Apple Charlotte is the dessert of the devil. Or so I thought when I was growing up. Layers of apple and breadcrumbs and served with custard. My sister and I hated it. Most of mum’s puddings were delicious; sticky toffee pudding, blancmange, angel delight, trifle, jam roly poly and, of course, spotted dog. But Apple Charlotte we despised. My parents were of the generation who had lived through the strict rationing of WW2 and as a result we had to eat everything on our plates. We would pick at it and spread it around the plate trying to make it appear as if we’d eaten more than we had, but it never worked. No matter how hard we tried there was no disguising the fact that we hadn’t eaten our apple charlotte.
We started to look around for hiding places. Mum would probably notice if we tried to bury it in the plant pot. We would be unable to get it out to the garden without being seen and challenged. We could sneak it up to our bedroom but we’d still have to find a way to get it out of the house.
The solution lay in the table itself. Made in the 1960’s when everything had to have multiple uses, the drop-leaf dining table had an ironing board underneath that was never used, Mum always used the ironing board that was concealed within the door of one of the kitchen cupboards. Every time we had the dreaded apple charlotte for pudding Penny and I would pull out the end of the ironing board and put the last teaspoon or so onto the recess intended for the iron and push it back into place. We were safe, we would never be discovered. And we never were!