This classic dessert deserves to be seen more often. Nothing more than a rich apple compote enclosed in golden, buttery toasted bread, it is the perfect fall and winter dessert.

Serves 8


1 loaf thin-sliced good quality white bread
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

Filling

3 pounds tart apples
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Calvados or Applejack
1 cup currants
1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs

Sauce

1 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Calvados

One 1 1/2-quart Charlotte mold or soufflé dish

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set rack at the lower level.
  2. To line the mold, trim crusts from bread. Cut 4 slices diagonally, then into triangles and trim to line bottom of mold. Try first for size, then dip one side of bread in melted butter and press buttered side into mold. For side of mold, trim bread in rectangles, and repeat procedure for side of mold. Save scraps and odd pieces of bread for bottom.
  3. For filling, peel, core and slice apples into a non-reactive pan. Add remaining ingredients, except breadcrumbs and stir to mix. Cover pan and place on medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes, until apples have exuded water. Uncover and cook gently until filling is thick. Stir in breadcrumbs and cook a minute longer.
  4. Pack hot filling into lined mold and cover with more bread, buttered side out. Bake until bread is deep golden in color, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool about 3 to 4 minutes. Invert a plate on mold, invert and lift off mold.
  5. Meanwhile, to make sauce, combine preserves and Calvados in a non-reactive pan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Strain into a serving bowl and serve warm.