Plum Charlotte – Recipe No. 150


Here’s a super frugal wartime recipe made out of stale bread and fruit that’s going a little soft. As I had two of these things in my kitchen and I’m always finding ways to make ends meet, when I saw this recipe I knew it was just what I needed.

As I’m trying hard to reduce my weight and become healthier, I reduced the below ingredients by half to make a small pie that would make two generous portions (and this also ensured that if in a moment of weakness I gobbled it all up then not so much damage would be done). By the way I didn’t. I ate half with no custard. It was absolutely DELICIOUS! I really did want to eat it all though…

The cost of this dish was about £1 and calories about 800 for the whole pie ( if making the full size pie using the ingredients below it will be around 1600 kcals so about 400 cals per serving)

Plum Charlotte

1 lb (450g) fruit, weight when prepared (eg. several plums and 1 large apple)
3 oz (75g) sugar
8 oz (225g) bread
2 oz (50g) margarine.


Cut apples into small slices, no need to peel. Half and stone the plums. Place fruit into a saucepan with half the sugar and a couple of spoonfuls of water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Heat margarine up in a saucepan until melted and hot. Break up the bread into coarse breadcrumbs with your fingers and add to the margarine in the saucepan and stir, add the remaining sugar and a couple of spoonfuls of milk to ensure bread is mixed and slightly damp.

Place fruit mixture into pie dish, cover with breadcrumb mix.

Place into a pre-heated oven (180C or 350F).

Cook for 30-40 minutes until top is brown and crisp.

Serves 4

PS: A BIG THANK YOU to JOY who knitted me a lovely tea cosy for my teapot. Doesn’t it look GREAT!!!


26 thoughts on “Plum Charlotte – Recipe No. 150

  1. I’m the only one who likes plums in my family so making half the recipe would be just right for me. It sounds absolutely delicious. I love your china, and the tea cosy complements it perfectly.

    • Thank you xx I got the little milk jug in a charity shop last weekend for £1, the cup was part of several vintage china cups that came as a cheap job lot off ebay a couple of years ago and the teapot I bought off eBay last week! The tea cosy was kindly made for me – This wartime recipe was absolutely delicious xxx

  2. I’m jealous, I want a tea cozy quite badly and have yet to be able to find one anywhere (here in the US).
    I love the recipe and may try. We don’t have fresh fruit but I bet this would be great with the fruit I canned. We always save our breadcrumbs so there’s plenty to have to try it with.

  3. A modern twist, which would be healthier. Cook some date paste, (ethnic shops) which contains no stones, with the plums and spice with ginger and cinnamon .scatter oats on top (or stir in which I do). This could be baked in the oven, but half an hour cooking in the oven wastes a lot of energy ! This, with any fruit is a regular daily treat I have, so easy.

  4. I love the tea-cosy! My compliments to the knitter: this has inspired me to look in a craft sales outlet for one for my mother’s silver teapot which I like to use occasionally.

  5. Ah…Charlotte..or as the Danes supposedly say, Peasant maid in a veil! My son’s favourite dessert – Pear Charlotte, Apple Charlotte, Whatever-fruit-I-have Charlotte. I do mine slightly differently by layering the fruit and breadcrumbs mixed with spice (no margarine, just dry breadcrumbs and spice) and then drizzling treacle or golden syrup over the top breadcrumb layer (or you could dot with butter, or use a crumble mix, etc).

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  7. This will be a recipe to try in late May when my the fruit on my plum tree is ripe. I’m sure we will still be sheltering-in-place as I am in the Bay Area California and not very optimistic at the moment.

  8. Pingback: Home Front – Wartime Recipes (5) | Pacific Paratrooper

  9. Made this recipe (or an inspired by) tonight.
    Used soft plums, 4 bagels that had been in the freezer for months and some ends of bread from the freezer.
    Very tasty!

  10. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I am very new to “old style” cooking and and was nervous about how the bread topping would be. It was really good! The top had a little crunch and the underneath had soaked up some of the juice from the fruit. I will be making this again.

    And thank you for this website. I started thinking about meals that used to be made and aren’t seen much anymore (at least here in NY) and wanted to try some. Your site and recipes have my mind going overtime with planning. Can’t wait to try more!

  11. Hi Carolyn

    This recipe is confusing to say the least. I know this recipe (for Charlotte) as a Brown Betty which is layered alternately or just fruit with topping. All the recipes I have for a Charlotte are for a bread lined mould filled with the fruit. As for a Peasant in a veil, it just means the whole is topped with whipped cream or Italian meringue

    As an aside (in the 60’s) we had a school lunch sweet of stewed apples topped with a layer of crushed cornflakes served with fake whipped cream which was named Swiss apple pie.

    • I took it straight out of a wartime cook book and YES I’ve seen it with the slices of bread up the side of the dish with fruit and bread in the middle so maybe I have interpreted the recipe incorrectly? As you can imagine when I recreate the recipes there are no photos, I need to check this out!! 😀 xxxxx

      • Hi Carolyn, I hope you didn’t think I was criticising, just trying to clarify a fuzzy area of my brain, that was having a logic short circuit !

      • Oh no, not at all xxx I try and recreate something straight from old books without any photo reference to twist my interpretation of the word…I’ve had a few things that have come out looking not how I’ve seen others make them which has been quite funny. (Theres looks better!). Haha!

      • Hi Carolyn

        I know I have mentioned the following on your site before, but here I go again. I have a copy of ‘The Complete Cook’ by Nell Heaton (foreword dated 1940-1946), she was a on “The Kitchen Front’, ‘Cooking for Victory”, etc for The Ministry of Food. This book is my bible. As are all the books I have by Marguerite Patten, of which there are many. The Nell Heaton book is not only full of diagrams & sketches but colour photographs (which means that the book was printed after WW2 had ended) and has an answer to just about any question I have used it as a reference for. I wanted a copy after a friend showed me her copy & I was lucky enough to get a copy for 80p, thanks to my nephew & brother who bought it online & posted it to me – one of the best presents I have ever had.

        My point (after all this verbalising) is that it is a far better cookery book than many of the
        ‘flashy’ modern ones I have in my library. Another favourite is ‘The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cook Book’ by Mary Watts (Yorkshire TV 1984) and ‘The Dairy Book of Home Cookery’ by Sonia Allison (The Milk Marketing Board 1978) – my hard back copies are well worn and shabby but still used & loved.

      • I got a copy! I had birthday money to spend so just found an old copy on eBay, thanks for heads up, looking forward to getting my hands on that!!!! xxx

      • Hi Carolyn

        Clever you, hope you enjoy the book as much as I do. I’m sure it will be one of the best birthday presents you have ever bought yourself.

        Here’s a taster of one of her recipes, page 332, verbatim : ‘Coconut Pudding. Soak together for an hour, 1/2 lb breadcrumbs, and 1/2 lb grated coconut in 1 pint hot milk. Mash together and add a grated lemon rind, 2 oz butter and 2 oz sugar. Add 2 eggs, slightly beaten. Stir together, pour into a pudding dish and bake till brown.’

        And another, page 335, also verbatim : ‘Oatmeal Pudding. Sift together 1/2 lb rolled oats and 1/2 tsp each salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add 1/2 lb chopped dates and nuts, 4 oz treacle and juice of 1/2 lemon. Then put in 2 eggs and mix, adding about 1/4 pint milk to make a slack dough. Place in a greased basin and steam 3 hours. Serve with jam sauce.’

        Happy reading and cooking.

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