Monday, May 11, 2009

Raspberry Charlotte

This is one of my very favorite dessert! All Charlottes are! When asked what I wanted to eat for Mother's Day, my answer for dessert was a Raspberry Charlotte! And since the children had no idea how to go about it, I helped Emilie make it!

It is light and fresh and a wonderful summer treat!

Raspberry Charlotte

40 Lady Finger, dry (not the soft kind)
2 10-oz bags of frozen raspberries, thawed
12 oz fresh raspberries
2 tsp gelatin
16 fl oz whipping cream, very cold
4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp Vodka or Raspberry liquor

In a food processor, puree the thawed raspberries. Pass through to a sieve to remove the seeds. Keep the seeds part to make a syrup.
Bring the pureed berries and 2 tsp of sugar to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer about 2 tablespoons in a small bowl, add the gelatin and mix well. Transfer back to the pureed berries and and let cool.

Syrup: transfer the seed mixture that remained in the sieve into a small saucepan, add 2 tsp of sugar, the water and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Pass through the sieve again discarding the seeds. Return liquid to the saucepan and boil a few minutes longer,to reduce slightly. Add the liquor and let stand.

Mousse:In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add 2 tsp of sugar and keep beating until firm peaks form (not too stiff though!).
Add the berry mixture to the cream and fold together. Add half the fresh raspberries in and mix delicately. Set aside.

Line the Charlotte dish with parchment paper, bottom and sides (about 1 inch above the side).
Dip the Lady Fingers, one at a time, into the syrup and lay them at the bottom and sides of the Charlotte bowl.
Pour some of the raspberry mousse in the dish, half way up. Add another layer of dipped Lady Finger and finish with the mousse. Gently tap the bottom of the dish on the counter to set the mousse and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Unmold and serve with the other half of the raspberries on top, and a fruit coulis (optional).

Friday, May 8, 2009


That it...I don't care if it still feels like winter, the strawberries are in the stores and they feel like Spring! I know...they are not from here and have traveled a long way to the Cape. They still smell great and taste like strawberries! Not quite the French Garigette, but still worth it!

There are a few things you can do with strawberries.
A busy week night and a few strawberries, some Creme Fraiche and a little sugar make a great dessert.
Pair it with rhubarb, a bit of brown sugar and some vanilla extract (cook for about 20 minutes) and you have a preserve to use on plain yogurt or toast!

And for a special occasion, or simply an irresistible urge (i had one last week!!), the strawberry dresses a pie! Sugar crust, vanilla cream ans fresh strawberries are the perfect ending to any meal.

Strawberry Pie

8 Tbsp butter (150 gr), soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup flour

5 egg yolks
25 cl milk
50 gr sugar
30 gr cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and beat until just coming together, but still crumbly.

Transfer to buttered pie dish and press down the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

Bring the milk to a boil.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until light and fluffy.
Pour the hot milk on the egg mixture and return the whole preparation into the milk saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. At the first boil, remove from the heat and let cool. The mixture should have thicken.

Clean the strawberries under running cold water and let dry. Slice the strawberries in half, and reserve for the pie.

Put about 1/2 cup of strawberries in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup water an a little sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced. Pass through a sieve to remove the seeds and liquid should have the consistency of a syrup. If it is too thin, return to the heat and cook a while longer. Add a little liquor (optional) and reserve.

Pour the cream on the pie crust and arrange the strawberries on top. With a brush, coat the strawberries with the syrup and the pie is ready to serve!!