Sunday, August 2, 2009

Charlotte aux Pommes, Crème Anglaise au Rhum (Apple Charlotte with Rum-Flavored Crème Anglaise)

Charlotte aux Pommes, Crème Anglaise au Rhum (Apple Charlotte with Rum-Flavored Crème Anglaise)Paul Brent, a seasoned and well-respected reporter in the Ottawa area, called me on Wednesday to see if I would like to be interviewed for a segment about blogging, cookbooks and Julie and Julia. The next day, he came to my home to film me making a recipe, as well as discuss my role as a food blogger in this new era of blogging and books. What he filmed will be on CTV Ottawa Weekend News on his segment called Tech Now with Paul Brent Sunday, August 2nd at 6:00 p.m and here (and then click "Tech Now: August 2, 2009"). One of the questions Paul was exploring is this:
Will blogging force cookbooks into extinction when you can click and cook from a laptop?
I hope not. I still use a cookbook regularly. I love browsing the pages of beautiful and inspiring cookbooks before bed. I like to write notes in the margins. The stains on the pages of my cookbooks give them personality. I even have several cookbook ideas that I'm exploring and hope to get published someday!

The food blogging world brings new stories and visuals to classic and well-loved cookbooks. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I is complete with directions, techniques, instruction and information, but it doesn't have any pictures. Now, through food blogs, there are hundreds of photographs and stories from kitchens around the world that work as a companion to this hefty volume. My post on Blogging the Art of French Cooking is just a small slice of what exists on food blogs about Julia Child's classic cookbook.

The online food world is another resource to become a better cook. Television didn't replace books and neither will blogs.
What's your opinion?
I made this Apple Charlotte last year as part of the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum, but this time I didn't make a classic charlotte. Instead, I made little tarts using my square tart pan. This was so much simpler than using a charlotte mold and just as tasty.


adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home

Serves 6

Charlotte aux Pommes, Crème Anglaise au Rhum (Apple Charlotte with Rum-Flavored Crème Anglaise) mise en place
For the Apple Compote:
3 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and diced
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
¼ cup apricot jam (I used cinnamon crabapple jelly.)
2 tablespoons dark rum (I used white rum.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

9-10 slices firm white bread
½-¾ cup clarified butter (I used regular butter.)

For the Crème Anglaise:
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum (I used white rum.)

Prepare the apple compote: Combine the apples and the water in a saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. Stir the apples occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep them from sticking to the pan. Add the sugar, butter, jam, rum, and vanilla. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, uncovered, until all the moisture has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the crusts from the bread and trim the bread into 4-inch squares. Brush the pieces of bread on both sides with the butter and press into a tart pan (or square tart pan). Fill the bread shells with the apple compote.

Bake the charlotte 15 minutes, then cover with parchment paper or foil to keep the exposed ends of bread from burning. Continue baking until the bread is golden, about 20 minutes longer. Serve with crème anglaise.

For the crème anglaise: Heat milk and vanilla extract in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove immediately from the heat and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is a pale yellow color, about 2 minutes. Continue whisking and slowly drizzle in a bit of the hot milk mixture to temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Keep whisking and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture.

Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil since it will curdle if boiled. (If it does curdle, either strain or blend in a blender, adding cream if necessary. Or, start over.)

Remove the crème anglaise from the heat and strain it into a bowl. Let it cool in a bowl set of an ice water bath to stop the cooking, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. It keeps for a couple of days.


bibliochef said...

The question is a great one -- will cookbooks become . . . obsolete. In one way, I can see it. Though I have to admit that ince starting my food and related issues blog, I get a lot of cookbooks in the mail -- which means I now own (and use) more cookbooks. Odd. And I do not really read food blogs that focus on recipes uch. I am more a food museum kind of reader of blogs. Hmmm. And yet, I use epicurious a lot because I cannot always find what I want in my heaps and heaps of recipe magazine. . . hmmm.

Are you in Ottawa? Love Murray Street Kitchen and Charcuterie

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love reading about the stories behind food, the whys too. Thanks for your insightful comment. Yes, I'm in Ottawa, and I'll have to check out both of those suggestions! Have you checked out Play?

Engineer Baker said...

Y'know, I think about this every time I buy a cookbook - why buy one when I can find so many recipes online? I guess I love flipping through them, seeing the notes the author has included or the notes from when I tried something. Cookbooks are darned good bedtime reading too!
I've never made a charlotte, but that one sounds like exactly the sort of dessert I'd love. Maybe when it cools down a bit though :)

Jennifer said...

I quite honestly hope cookbooks do not fade out. I personally adore having my collection of classics and new close to hand. I do love blogs, obviously and reading the stories behind recipes, photography, ideas and of course baking new things I come upon. I love that I can personally share with others as they do. Its a wonderful community for foodies, eh?!

