Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Charlotte Russe with Strawberries

Servings: 8-10
What is a Charlotte?

Pronounced: [SHAR-luht]
This classic molded dessert begins with a mold or springform pan lined with sponge cake, ladyfingers or buttered bread. The traditional charlotte container is pail-shaped, but almost any mold or springform pan is acceptable. The lined mold is then filled with layers (or a mixture) of fruit and custard or whipped cream that has been fortified with gelatin. The dessert is chilled thoroughly and unmolded before serving. Charlotte Russe, said to have been created for the Russian Czar Alexander, is a ladyfinger shell filled with the ethereal bavarian cream, and decorated elaborately with whipped-cream rosettes. The classic apple charlotte is a buttered-bread shell filled with spiced, sautéed apples. Unlike other charlottes, this one is baked and served hot.

Source: The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

2 (1/4 ounce/7 grams) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup mashed fresh strawberries (about 1 pint whole strawberries)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 packages sponge-type ladyfingers (24 ladyfingers, split)

Sliced strawberries, for topping

1. In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, soften gelatin in cold water for 5-10 minutes. Place glass measuring cup in saucepan filled with 1-inch of water and heat until gelatin dissolves, stirring often. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, heat mashed strawberries with sugar until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and mix well. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Line a 8 or 9-inch springform pan, both bottom and sides, with ladyfingers (stand them up rounded side out, along sides of pan, and lay them on the bottom).

4. In a chilled mixer bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream a minute or so; then add the vanilla. Whip until stiff.

5. Gently fold whipped cream into the cooled strawberry mixture, just until blended.

6. Spoon mixture over ladyfingers in pan and level top with knife.

7. Chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

8. Just before serving, slice several strawberries for topping. Place sliced strawberries decoratively over center of charlotte. Slice into wedges and serve immediately. Store any leftover charlotte covered in refrigerator.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: February 9, 2002-Revised on August 30, 2006