Charlotte – a Queen Among Desserts

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S

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?

Apple Charlotte, Pastry Maestra

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 Bavarian cream, so he strengthened his collapsing cream with lady fingers, 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 (38 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.
  • Charlotte, Lady Fingers sponge cake, Pastry Maestra

  • Adjust sponge stripe, so it is 2/3 height of the mold. Line the inside of the mold.
  • Charlotte, lining the mold, Pastry Maestra

  • Adjust the disc and put it on the bottom.
  • Charlotte, putting the disc on the bottom, Pastry Maestra

  • Soak the disc with kirsch flavored syrup.
  • Charlotte, soaking the bottom, Pastry Maestra

  • To prepare Crème Anglaise, 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.
  • Bavarian cream, adding gelatin, Pastry Maestra

  • 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.
  • Charlotte, folding whipped cream, Pastry Maestra

  • Pour immediately into the mold. Leave it to cool in a freezer for few hours.
  • Charlotte, pouring bavarois, Pastry Maestra

  • 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.
  • Charlotte, making glaze, Pastry Maestra

  • Remove from from heat and add soaked gelatin.
  • Charlotte, putting gelatin into the glaze, Pastry Maestra

  • 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.
  • Charlotte, pouring the glaze, Pastry Maestra

  • Decorate before serving.

How to Flavor Your Charlotte?

  • Vanilla bavarois 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.
Charlotte, Pastry Maestra

Charlotte Recipe

by:Tereza Alabanda,The Pastry Maestra

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ISPIŠI PDF (HR)

Prep. time : 60 minutes

Cook time : 25 minutes

Ready in 90 minutes plus cooling

Level : Advanced

Lady Finger Sponge

  • Egg whites 200g (7oz)
  • Egg yolks 90g (3.2oz)
  • Sugar 120g (4.2oz)
  • All purpose flour 150g (5.3oz)

Syrup

  • Water 85g (3oz)
  • Sugar 85g (3oz)
  • Kirsch 50g (1.8oz)

Bavarian Cream

  • Milk 200g (7oz)
  • Egg yolks 60g (2.1oz)
  • Sugar 100g (3.5oz)
  • Vanilla powder
  • Gelatin 4g (1Tsp)
  • Whipping cream 250g (8.8oz)

Chocolate Glaze

  • Water 80g (2.8oz)
  • Sugar 120g (4.2oz)
  • Cocoa powder 10g (2.5Tsp)
  • Glucose 20g (0.7oz)
  • Gelatin 6g (1.5Tsp)

Directions

  1. Prepare one round cake ring mold 16cm (6″) in diameter, and 5cm (2″) high.
  2. Make ladyfinger batter: whisk egg whites to soft peaks, and gradually add sugar. Continue whisking until firm peaks form. Add egg yolks, and fold in sifted flour. Pipe one disc for the bottom of the charlotte, and one stripe for the sides of the charlotte. Bake them at 180°C (350°F) for about 10 minutes.
  3. When the sponge is golden brown, take it out from the oven and leave it to cool.
  4. Adjust sponge stripe, so it is 2/3 height of the mold. Line the inside of the mold with acetate strip, and then with lady finger sponge strip.
  5. Adjust the disc and insert it on the bottom.
  6. Make simple syrup from water and sugar. Heat the mixture of water and sugar until the sugar crystals dissolve. When the syrup cools down, add kirsch.
  7. Soak the disc with kirsch flavored syrup.
  8. Soak gelatin in cold water. As soon as your gelatin softens, take it out and squeeze to get rid of the excess water.
  9. To prepare Crème Anglaise, put milk, vanilla powder and half of the sugar into a saucepan and heat it up. Blanche the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar – whisk them until pale and thick.
  10. Temper the yolk mixture with hot milk, return to the saucepan, and put everything back on the stove. Insert the probe of a digital candy thermometer into the mixture, and cook stirring constantly until cream reaches 84°C (183°F). Run it through a strain to get rid of any pieces of curdled egg yolks.
  11. While Anglaise is hot, add bloomed gelatin and stir well.
  12. Cool the mixture on an ice bath, stirring constantly. Whisk cream in a stand mixer until it reaches soft peaks.
  13. When mixture becomes colder and starts to set, fold in cream whipped to soft peaks. You have just made Bavarian cream.
  14. Pour the Bavarian cream immediately into the mold leaving a couple of millimeters from the edge of the mold for the glaze. Leave it to cool in the freezer for few hours.
  15. While the charlotte is cooling down, make the glaze. Soak gelatin in cold water. As soon as your gelatin softens, take it out and squeeze to get rid of the excess water.
  16. Put water, sifted cocoa powder and sugar into a saucepan and heat it up.
  17. When the mixture boils, add the glucose. Remove the pan from heat and add soaked and drained gelatin.
  18. Run the mixture through a strain, cover it with cling film and leave it to cool down.
  19. Pour the lukewarm glaze over the frozen Bavarian cream. Leave it to set and remove charlotte from the mold. Decorate charlotte with melted white chocolate before serving.

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