“Wine and Cheese” Charlotte

This recipe is my gluten-free, anti-candida take on a recipe that The Nurse gave to me quite some time ago, for a Wine and Cheese Charlotte  (a savory version of the classic dessert).  I’ve had the recipe since I was in my teens, but hadn’t thought about it for decades.

Like so many young girls, as a teen I looked up to my older sister, who (at the time) seemed so much more worldly than I, so much wiser and more talented in so many areas (and who had naturally thick, blond hair that hung down past her waist, perhaps the major source of my teenage envy). I still do consider her a role model today–just not in the same areas that seemed so important to me back then.

When The Nurse  was first married and began entertaining at her new home, I was barely out of high school.  And while baking was already entrenched in my repertoire, I hadn’t quite made the leap to savory cooking at that point.

This charlotte featured prominently at a family brunch she threw while still a newlywed. It took center stage on the table, which practically heaved with platters of salad (pasta, potato, greens), smoked fish, deviled eggs, stuffed cherry tomatoes and all manner of cookies and sweet bars, which were cut into perfectly identical rectangles or diamonds (my sister’s specialty).  At the time, the combination of soft buttered bread, soaked in a bath of eggs whipped with broth and wine, all tossed with grated Gruyère and baked until puffed and golden, was a revelation to my callow self.  I couldn’t stop scooping mounds of the light, airy dish, strings of gooey Swiss stretching between the casserole and spoon as it made its way to my waiting plate. I requested the recipe and subsequently made that charlotte for dozens of my own dinner parties and social gatherings over the years.

My allergy-friendly version is a tad heavier but just as tasty and moreish. You’ll enjoy a pillowy, creamy, cheesy soufflée-like dish, perfect for spooning onto your plate for special occasions–or just because. Let’s eat!

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© Ricki Heller

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  1. What a gorgeous dish, Ricki! Everyone needs a fancy and impressive one like this in their arsenal, and the fact that it’s so allergen-friendly is even better. 🙂

    • Thanks, Hallie! To me it says, “Party Food” since that’s when I ate the original version all the time. I was very happy with the way this one turned out! 🙂

  2. Yah – what Hallie said! This looks amazing and a perfect stand-in for all those eggy brunch dishes.

    • Deanna, it really does have the sense of “eggi-ness” without the eggs! And somehow it reminded me of that wine-infused one, even without the wine 😉

  3. I have never had this dish before, but it sounds amazing! I love the combination of flavors that you use to create “cheesiness”. Amy would love it.

    • Alta, I had never had it before, either–and never even knew what a charlotte was, let alone that you could do it “savory”! But it’s one of my favorite dishes now. 🙂

  4. What an impressive dish, Ricki! I admit, I had no idea what a Charlotte was. Now if only I was really there to taste it!

    • I think it’s a pretty old-fashioned term, Cara (I never see it anywhere–and never heard of it before my sister made it). But this savory version is really delish. I wish you could taste it in person, too!

  5. Hi Ricki,
    Your Savory Wine and Cheese Charlotte will be delightful for a shower and your presentation is lovely. I enjoyed your post, Amy always speaks so highly of you. This recipe is wonderful, it is going on my “to cook” list. It has been fun cooking with you for the shower!
    Miz Helen

  6. Wow!!! This looks amazing. So really wish we could be all together eating this great food!

  7. Ricki, you never cease to amaze me with what you can create. Love it! xoLexie

  8. Ricki, the dish is pure genius! No wine, no cheese. Just lots of vegan deliciousness! Thank you for making my virtual baby shower so special. I am so very lucky to have out-of-this-world friends! I can’t wait for you to meet our little guy in April.

    Much love,

    • Amy, it is our pure pleasure to put this on in your honor! And I can’t wait to meet him, either. He can’t help but be awesome if he’s your son! 😀 xo

  9. Ricki, this looks awesome. Only you can veganize a souffle! I pinned this to make at my next fancy brunch (okay, I never have fancy brunches, but this would be a good reason to host one).

    • Bianca, don’t wait for a fancy brunch!! The HH and I enjoyed this this past Sunday for a “regular” brunch. It’s really easy to make–just blitz everything in the blender, and then bake. Well worth it! 🙂

  10. Your adaptation of this recipe looks gorgeous Ricki! Perfect that it is alcohol-free too, so the mom-to-be can enjoy. Lovely.

  11. Umm…YES PLEASE! I have never even had a Charlotte before but as you were describing the first time you had it, I was totally tasting it on my own tongue and thinking that sounds like just about the most yummy thing ever. And now with this allergy-friendly version, I can see how this will make a perfect brunch dish!! And your description of your sister had me thinking she is VERY Martha Stewart-ish! 😀

    • Glad you got the sense of what it’s like–it is really a luxurious, yummy dish. And my sister Martha Stewart-ish? Well, maybe a slightly hippie, OCD Martha Stewart–lol! (At least, back in those days!). 🙂

  12. Ricki I am fascinated by this dish! Such a simple list of ingredients. I love it. Ringo likes the greenies too 🙂 Well, he list pretty much anything we throw his way! I can’t wait for us to at least meet Baby Boy Green! If only we could really throw them a party! xo

  13. The charlotte baked up so beautifully and sounds so easy to make.
    The shower would be a food paradise if all of you actually showed up with your offerings!

  14. I always marvel at how you make such sumptuous, elegant food look so very easy!

  15. Ricki! Just yesterday I found Bragg’s Raw Appel Cider Vinegar for the first time, and immediately thought of you 🙂 (And bought the biggest bottle available, of course 😉 )

    This recipe is incredibly fascinating, and I must admit that when you were describing the original (the likes of which I’ve never heard of nor tried, coming from a gluten- and dairy-free family) I expected the vegan version to be incredibly complex. But then, low and behold, it’s so doable! Sure, I’ll have to puree my own squash, but that sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me 🙂

    • Yay on both points–apple cider vinegar AND making a simple charlotte! 😀 I really do think the idea is out of fashion now, but just think of it as a cross between a souffle and a savory bread pudding, and you’ve got this recipe down!

  16. Congratulations, Amy! I love Amy’s wonderful sugar-free gluten-free dessert recipes. Love your blog, as well! Keep up the great work all!

  17. sounds heavy but delectable – I love savoury versions of desserts and this is special because it has some of my favourite things – pumpkin (squash), tahini, cashews – am sure Amy would love it

    Seems that baking runs in the family – I always wanted a proper older sister – my older sister left home after me (though I think she says it was at the same time) and was never much of a cook when I was younger though she had learnt a lot now – and long blonde hair sounds amazing too – though I am sure she is now proud of her little sister and gets lots of culinary inspiration from you

    • Thanks so much, Johanna. Well, yes, we all started baking pretty young! And I hadn’t thought about the pumpkin (squash) but yes, it does seem like the kind of recipe you’d like! 🙂 I had to smile at “proper older sister”–I think my own sister and I tend to alternate who is more of the “proper” older one! 😉

  18. I also meant to say – isn’t there a Little Green in one of Joni Mitchell’s songs

  19. You never cease to amaze me with your creative cuisine. Seriously, how do you come up with this stuff? Thank you so much for sharing this recipe at allergy-free wednesdays!


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