Charlotte Russe is a French chilled dessert made with ladyfingers, filled with a fruit flavored cream filling which has been set using gelatin. My version cuts the fat by substituting half the whipping cream with yoghurt. You can use sugar substitute to cut the sugar as well.
Course Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine As Seen on Downton, Edwardian, English
Prep Time 40minutes
Cook Time 20minutes
Total Time 4hours
10largeLadyfingersbuy or use my recipe allowing you taylor the size
2cupsstrawberry purée(4 cups mashed strawberries)
3/4cupsugar(or sugar substitute)
1½cupswhipping cream whipped into soft peaks
1½cupsnonfat plain yoghurt
Mix the gelatin powder with two tablespoons of sugar.
Warm one cup of the strawberry purée with the remaining sugar. Mix the gelatin powder/sugar mixture into the warm strawberry purée. Mix the gelatin well to prevent any lumps from forming. Add in the remaining strawberry purée.
Let the mixture cool down to room temperature. Fold in one-third of the whipped cream and then the remaining whipped cream and yoghurt.
To add an extra bit of decadence you can lightly dip the rounded side of each ladyfinger in brandy and then coat with sugar. It will help soften the cookies.
If you don’t have a charlotte molds, improvise with empty soup or sauce cans with both ends removed. I halved the ladyfingers widthwise, but you can also half them length wise with a little patience to make smaller, more delicate charlottes. For Valentine's Day I have heart-shaped springform pans at the ready. (see notes below).
Stand the ladyfingers on end with the rounded side out, and carefully line the inside of the mold/can ensuring no gaps. Make a base for the charlotte by breaking a few cookies and placing then on the bottom.
Gently pour or spoon the filling into the mold. You could add some chopped fresh fruit in the centre and fill to the top of the ladyfingers. Refrigerate the charlotte for at least 3 or 4 hours.
The mousse will have firmed up quite nicely, move the charlotte to your serving plate, and then gently remove the can or mold. For a larger charlotte the addition of a lovely ribbon tied in a bow is the crowning touch which helps keep the pudding together before serving.
Garnish with fresh berries, a fruit coulis, (or thawed frozen berries with juice) and a dollop of your favorite dairy product. Keep it healthy and try non fat greek yoghurt sweetened with a touch of honey.
Credit for the Charlotte Russe is given to French Chef Marie Antoine Careme (1784-1833), who named it in honor of his Russian employer, Czar Alexander I. The word "russe" means Russian in French. Charlotte is the Czar's sister in law, Queen Charlotte, married to George III. Typically you name your Charlotte after the flavoring you include.Recipe for Ladyfingers