⟡ Where have you been all my life? ⟡
This is a recipe for people who can’t bake. It takes five, okay, fifteen minutes to get into the oven. In addition to being fail proof, it’s comforting, beautiful and delicious. And I can’t believe I never knew about this until a week ago!
I was visiting my cousin Maia, our family expert on all things Russian. She was poking around the fridge and plunked a bunch of seen-better-days apples on the kitchen counter.
“I must make a sharlotka!” she announced. She, who is a mother of a one year old and has time for nothing, whipped up my first sharlotka using only four ingredients: apples, flour, eggs and sugar. Yes, that’s right: no fat.
There are many stories about the invention of the Charlotte, in Russian translated to Sharlotka. Was it created in 19th century London by the French cook Marie Antoine Careme, who was chef to Tsar Alexander I? Was it in fact the original Charlotte Russe? I’ll leave it to the food historians to decide, but the fact is, Russians have been making sharlotkas for…decades. It is said that every Russian can make a sharlotka, even a school child.
You can Google Sharlotka recipes high and low. Here’s a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Here’s another easier one from the BBC. Some add a smidge of baking powder, others a tinch of vanilla. A dusting of confectioners sugar glams it up a bit.
Every culture has apple bakes — from elegant (French tarte tatin) to comforting (American apple crisp). Sharlotka is a bit like a clafoutis, but isn’t. It’s a Sharlotka, and it arrived in my life not a moment too soon.
If you have a favorite bake, please share it with us, below.
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