Monday, October 25, 2010

Charlotte Russe

What is a Charlotte Russe? And I'm not talking about the Forever21-ish tween clothing store. I've always thought Charlottes were those desserts where ladyfingers were crammed into a Charlotte mold with other stuff crammed in there too, later to be inverted onto a plate. Well I guess they are too, but molded Charlottes bear no resemblance to those I made in school. Apparently, the entremets we made in school are Charlotte Russes.

According to Wikipedia, a"Charlotte russe is a dessert invented by the French chef Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833), who named it in honor of his Russian employer Czar Alexander I (russe being the French word for "Russian"). It is a cold dessert of Bavarian cream set in a mold lined with ladyfingers". I swear, sometimes I wonder, what DIDN'T Carême do?!

So to make the Charlotte, I first had to make the ladyfingers. Yes, I understand its quite easy to buy them at the supermarket or bakery, but if I'm going to claim to be a pâtissière, I might as well make them. I piped out a strip to go around the entremet, two bases, and smaller bases for mini-charlottes; everything is cuter when its smaller!

Next up, assembly. I lined my mold with the lady fingers, added the bases, soaked them with a good amount of syrup (no one likes a dry cake!), and added a layer of chopped strawberries and Bavarian cream. I can eat this cream by the bowlful, in fact I think I have.

After, the entremet was topped off with sliced strawberries and glaze.

I repeated the same procedure, minus the lining of ladyfingers, for the mini-charlottes. I think it was a hit, since there wasn't any left for me to try!

And now for a picture that some of you might be waiting for... my craptastic photo in CM's new book. Doesn't it look like we're all having tons of fun at Plaza Athénée? HA. Well at least he looks good.


Joan P. said...

What do you use for the glaze?

D said...

Well traditionally its nappage abricot... but in the US I just take apricot jam and dilute it a bit with water over the stove!

mm said...


Anonymous said...

looks absolutely delicious. i'm craving fresh strawberries now.

Dee said...

Very professional-looking!