Mixed Berry Charlotte
In his new book, Patisserie Made Simple, Edd Kimber takes classic desserts and pastries like the meringue based Concorde and this pretty Charlotte and breaks them down into easy-to-understand steps. If you have never made soft ladyfingers at home before, Edd holds your hand and it is quite fun and exciting to see how you can create a continuous band of ladyfingers that will cradle the pink raspberry mousse. Edd does call for gelatin sheets, which you might not be familiar with. They are easy to use; simply soak them until they soften and proceed. If you can find fresh red currants, as shown in the image, do include them. They add a beautiful addition to the various textures among the raspberries and strawberries along with a burst of tart flavor.
From Patisserie Made Simpleby Edd Kimber, published by Kyle Books, 2015. Photography by Laura Edwards.
This cake always brings to my mind the court of the Regency era, with its elaborate style and fashions. The dessert was an invention of the chef considered the grandfather of French pastry, Marie-Antoine Carême, who named it after Princess Charlotte, the daughter of his former employer, King George IV.
- 3 extra-large eggs, separated
- ½ cup/100g superfine sugar
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon/75g all-purpose flour
- 6 sheets gelatin
- 21/3 cups/350g raspberries
- ½ cup/125ml whole milk
- 6 extra-large egg yolks
- scant ⅔ cup/125g superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons crème de framboise
- 11/2 cups + 1 tablespoon/375ml whipping cream
- 14 ounces/400g assorted berries
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Draw an 8-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper, turn it over and put it onto a baking sheet. Draw two 13 x 31/4-inch wide rectangles on another sheet of parchment paper and turn it over on a second baking sheet.
- To make the ladyfingers, put the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl and beat until they form stiff peaks. Continue to beat while you slowly pour in the sugar until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl until pale and thickened, then scrape onto the meringue and fold together. In two additions, sift the flour over the meringue and gently fold together, keeping the mixture as light as possible.
- Transfer the ladyfinger mixture to a piping bag fitted with a ⅝-inch plain tip. Pipe a disc of mixture onto the parchment paper using the circle as your template. On the second baking sheet, pipe lines inside the rectangles, making sure the lines touch; you want two long strips of ladyfingers to wrap around the mousse. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.
- To make the bavarois, put the gelatin in a bowl and cover with ice-cold water. Let sit to soak. Put the raspberries in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Press the puree through a fine strainer to remove the seeds, and measure out 1 generous cup/250ml of raspberry puree. Pour into a medium pan and add the milk, then bring it to a boil over medium heat.
- Put the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl and beat until pale. Once the milk mixture has come to a boil, pour it over the yolks, beating constantly. Pour this mixture back into the pan, return it to the heat and cook until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (or it reaches 167–176F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour this custard into a clean bowl and add the creme de framboise. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and stir the gelatin into the custard until dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer it to the refrigerator until the mixture just begins to set.
- Put the ladyfinger disc onto a serving plate and put a 9 inch cake ring (or the ring from a springform tin) over it. Take the strips of ladyfingers and trim off the bottom edges so that they will make a flush fit. Put the strips around the edge of the ring, cut-side at the bottom, trimming off any excess so that they sit snugly around the inside of the ring.
- Pour the cream into a medium bowl and whip until it just starts to hold soft peaks. Pour into the custard and fold together using a spatula. Pour into the ring and transfer to the refrigerator to set completely. To serve, carefully remove the ring and top with the berries. This cake will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.