Like many of you, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Downton Abbey, and was rewarded last night in a spectacular Season 3 start. Lucky for me, I’m not the only one I know who enjoys it. DH loves it too, so we decided to do a “Downton Abbey feast” last night to eat while we watched the show.
We made cucumber sandwiches, meat pies, and Apple Charlotte, and threw in a few scones for good measure. The meat pies and scones we bought. The cucumber sandwiches and Apple Charlotte we made. Everything turned out great and was delish and so much fun to eat while we watched the show. And of course, we brewed a spot of tea as well.
First the Apple Charlotte, which is mentioned in the first season. I’d never made it before. In Googling for recipes, I found a lot of different versions, and none of them were anything I wanted to try. I was determined to make this on the cheap, so buying things like vanilla beans was out of the question. Also, many recipes were in Brit Speak and temps which wouldn’t work.
I ended up making up my own version based on what I had in the house and what I knew my family would like. Turns out, the more I learned about Apple Charlotte the more I realized how many different versions there actually were.
Before Downton premiered, PBS ran a special on Highclere Castle, which the show is actually filmed. What a wonderful show that was! I hope you got to see it. In it, the chefs were actually preparing Apple Charlotte (and talking about the different versions of it) so it was even more fun to have made it here in our home.
Here’s the version I created:
- One loaf raisin bread
- one can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 large apples (I used Red Delicious)
- juice from one lemon
- 1/2 cinnamon
- 1 t. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 c. skim milk
- 4 T. brown sugar
- 3 T. white sugar
Peel and dice apples, then coat with condensed milk, lemon, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Fry up in a pan for ten minutes, until apples get slightly soft. Preheat oven to 375. Cut the crusts off the bread.
Combine eggs, skim milk, and 2 T. white sugar and dunk raisin bread slices, then place in a pan. I used an 8×11, but if you have a 9×13 that would work, too.
Put the slightly cooked apple mixture over the top of that. Take the rest of the bread and cut up into small squares. Dunk them in the egg mixture and places randomly over the top. Then sprinkle 2 T. brown sugar followed by a little white sugar over the top of everything.
Bake for 25 minutes. The top comes out slightly crunchy and the apples are cooked but not hard.
It’s best to serve this warm. We added a dollop of ice cream to the plate just to give it some creaminess, but you could eat it plain or put crème fraîche over the top also.
The thing I liked about this recipe was that it was so versatile. You could use any bread you had really, and any apples you had lying around as well. I think you could play with it until you got just the combination that your family likes. Mine really enjoyed this version, which is really the reason we bake, isn’t it?
Now the cucumber sandwiches… I’m think cucumber sandwiches are one of those things that every family has a recipe for. I do remember my grandma making them, and this is how she did it.
- 1 cucumber
- 1 (80z) pkg cream cheese
- 3/4 c. mayo
- 1/2 t. onion salt
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
- loaf of white bread
- salt and pepper
Slice cucumber and set on a paper towel.
Mix cream cheese, mayo, and spices in the mixer.
Cut crusts off of white bread.
(I take the crusts and use them for breadcrumbs later.)
Then cut the white bread slices in half.
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