uch a lovely name for an absolutely delicious dessert, isn’t it? Funny thing – you could easily be confused because ordering charlotte in England and France may result in getting two pretty different sweets!
What is Charlotte?
Charlotte, in modern patisserie, is a dessert made of lady fingers or joconde sponge cake, which is used for lining the charlotte mold, and Bavarian cream (bavarois), or some other mousse set with gelatin. The beauty of this creamy goody is that it has the best of both worlds – it tastes great and looks even better! Lady finger sponge can be rolled or layered with jam, cut and assembled in a mold decoratively, and charlotte itself is usually decorated with fresh fruits, chocolate piping or other chocolate decorations. A dessert made for showing off, I say!
However, the very first version of charlotte wasn’t nearly so fabulous. The 18th century English charlotte was made of buttered slices of leftover bread or cake, filled with apple compote flavored with cinnamon, and baked. Nothing glamorous about stale bread, right? Historians say that it was named after Queen Charlotte (1744–1818), wife of George III of the United Kingdom. Poor Queen, it seems that she wasn’t the most popular person at that time, don’t you think?
The modern version of charlotte was invented by omnipresent and famous French pastry chef Marie-Antoine Carême. A legend says that he realized that there is not enough gelatin for his , so he strengthened his collapsing cream with , and voilà, modern charlotte was born!
How to Make Charlotte?
You will need one cake ring, 16cm (app. 6 inches) in diameter. If you have larger mold, just double (or triple) the recipe. You will also need the piping bag with 10mm (3⁄8 of an inch) nozzle, acetate band, and a straight spatula.
- Make ladyfinger batter and pipe one disc for the bottom and one stripe for the sides of the charlotte.Bake them at 180°C (356°F) for 7-9 minutes. When the sponge is golden brown, take it out and leave it to cool.
- Adjust sponge stripe, so it is 2/3 height of the mold. Line the inside of the mold.
- Adjust the disc and put it on the bottom.
- Soak the disc with kirsch flavored syrup.
- To prepare , use milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla pod. Heat milk, vanilla and half the amount of sugar. Blanche egg yolks with the other half of sugar, whisk them until pale and thick. Temper the yolk mixture with hot milk, stir and put everything back to the stove. Cook until cream reaches 84°C (183°F). Run through a strain to get rid of any pieces of curdled egg yolks. While Anglaise is hot, add bloomed gelatin and stir well.
- Cool the mixture on an ice bath, stirring constantly. Whisk cream in a stand mixer until it reaches soft peaks. When mixture becomes colder and starts to set (ribbon stage), fold in cream whipped to soft peaks.
- Pour immediately into the mold. Leave it to cool in a freezer for few hours.
- While the charlotte is cooling down, start preparing the glaze. Sift the cocoa powder and mix it with sugar. Put the water in a saucepan. Mix in dry ingredients. When the mixture boils, add the glucose.
- Remove from from heat and add soaked gelatin.
- Run through a strain, cover with cling film and leave it to cool. Pour the glaze over the frozen bavarian cream. Leave it to set and remove the mold.
- Decorate before serving.
How to Flavor Your Charlotte?
- is a classic – simple and sophisticated.
- Chocolate charlotte, mmm…who doesn’t like chocolate?
- Make Strawberry charlotte, it has lovely color and tastes heavenly!
- Put some hazelnut paste into your Bavarian cream, you won’t regret it, I promise!
- Peanut butter lovers, mix in some peanut butter into your bavarois, along with jam rolls all around your mold, you will get PB&J charlotte!
- Make mousse using passion fruit puree, and you will get an exotic, refreshing dessert.
Well, what do you think about this post?
I read and really appreciate all the comments, even though I do not always have the time to respond to each one. So – keep me in the loop and try to create some sweetness every day because – Sweetness is happiness!!