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« Haggis Step by Step Guide | Main | 18th Century Hotpot and Lobscouse »

February 16, 2009

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Jessica

I always thought that Apple Charlotte was named in honour of Queen Charlotte wife of George III, which would roughly fit in with the dates of its first mention. Just an idea!

Adam Balic

More then likey this is a folk etymology - people assumed this dish is British, so they looked for a famous "Charlotte". It makes perfect sense, except that all the early references to the dish are French. None of the earlier recipes mentions Queen Charlotte, although there are recipes for gingerbread dedicated to her and also varieties of apples.

From the French angle there are a number famous Charlotte's that could be a possible source, but another possibility is that the name was picked up from a fictional source. Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (Die Leiden des jungen Werther) was extremely popular (in France and the rest or Europe) and has "Charlotte" as a main character. In fact the character of Charlotte is associated with one scene where she is cutting bread and buttering it. So a "Charlotte" could be seen as a culinary joke, however it would still have to account for the Jewish Schaleth, Schalet or Schalat dishes.

Michele

Interesting. I'd always heard it was invented by Careme, when he was in the employ of Tsar Alexander I. In America, at any rate, the dish is often referred to as "Charlotte Russe", which seems to support this.

I like your blog, by the way. I, too, had an awakening of sorts when I read Philippa Pullar's 'Consuming Passions', which I picked up for a pound in a charity store back when I was studying in Edinburgh. And now I write about old recipes and tidbits from food history.

Adam Balic

Hi Michele,

Careme developed the Charlotte Russe (originally callled Charlotte a la Parisienne). In origin this was a cream set in a mould (Charlotte mould) lined by Ladie's Fingers buscuits. In Brooklyn it developed into another dessert again by the mid 20th century. It is quite a different dessert to the Charlotte I am talking about here and was developed later.

Phillipa Pullar's CP is a great favorite of mine, as you say a real inspiration. I actually got my copy in Edinburgh also as I lived there for 6-7 years. My copy has a cover that was withdrawn and replaced as it depicts a Roman bread baked in the shape of a huge phallus. I will be interested in reading you food writing

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