Monday, August 29, 2011

Charlotte aux Fruits Rouges

I don't know about you, but I feel that the Summer went by very fast. Too fast in a way...
We have been busy (which I always consider a good thing up to a certain extent): moving into a new unit, taking a break in France (more on that in other upcoming posts), more unpacking, more trips to IKEA and Lowes, hosting my younger brother and his family,... and life-as-usual in between. Well sort of life-as-usual if you want since Philadelphia was hit by the East Coast earthquake AND the Irene hurricane in the last 6 days only! It was stressful for us adults but it was really stressful for the children who did not really understand what was going only to quickly realized that something abnormal was going on! We are still talking about it... and I don't expect the questions to end anytime soon. Why should they when I am the first one to ask myself whether another earthquake is happening whenever I hear my windows crack at work??? And since I sit on one of those big exercising ball (75cm) at work (yes, I know it's quite really peculiar; people do ask me if I am working "my core" as I sit on that big ball?? Truth is that I might but it also forces me to move more, ie, avoiding spending 2 hours straight looking at my computer screens), if I have been bouncing a little as the windows crack, it takes me 1 second to accept that  no earthquake happening. Just the usual windows cracking, truck-bouming and ball bouncing... Pff!
Since there is nothing like life-as-usual in our kitchen either, here is a recipe that will be worth making if you want to change from your apple-pie pie/cheesecake/brownies recipes. It does require some planning (it needs to be made the night before) but always bring light into the eyes of the lucky ones who will eat some of it....and a "can I have some more?" This is one of my husband's recipes (not that he invented it but he is the one making that dessert)... and since in our life-as-usual, I am generally the one cooking, I LOVE it when for once, il met son tablier... and actually bakes (when is he going to do laundry???) . See nothing like life-as-usual in our family! For the better I have to say (but please no more earthquake/hurricane)! Bon Appetit!

-15 ladyfingers (in French, we use the Biscuits Rose de Reims). Since ladyfingers tend to be narrower, plan to have more.
- 250g (8.8 oz) strawberries ( I use frozen)
- 150g (5.3oz) blueberries (I use frozen)
- 150g (5.3oz) raspberries (I use frozen)
- 30 cl (10.1 flOz)cold heavy cream
- 150g (5.3oz) sugar
- 1 pack of plain jello
- 1 lemon
- Additional fresh berries to put on top of the Charlotte + confectionated sugar

  • Put a bowl and the mixing instruments into the freezer
  • Prepare the jello according to instructions
  • In a bowl, put all the fruits, 2 Tbs of lemon juice and blend.
  • Pour through a sift and discard all the seeds
  • Put the sugar in a pot together with a few drops of lemon juice and 2 Tbs water. Bring to a boil and cook it for a few minutes until it becomes a light syrup. Reserve.
  • Add the Jello to the syrup and stir well so as to avoid any lumps. 
  • Mix in the fruits puree and stir
  • Take the bowl out of the freezer. Pour the cream in the cold bowl  and beat it into Creme Chantilly.
  • Incorporate the Creme Chantilly into the fruits puree
  • Pour into a mold. Cover with a plate so as to press the liquid into the mold. Put in the freezer overnight.
  • When ready to serve, unmold the Charlotte (using a knife to go around). 
  • Arrange the ladyfingers around the cream
  • Use a ribbon to keep the Charlotte together and decorate with the fresh fruits and confectionated sugar.
  • Serve immediately.
My Personal Comments
  • Most recipes will tell you to arrange the ladyfingers INSIDE the mold before pouring the cream-fruit melange into it. This is the traditional recipe. However, my experience is that the cookies are then soaked and don't hold well when you unmold the Charlotte. It's therefore best to "stick" them to the cream afterwards.
  • Don't try to cut the overnight chilling time. This is critical.
  • If you know how to use agar-agar instead of jello, please do so.