January 07
Princess Charlotte
Augusta of Wales' Birthday
 

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales was the only child of the ill-fated marriage between George IV (June 26) at the time  that he was Prince of Wales and Caroline of Brunswick. Charlotte was the heir apparent to the British throne after the succession of George IV. Beautiful, intelligent, flirtatious and gracious, she was the most popular member of the Royal Family in two hundred years. When she married the handsome a Prince Leopold of Saxe­Coburg in 1816, the nation went ecstatic at the thought of the most attractive and dynamic couple in Europe on the British throne.

Eighteen months later at the age of 21,  Princess Charlotte died from
post-partum hemorrhage after giving birth to a stillborn son. Her death created a state of national mourning never previously experienced in British history until the death of Princess Diana. The Princess was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor with her son at her feet.

Charlotte's death left the Prince of Wales without any direct heirs, and meant that her paternal grandfather George III had no legitimate grandchildren from his twelve surviving children - and most, if not all, of his daughters were either sterile or past childbearing. The death resulted in a mad dash towards matrimony by most of her bachelor uncles (the marriage of her uncle Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, produced the eventual heir—Queen Victoria). Prince Leopold, who would later become the first King of the Belgians, married again and had a daughter who was named Charlotte after his first wife and who would later become empress-consort of Mexico.

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales

When Princess Charlotte was a child, the great French chef Marie Antoine Careme was employed by her father, who was regent due to George Ill's affliction with porphyria, a metabolic disease that affected his brain. Careme hated the English climate, and wasn't particularly fond of the English. However, he adored Princess Charlotte and was constantly making her special deserts and confections. While in the Prince Regent's employ, Careme invented the Apple Charlotte for the princess's sixth birthday. When Charlotte died, Careme was working for Czar Alexander. As a memorial to the dead princess, Careme invented the Charlotte Russe.

So let's repeat Careme's birthday tribute for Charlotte. Since there has not of been a film with the princess as a principal, we recommend a book instead, The Tears of Albion; an Ode on the Death of the Princess Charlotte-Augusta of Wales by Richard. Nottingham. 

Apple Charlotte

 

Special Equipment
 
6-cup Charlotte mold
 
Ingredients
 
1 loaf white bread, sliced  
1/2 lb butter, melted
6 large yellow Delicious apples pealed, cored and quartered
6 TB butter
 
1/ 3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup dry white wine

 
Instructions
 
  1. Preheat oven to  400° F.
  2. Trim crust from bread. Cut slices in half. Shape slices to line Charlotte mold, overlapping slices. Small wedges can be included to make certain entire mold is adequately covered. Dip bread pieces in melted butter and set aside.
  3. Cut a small circle of waxed paper to fit base of mold. Butter paper on both sides and place on base. Then insert bread slices, first on the bottom and then on the sides. Each slice should overlap slightly.
  4. Cook applies in remaining butter until they begin to soften. Mix in sugar, zest and cinnamon. Add wine and continue cooking until all liquid is gone.
  5. Fill mold with apples and cover with remaining bread. Place mold on baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Invert on a warmed platter and serve with hot apricot sauce.

Serves 6- 8

Apricot Sauce

Ingredients
 
1/2 lb dried apricots
1/2 cup sugar
 
3 TB apricot brandy

 
Instructions
 
  1. Place apricots in a saucepan covered with water and allow then to soak for at least 4 hours. Place pan over medium heat and simmer until apricots are soft (about 20 minutes. Remove apricots and drain..
  2. Place apricots in blender or food processor and puree. Place puree and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir in apricot brandy. Serve hot.
     

Coffee-Cognac Charlotte Russe

Special Equipment

6-cup Charlotte mold
 
Ingredients

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin 
2 TB water
1 1/2 cups half and half
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
 

1/4 cup cognac
3 tsp instant coffee
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar

1 package ladyfingers
1 cup whipping cream for garnish

 

Instructions
 
  1. Soften gelatin in 2 TB water,
  2. Make a crème anglaise (custard sauce) by heating milk and 1&1/2 cups sugar and instant coffee in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, coffee, and softened gelatin, and remove from heat just before it comes to a simmer.
  3. Whisk egg yolk in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour hot milk into yolks, beating continuously. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to coat spoon. Do not let mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla and cognac and set aside.
  4. Pour crème anglaise mixture in metal bowl. Fill 1/3 larger bowl with ice and water. Place bowl with custard mixture over it and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture thicken and begins to coat spoon. Remove bowl and set aside
  5. Split lady fingers  Cut a few in half to line bottom of charlotte mold. Use the remaining ladyfingers to line the inside of mold.
  6. Pour mixture into lined mold and refrigerate for at least 8-hours. When ready
    to serve, cut ends off of ladyfingers so top of  mold is even. Moisten a towel in hot water. Wring partially dry. Turn mold over on chilled serving plate. Wrap mold with warmed towel. If dessert doesn't slip out, repeat procedure.
  7. Whip remaining whipping cream and apply as garnish on top of Charlotte Russe

Serves 6-8