Romina Rasmussen, a baking hero of mine, took some time out of her busy schedule of running Les Madeleines Bakery to teach me how to make this cool summery dessert. A Charlotte is a layered cold dessert, often called an ‘ice box cake’, with layers of sponge cake, fruit puree, and cream. I must say though that this Strawberry Charlotte is more like the elegant distant cousin of the ice box cake.
Romina’s Strawberry Charlotte contains layers of fresh made lady fingers, tart strawberry gelee, and creamy strawberry bavarian, all surrounded my standing lady fingers naturally containing the frozen treat inside. As we baked together, I learned and took notes of Rominas tips and tricks, which you can read more about on my local food blog theSLCfoodie.com. Here is a quick video of my time with Romina in the kitchen.
There are still plenty of hot summer days left to enjoy this refreshing fruity dessert!! Next time I’ll be trying it with a different fruit, possibly apricot or blackberry. Also, if you want to try it fresh from Romina’s bakery you can pick up an individual Charlotte at Les Madeleines, but for those of you not in Salt Lake, you must create this at home soon!
Strawberry Charlotte Recipe
- 3 cups strawberry puree 20 ounces of fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar & a squeeze of lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 sheets gelatin
- 1 cup heavy cream whipped
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup powdered sugar plus more for dusting
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
for Strawberry Bavarian
- Bloom (let dissolve) 3 sheets of gelatin in ice water. (you can find gelatin sheets at kitchen supply stores). Bring two cups of strawberry puree to a boil (bubbling in the center of the pot). Add the 1/2 cup sugar and bloomed gelatin to the puree and mix until dissolved. Cool over an ice bath until it is starting to hold its shape but still soft, stirring occasionally. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream over medium speed until soft peaks form, then fold into puree.
for Strawberry Gelee
- Bloom 2 sheets of gelatin in ice water, Bring 1 cup of strawberry puree to a boil. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and bloomed gelatin to puree and mix until both have dissolved. Cool slightly and pour into a 6 inch cake pan lined with plastic wrap. (Spray the pan with Pam so the plastic will stick). Let sit in refrigerator or can be frozen to store which makes it easier to remove.
for Lady Fingers
- Whisk 4 egg whites until frothy then add 1 cup of powdered sugar slowly to make a meringue. Whip to a medium peak, not too stiff or it will be dry. Add 4 egg yolks and 1/2 tsp vanilla, folding gently to not deflate the batter. Sift in 1 cup flour while egg mixture is still streaky and continue to fold gently until just combined. Right away, pipe the batter using a small #3 tip into two 6 inch round disks and the remaining batter into 3.5 inch lady fingers. Dust generously with powdered sugar and bake for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees. The lady fingers should be white (not golden brown) and also bounce back.
- Line a 6 inch cake pan or springform with plastic wrap leaving a generous overhang. Place one of the lady finger disks on the bottom, upside down. Using about half of the Bavarian, pour it over the cake. Place a second piece of the cake over the Bavarian. Top the cake with the gelee. Fill the rest of the pan with the remaining Bavarian. Freeze the cake (when it is frozen you can use the excess plastic to lift it out of the pan). Place the cake on a stand, set the lady fingers around the outside of the cake and hold in place by tying with a decorative ribbon. Decorate the top of the Strawberry Charlotte with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.