Sharlotka, or Apple Charlotte is probably the most popular Russian sweet cake. It is famous for being simple, affordable and quick. No fancy ingredients are needed and the result is hard to spoil. If you need to fix something quickly for pudding you’d think of the apple Sharlotka as it takes no more than 20-30 minutes to prepare and about half an hour in the oven. Here is the recipe for Russian Sharlotka cake.
Typical Charlotte in the UK and around Europe today resembles a classical English bread pudding. The dessert is made with buttered stale bread (or Savoiardi biscuits can be used) which is lined around the cooking dish to make a mould with the centre filled with fruit purée or custard. The Wikipedia also has Charlotte russe: ‘a dessert invented by the French chef Marie Antoine Carême (1784–1833), who named it in honour of his former employer George IV’s only child, Princess Charlotte, and his current, Russian employer Czar Alexander I… It is a cold dessert of Bavarian cream set in a mould lined with ladyfingers.
As you will see, all mentioned above has little to do with the modern Russian Apple Sharlotka. Sharlotka recipe actually is for the sponge cake with cut apples baked inside. Russian apple Sharlotka is more a cake then a pie, in my opinion, but I don’t insist if you think otherwise.
In the Russian Sharlotka Antonovka autumn apples are traditionally used. If you don’t know yet, there is no other apple like Antonovka in the world. This most flavourable and aromatic cooking type of apple is, unfortunately, almost impossible to find outside Russia and former-USSR territory. Hence here in the UK I usually use Bramley cooking apples and they work just fine for Russian apple Sharlotka. If you can’t get them try Granny Smith or any other tarter variety of apples.
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