Raspberry Charlotte





French or British?
Apparently the charlotte was invented in England as a tribute to the queen Charlotte, George III's wife by late 18th century. It was pretty much a ‘bread pudding” with fruits inside. Well… British pastry 

The delicate French touch was key to sublimate this dessert and make it international. That’s why the origins of Charlotte are controversial.

In the current version, instead bread, a ‘biscuit à la cuillère surrounds this dessert. Inside, instead of a cooked preparation, a fruits mousse will bring a soft texture and fresh taste. And a tone of raspberries (also works with other fruits) and some icing sugar to give a frosted look. Pistacchios and chocolate can also be used for decoration. Really good!

For me the main win was to learn how to make a really good, stable and easy to manipulate "biscuit à la cuillère”, that I love: I can eat an entire box with some tea, in 2 minutes  The equivalent of this biscuit in English speaking countries is the ladyfingers (in Brazil: biscoito champagne, even though biscuits à la cuillère are much softer). It was invented by Antonin Carême, considered the creator of the “haute gastronomy”, nothing less.


Ingredients:
(for a 20 cm cake)

Biscuit à la cuillère (Ladyfingers dough)
150 g of egg whites
5 g of dehydrated egg whites (optional)
110 g of sugar
85 g of egg yolks
50 g of flour
50 g of potato starch (it works with corn starch too).

Soak syrup
65 g of water
50 g of sugar
25 g of raspberry pulp

Raspberry mousse
Gelatin (the neutral one for pastries)
40 g of water
250 g of raspberry pulp
75 g of sugar
380 g of whipping cream

Assembly
400 g of Raspberry 
50 g of Icing sugar 
Some Pistachios (optional)

Instructions:

Start with the biscuit:

Get ready beforehand:
- Prepare a piping bag with a tip of 10 cm.
- take a baking paper 60 X 40 cm and draw 2 strips of 5 cm X 60 cm. Below them, draw 2 cercles of 20 cm each. Something like this:


Now let's make the biscuit
- Using the whisk blade of a mixer (high speed), bring the white egg whites, dehydrated egg whites, and sugar to a meringue texture. 
- Add the egg yolks and mix for some seconds (until the yolks are integrated to the whites) - don't mix too much at this stage as the meringue can falls flat because of the yolks
- Stop whisking and gently (using a spatule) incorporate  the sieved flour and starch to the eggs. 

Put this dough into the piping bag and make:
- on the 5 cm strips:
Make parallel rods (you can think of a finger actually) on the 2 strips. You'll get 2 ladyfingers strips
-on the 2 cercles:
Make snail shape cercles 
Bake it for about 12 minutes at 190° C/375°F. The biscuit have to stay soft


Delicately remove all the biscuits from the baking paper while they are warm and leave them cool down on the oven rack

Make the syrup:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. 
Add the raspberry pulp and mix until you get an even texture. Leave it in the fridge.

Time for the raspberry mousse:

Melt the gelatin with the water in the microwave. 
Bring the sugar and raspberry pulp to heat to 50°C/122°F. Add the gelatine, whisk it and leave it in the fridge until 20°C/68°F.
Mix the whipping cream until it gets a foamy texture (not too soft but way before the chantilly texture).
Put some of the cream (about 3 spoons) into the raspberry mix and gently whisk it.
Then, add the raspberry mix to the cream slowly and whisking it.

And finally the assembly:

- Take the 2 strips of biscuits and trim it (just one side). Check out the scheme:

- Put them inside of a cake circle making sure they are very tight (you will use about 1 full strip + 1/3 of the other (on the picture bellow, there's just one of the strips)



- Trim one of the circles, big enough match with the space inside of the cake (that means about 19 cm diameter). That will be the bottom of the charlotte. Soak it with the cold syrup (with a brush)

- Pour some mousse inside of this biscuit box. 

- Add the other biscuit circle (trimmed 19 cm diameter), soak it with syrup and cover with more mousse. Leave about 1 cm space from the border. Leave it in the fridge until it's completely cold and hard.

- Decorate it with raspberries and icing sugar (on the edges).



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Meet the author

Hi there! I'm Lucia Tahara, welcome to my blog!

I'm a Brazilian living in France since 2002 and working as a Business Developer at Google.

This blog is about my 5 months sabbatical to become a pastry cook at the 'Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie', one of the best French pastry schools in the world.

Recipes, tips, techniques, video tutorials, but also posts related to the sabbatical experience will populate this space little by little.

My favorite pastries

Saint honoré
Macaron (coming soon)
Fraisier (coming soon)


Tutorial videos

Crème pâtissière (pastry cream)
Millefeuille (assembly)
Pâte feuilletée (puff pastry)
Choux dough (coming soon)
Sweet pie dough (coming soon)
More to come...