Food & drink

James St Recipes: Cooking with Bramley apples - apple and blackberry cobbler, and apple charlotte

Apple charlotte
Niall McKenna

WITH the autumn season in full swing, it is prime time for apple picking. Considering Armagh is the apple heartland of the north, I decided to take a visit and pick up some of their finest Bramley apples.

With a consistent firm, crisp texture, and tart flavour, I knew these apples would create a heart-warming dessert perfect for all the family.

Believing the dish was named after her, my daughter Charlotte begged me to make an apple charlotte, which is a deliciously light pudding paired with custard, perfect for a finishing a Sunday roast. The second dish is a cobbler and although I used apples, you can use any soft fruits you may have.

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Apple Charlotte

(Serves 6)

1 large Bramley apple

2 Granny Smith apples

1 lemon (zested and juiced)

500g of caster sugar

100g of butter, softened

12 slices of brioche bread

1 stick of cinnamon

1 pinch of grated nutmeg

1 pinch of clove, ground

50g of raisins, soaked in brandy

Clotted cream to serve and custard (optional)


Preheat oven to 180C.

Peel, core, and chop the apples, placing in a pan over medium heat. Add in the lemon zest, 25g of butter, sugar, raising, nutmeg, the cinnamon stick and a pinch of clove. Once soft, remove from the heat.

Butter the inside of 6 of the moulds. I have used a charlotte mould for the recipe, but any pudding mould can be used.

Next, cut 12 rounds of brioche bread for the top and bottom. Cut the rest bread into soldiers that match the height of the mould and butter.

Place the rounds of bread along the bottom of the mould and arrange the soldier slices around the inside. Overlap the slices so that the juice from the apples does not escape. Add your apples from the pan and top up with the remaining rounds of bread.

Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. This dish is to be served warm, so after cooling for a few minutes remove from the mould using a palette knife and transfer to a plate.

Serve with clotted cream and custard.

Apple and blackberry cobbler

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

1kg of cooking apples (peeled, cored and cut into small dice- approx. 2cm)

250g of blackberries

100g of Demerara sugar

Icing sugar for dusting

Butter, for greasing

For the topping:

150g of self-raising flour

50g of chilled butter, cut into cubes

50g of caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons of milk


Preheat the oven 180C.

Grease a deep pie dish with butter.

To the base of the dish, add the apples, blackberries, and sugar, mix well.

For the topping, add the flour and butter into a food processor and mix together until the mixture has a breadcrumb like consistency. Alternatively, you can do this by hand.

Add in the caster sugar, egg, milk and mix thoroughly.

Spoon the dough over the fruit and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Once cooked, the top should be golden-brown and the fruit should be bubbling over the top.

Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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