A delicious charlotte with strawberry mousse and sweet and crunchy ladyfingers.
I have heard of a charlotte before but still this is the first one I have ever made. I found the recipe in a quite old cook book I bought at the flea market for about 2 Euro and it was love at first sight. I loved the over large and kitschy 80’s style photograph and the quite short list of ingredients.
As you might have noticed during this strawberry series, I am really really into strawberries, I could eat them every day during the season, either fresh or in a cake, in form of a sauce, as jam or dessert. A classic way of eating strawberries is dipping them in either sugar (the way we used to do it in Romania when I was a child) or in whipped cream (the way we used to do it in Romania after the fall of the Communism when whipped cream became more available). This recipe includes all these classic ingredients: strawberries, cream and sugar and adds only the ladyfingers, which, in my opinion, can only add to the pleasure of eating this dessert.
A charlotte is an English dessert or trifle, originally made in order to use stale bread. Nowadays the charlotte is made with sponge or ladyfingers and it can be filled not only with strawberry mousse but with different fruit or berry purees mixed with whipped cream, custard or Bavarian cream. I think my next charlotte will include Bavarian cream as well, I wanted to keep it simple this time and only use whipped cream, which was perfect in this case, nothing fits strawberries better, but I just remembered a glorious Orange Bavarian Cream I made a few years ago… I just have to include that in a charlotte… soon… 🙂
- 8 leaves gelatine
- 750 g/ 26.5 oz strawberries
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 500 ml/ 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- about 100-150 g/ 3.5-5.3 oz ladyfingers, as needed
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water according to the packet's instructions (I soak mine for 8-10 minutes).
- Clean the strawberries. Chop about ⅓ of the strawberries and set them aside. Keep about 2 or 3 for decorating purposes, if you wish. Puree the rest of the strawberries together with the sugar.
- Squeeze the gelatin gently to remove excess water. Place the gelatin leaves in a saucepan and dissolve over very low heat. Do not overheat the gelatin and do not let it start to boil. Dissolving the gelatin will take a very short time, not even a minute, so stay close and keep stirring. Take the saucepan off the heat and start mixing in the strawberry puree a very little at a time. Start by adding one tablespoon puree, incorporate it well, than add another tablespoon and so on. After adding about ⅓ of the puree you can start adding more than just one tablespoon at a time, but keep stirring well and continuously. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until just starting to set (it might take less time than that, depending on your fridge, so check a few times before the 30 minutes are up, the mixture should not set too much).
- Whip 375 ml/ about 1⅔ cup of the heavy cream together with the vanilla sugar. Fill a little bit of it in a piping bag and pipe an edge on the bottom of a 18 cm/ 7 inch springform. Place the ladyfingers with the sugared side on the outside around the pan to form a tight ring around the springform base.
- Take the strawberry puree out of the fridge and fold in the chopped strawberries and the whipped cream. Fill the mousse into the prepared form and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until the strawberry mousse is set.
- Whip the remaining heavy cream and decorate the cake. Slice the leftover strawberries and use to decorate the charlotte as well.
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