This classic English pudding, of fruit baked in a buttery bread case, is often made with apples, but works very well with an unusual combination of rhubarb and bananas instead. The pudding is thought to take its name from Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, who had a fondness for growing fruits.
selenium * A, B1, C, calcium, copper, potassium
For a change of shape, make the pudding in a 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin instead of a round tin. Bake at the same temperature for the same time as the main recipe. * To make a plum, pear and blackcurrant charlotte, poach 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) red plums, halved, in 4 tbsp apple juice with 2 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Remove from the heat and add 2 ripe pears, peeled and chopped, and 100 g (3½ oz) blackcurrants. Pour into the bread-lined tin, then finish and bake as in the main recipe. Before serving, sprinkle with 1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds instead of demerara sugar. * If fresh blackcurrants are not available for the variation above, use canned blackcurrants in natural juice, well drained, and use the blackcurrant juice rather than apple juice for poaching the plums.
Rhubarb is 94% water and compared with soft fruit and citrus fruit contains very little vitamin C. However, it is a good source of potassium, which functions with sodium to regulate fluid balance in the body. * Bananas are a carbohydrate-rich food, containing 2–3 times the amount of carbohydrate in fruit such as apples, oranges and pears and about 50% more than grapes. This is why bananas are popular with athletes, who need to maintain muscle stores of glycogen for long-term energy. * All varieties of breads make a valuable nutritional contribution to the diet – indeed white bread, which is often perceived to be not as ‘healthy’ as wholemeal, has twice as much calcium as wholemeal bread.