This charlotte looks and sounds amazing! its been quite a while since Ive made one. The rum creme anglaise really is a wonderful pair with the apple!

NKP said...

That is beautiful!
I think the opposite is true to his querie. We buy so many cookbooks and promote them, we are a boon to the industry.
I have purchased about eleventy-billion since starting food blogging.

grace said...

apples, rum, cinnamon crabapple jelly (!!). best use for white bread ever. :)

Anne Coleman said...

Oh, dear - Creme Anglaise! One of my favorites - on anything ;)

Cookbooks - well, if they do become obsolete, I'll not be phased - I have a large collection that grows by the day. It's one of my guilty pleasures.

Anonymous said...

Saw the Tech Now piece this evening and thought I've visit your blog.
I think cook books will be around for some time. I'd much rather drip a sauce onto the page by accident as I double check a procedure, then into the keyboard.


angela@spinachtiger said...

Congratulations again Shari.Since I started blogging, I purchase MORE cookbooks, even though I read several food blogs. I think cook book sales will go UP.

Madam Chow said...

Congratulations on the interview! That must have been so exciting. A charlotte is one dessert that I have yet to tackle, and I'm looking forward to it even more after reading this post.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Mmm looks marvelous! The question of cookbooks going extinct is a salient one and one that applies to books in general. I think we may slowly see the cheap unmemorable cookbooks disappear, but the references and classic tomes to food will be around for quite a while longer.

Taste Buddies said...

I can't imagine them disappearing. It would be a tragedy if they did. I couldn't live without my cookbooks despite using the internet as a constant resource. Perhaps I should stock up!

Hannah said...

I really think that cookbooks are irreplaceable.... While there may be a great number of recipes out there on the internet, 90% of them are untested, unreliable, or simple not good tasting! A cookbook comes with an author to support those recipes, and who hopefully has some stable knowledge on food and cooking.

natalia said...

Ciao ! I love cook books even if I use internet ! I can't wait to see you on the net ! Your apple charlotte is so delightful !

CookiePie said...

What a gorgeous charlotte!!

lisa is cooking said...

I agree that blogs are different and won't replace books. Blogs offer an opportunity for personal/honest reactions to recipes, to share ideas and encouragement, and to show variations on published dishes.

And, that's a beautiful apple charlotte!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Looks like a great dessert.

Dorothy said...

wow this looks so fancy! btw, i love your new logo! cute! did you make it yourself?

Feast on the Cheap said...

So I'm a little off topic, but I've been perusing your site and it's absolutely gorgeous. I love it, very well done

Kathy Walker said...

Wow! This looks great.

I seem to buy a cookbook on my shelves runneth over...but I love it.

katie said...

cook books are priceless. And as much as I want to be cooking people's bookmarked wonder recipes, I am reminded of how un-sexy I look in the kitchen tried to read a recipe from the computer - mucking up the keys with creme anglaise.

it's like the kindle - awesome but a little too techy.

maybe blogs can replace cookbooks when they invent smell o vision.

Manggy said...

I think you can ask most food bloggers and few will prefer blogs over books and newspapers and magazines. In all this time I've been online, I can count the number of times I've exclusively consulted a blog on only one hand! Books on the other hand, treasure troves for me. But I am an unnatural cookbook lover I think.

Jeff said...


I would never give up on cookbooks. I love just grabbing a ton of them from the library and spreading out on the floor working away, taking notes, etc. Of course I still use pen and paper constantly even though I can work away on my laptop.

Karine said...

This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing... and I love your pics!

Unknown said...

I'm with you - I hope cookbooks don't become obsolete! I confess that I definitely tend to make more recipes from the internet, but I adore flipping through cookbooks and seeing the stories and pictures.

Your dessert is gorgeous!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

you have had a lot of cool things going on lately! enjoy your vacation!

Di said...

While I do pull recipes up on my computer sometimes when I'm cooking, I love my cookbooks, too. I enjoy just reading them. And if I'm looking for ideas on what to cook or bake, I love flipping through them (and magazines, too). My boss says I'm the only person she's ever encountered who will sit and read a cookbook on my lunch break. =)

Chilli mayonnaise said...

A great blog with some interesting information.
Australian made gourmet products

Mermaid Sews said...

Congrats! This loooks so complicated, but delicious.

Talita said...

Lovely pics! Sounds soo yummy! Great combination!

Suzette said...

It's interesting....I've bought far more cookbooks lately - from having read good things about them and/or good recipes from them on food blogs. The little taste I get from the blog usually makes me want the whole thing!

S said...

hi shari- this is a beautiful recipe, and beautiful photography. i am a disaster when it comes to making creme anglaise- it is either too watery or it curdles. would you have some tips, please? your creme anglaise looks gorgeous- how long, approx do you keep stirring it before it becomes thick? perhaps i am overcooking it. your expert advice would be most aprpeciated.