Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Charlotte Russe

My Mum’s birthday falls on the 8th August, right in the middle of our holiday in France and Spain. Whilst this meant she was lucky enough to enjoy sunshine and swimming pools on her birthday – there was no homemade cake! Now in family with bakers and cooks, there should ALWAYS be a homemade birthday cake. So once we were home, out came the recipes!
barcelona2 061 Before we had left, my Mum had noticed a gorgeous looking Charlotte Russe in the window of the patisserie Paul. Paul is a very fancy French bakery which has now spread its chains all over London as well as smaller branches at motorway service stations! Whilst the standard of baking there is very high, this sure pushes up the prices! The rather small (if beautiful) charlotte russe my Mum saw was practically £20! So, a homemade one it was definitely to be.barcelona2 057
A Charlotte Russe is essentially when you line a tin or bowl with sponge fingers, and pour in a “bavarois”. The bavarois in the recipe I followed was a custard thickened with gelatine, with whipped cream and raspberry puree stirred in – then refrigerated in the tin. We (my Mum & I) topped our russe with whole raspberries which we set with a raspberry glaze, but we thought that the raspberries looked prettier without. The exact origins of the charlotte russe is, as with many desserts, not 100% exact. It is either thought to be named after the British Queen Charlotte (1744-1818, wife of George III) or to have been invented by the French chef Marie Antoine Careme (1784-1833), who named it in honour of his Russian employer, as russe is Russian in French.barcelona2 067
You can find the recipe I followed here except I made a few alterations…..
Instead of four miniature desserts, I used one large tin. I found I needed 4 gelatine leaves to make the custard set properly, and I also used two packets of frozen raspberries for the mousse and bought extra fresh raspberries for the top. Although I just used shop-bought this time, the recipe also includes how to make your own sponge fingers, which would improve the dessert even more!
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The charlotte russe involves quite a few steps, so I split it over two days – which is easy seeing how the bavarois needs at least 4 hours or overnight to set up well. I’m pleased with how the final product turned out and it looked so pretty waiting to be devoured! The rich raspberry mousse was delightfully offset with the crunchy sponge fingers, and the whole glazed raspberries added another dimension of sharp juicy goodness :) Whilst I wouldn’t rush to make this dessert again– it was a really good one to make as it was my first time using gelatine and a right show stopper!

15 comments:

Elra said...

Hey, good to see you here Lucy. You look s cute!!! Anyway, happy birthday to your mum! You are such a wonderful daughter, I bet our mum was so delighted with your delicious creation! Looks beautiful too!

Palidor said...

That is a fabulous cake. Happy birthday to your mom! I bet she loved it.

George@CulinaryTravels said...

And here's you saying you don't do fancy desserts! That looks pretty fancy to me Lucy and absolutely gorgeous to boot, well done you!

Ash said...

oh Lucy, what a beauty of a cake! So fancy, so pretty!
haha, your mom and my mom share the same birthday! Happy Birthday to them both! :) She too of course had a homemade cake, I was not having it any other way!
great job!
Ash :)

apparentlyjessy said...

Ah Lucy, you make me smile! Your cooking skills are fantastic, and the charlotte russe looks delicious! I bet your Mum was very proud and pleased.
Love the 'action' shot of you finishing the cake (Your dress is so sweet)

Susan @ SGCC said...

Brava, Lucy! That Charlotte Russe looks so lovely! Your mother must have loved it! I wish you lived near me so that you could teach my 15 year old daughter to bake. I've had no luck with her! ;)

Steph said...

Lucy, that looks so sophisticated! The mousse sounds really yummy.

Lynnylu said...

What a lovely cake you made for your mother! I, too, like the photo of you adding a finishing touch to the Charlotte Russe

Cecille Ericta said...

Lucy, I am soo impressed with all your work! Jealous you went to Barcelona, haha! I'll check on your blog again next time!

Shelly said...

Looks absolutely delicous!

the twins said...

that is so pretty and it looks so tasty! i ate paul stuff all the time when i was in paris with my family, but we don't have them here in the states. probably a good thing cuz i would be fat and have no money =)

Kathy said...

Lucy, You have a great dream of cooking. Your pictures are wonderful and your cake is a great idea. Keep it up girl!!

Marie said...

I am late getting to this Lucy, but that looks fabulous! You did a very lovely job on it. I'm sure your mom loved it, and a Happy Belated Birthday to your mom!!

Kristen said...

How beautiful! Your mum is lucky to have such a fantastic baker for a daughter!

Eileen @ Passions to Pastry said...

I love your blog and what a beautiful dessert! I have a Charlotte mold that I have rarely used, but I plan to make your Charlotte Russe. It's beautiful. I have also admired pastries at PAUL ;Q