“Tom liked Mrs. Ritter, and from the moment she’d set up her miserable little stall there, he’d taken it upon himself to be her champion. From scraps of gossip picked up in the neighborhood, Tom had pieced together her tragic story, which might have been the template the Creator used to reproduce unhappy lives, for Mrs. Ritter had apparently been spared no misfortune. He decided the poor woman had undergone more than her fair share of suffering and resolved to help her as best he could. Unfortunately, this stretched little further than stealing apples in Covent Garden or stopping to give her the time of day whenever he went in or out of the boardinghouse, and trying to cheer her up if she was having a bad day.” From The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
In a new section of the book, we are introduced to the poor and morally ambiguous Tom Blunt. He’s a seducer, and a thief, and a strong arm, but he’s a nice, pleasant fellow.
Apple Charlotte (a half recipe for a small casserole dish)
6 slices of whole wheat bread (crusts cut off and buttered)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
5 tbsp dark brown corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a baking dish and line it with about 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar and some of the cinnamon. Line the dish with the buttered bread, buttered sides up. (You’ll want to cut your slices to meet exactly the edges). Arrange the apples in layers on top of the bread, sprinkling each layer with cinnamon and brown sugar. Cover the top with the remaining bread slices and cover that with any brown sugar that is left. Pour the corn syrup over the top and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the syrup and sugar have caramelized somewhat.
This was a quick and easy dessert, fairly tasty but not too fancy. I would probably add some apple cider next time, as the bread on the bottom of the cake pretty much tasted like bread whereas the bread on the top tasted like candy. I would also probably make this in little ramekins for individual servings.