Monday, July 13, 2009

Charlotte Russe - The Recipe

Charlotte Russe is the sister dessert of Charlotte Royal. This dessert had been invented by the French chef Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833), who named it in honour of his Russian employer Czar Alexander I (Russe is French for Russian). The Charlotte Russe can't deny its Russian heritage. It clearly resembles both an Ushanka and a Papakhi.

This recipe serves 10.

Jam/Jelly Roll

The dessert is covered in slices of jam rolls on the top and on the bottom.

4 eggs, yolk and white separated
120 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 tbs of warm water
zest of half a lemon
80 g flower
4 tbs of raspberry jam (jelly)

Cream egg yolk, sugar and the pinch of salt until the the mass is bright. Add the lemon zest. Put the whipped egg whites on top and sieve the flower onto it. Fold the flower and egg whites carefully under the mass. Put baking paper on a rectangular baking sheet and evenly spread the mass onto it (approx 1 cm thick). Bake it for 8-10 minutes at 220°C/428°F. Topple the biscuit onto a kitchen towel, remove the baking paper carefully and cover it with the baking sheet to let it cool down.

Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam onto the biscuits and roll them tightly to about 3 cm thick rolls. Cover them with baking paper and put for half an hour into the deep freezer.


The next stage of this dessert requires more the qualities of a mason than of a pastry cook. You have to arrange ladyfingers seamlessly in a 2.5 litre mould, which involves a lot of accurate rasping.

Now tightly put in the raspberry jam rolls for the top in the bottom of the mould.

Bavarian Cream

The heart of a Charlotte is made of Bavarian cream. This is basically a Crème Anglaise made of sugar, egg yolks and hot milk, which is flavoured with vanilla. In addition, it is thickened with gelatin, lightened with whipped cream, and flavoured with liqueur. Good bye waistline.

There is hardly any procedure, besides of deep-frying, which is not used to produce this. You have to boil, to whip, to bring close to a boil and in the end, you have to whip it in a deep silver dish which is surrounded with crushed ice, as Escoffier recommends.

385 g milk
1 vanilla pod
1 pinch of salt
80 g egg yolk
135 g sugar
12 g gelatine
385 g cream
25 g Maraschino

For the Charlotte Royal one is supposed to use cherry brandy (Kirsch), for the Charlotte Russe Maraschino (Marasca cherry cordial) is used. Of course, we have both on stock - the Kirsch though is home-distilled by my clan.

- let gelatine swell in cold water
- whip the cream and put it into the fridge
- Slice the vanilla pod with a knife and scratch out the content.

Bring milk, vanilla pod and the pinch of salt to a boil. Remove the vanilla pod. Cream egg yolk and sugar in a bowl. Add the milk while stirring. Pour the mixture back into the pan, keep stirring and bring close(!) to a boil. The poetic German term for this is heat to the rose. So if you see roses, it's hot enough.

Remove from the stove and pour mass into a bowl. Dissolve the squeezed gelatine in it and pass through a sieve into metal bowl. Put it into ice or iced water, keep stirring and let it cool down. As soon as it starts to thicken, fold in the whipped cream and the Kirsch.

Pour the cream into the mould and cover the bottom with the remaining slices of jam roll. Put into the fridge to solidify.

Raspberry Cream

Charlottes are best served on some raspberry cream. While the mass solidifies, we have time to prepare the cream. At least this is an easy step, but has to be done on time, because it tasted better when the cream is chilled.

325 g raspberries
165 g icing sugar
10 g lemon juice

Blend dead ripe raspberries, pass them through a tight sieve, add some lemon juice and icing sugar. Chill it gently.


When the mass has solidified comes the dangerous topsy-turvy part which should put the Charlotte into the perfect position onto the serving plate. Now trim it at your discretion (for inspiration see picture on top). Done. Enjoy!


Pilgrim said...

I suppose, some peepz will gain 3 lbs. by just reading the recipe!*lol* (though not me!) Propz Pilgrim (162lbs. before and after reading it)

Ms Mac said...

Beautiful! I might see if Patrick wants to try this one day with me. He can do the fiddly jobs while I supervise, sipping champagne.

Lars said...

Now I want to stay home from work today and play in the kitchen.