on Tea Tuesday.

  6. […] Get all of the delicious details here, and then bide your time until the next episode by delving into the traditional tummy-tempting dishes of the post Edwardian period with Downton Abbey Cooks. […]

  7. […] recently published book by Pamela Foster – Abbey Cooks Entertain Pamela’s blog – Downton Abbey Cooks  is quite amusing and filled with everything Downton Abbey! I say I updated it because I […]

  8. Just wanted to say a quick thank you for all of your wonderful posts and recipes. We had a Downton Finale party last Sunday- and had a “downstairs” dinner of chicken and beef pot pies and an “upstairs” dessert buffet. I followed your charlotte recipe, and not only was it delicious it was beautiful.

    1. What a great idea, combining upstairs and down. You shall be rewarded with a free download of my book.

  9. […] version is from the blog “Downton Abbey Cooks,” which I immediately love the idea of (and it has a lovely Earl Grey creme anglaise […]

  10. […] featured in an episode of Downton Abbey when Mrs. Patmore the cook’s eyesight was going.  Here is their recipe for the Apple Charlotte that should have […]

  11. For the individual charlotte recipe, you don’t say anything about using condensed milk or how much…

  12. […] cake recipes. The similar apple charlotte recipe – perhaps known to many readers for being referenced in Downton Abbey – became popular in England and France in the early 20th century. Meanwhile, […]

  13. […] So on Friday night, my 11-year-old daughter and I have a date with the couch, our pajamas, and Downton Abbey.  Dinner plans for watching Downton Abbey can be tricky.  I would prefer something delicious and elegant served to me on a sterling silver tray, but we don’t have staff, AND we will be in our pajamas on the couch.  So we will be having these delicious roast beef sandwiches served with chips on the side.  There will definitely be a pot of tea, and for dessert, Apple Charlotte.  You can buy an apple pie if it has been an especially hectic week, but if you have the energy, this is a great recipe for Apple Charlotte. […]

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