In the animal realm, Cuckoos suffer from a dreadful reputation : they’re known to take over others’ nests and find them comfortable enough to settle there. In a nutshell they take credit for others’ work. I am a bit of Cuckoo here as I’m posting my mum’s work. Nonetheless, I did play a major part in this Charlotte’s coming to life : I did say I would love to eat one 🙂
Ingredients – serve 7 to 8 people
- Mix of ladyfinger biscuits and pink biscuits of Reims (see picture above) : 14 of each. Biscuits de Reims are from France in the Champagne area. You can also dip them in red wine for dessert.
- 200g strawberries and or raspberries
- Crème patissière (vanilla custard) : you might have leftover to eat with fresh fruits
- 1/2L milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 3 egg yolks
- 100g sugar
- 40g cornstarch
- Optional fruit coulis : 500g strawberries + 150g sugar blended together
- Syrup : strawberry or raspberry syrup. Depending on what’s available at home I sometimes use liquor watered down, or grenadine
A special Charlotte mould is best for this recipe. I like the ones with a lid so you can really shape the cake and let it rest in the fridge. If you don’t have one a deep fluted baking tin will do.
Recipe – family freestyle
1.Prepare the vanilla custard
Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla pod sliced in the middle to release maximum aroma. Set aside to infuse.
In a bowl beat the egg yolks, and mix the sugar in until the mixture whitens. Pour in the cornstarch.
Pour the milk on the egg mix, while whisking gently then put back in the pan on medium heat. Keep whisking gently until it thickens. Be careful it can be a tricky one so keep your eyes on the ball.
For this recipe the custard should not be too thick: you can choose to add 2 of the 3 egg white beaten for a fluffier result.
2. Assemble the charlotte
Prepare the fruits : clean them and slice them in 2 if the strawberries are very big.
Line the mold with biscuits, very briefly dipped in the fruit syrup. Make sure the lining is tight, some biscuits might overlap slighlty, that’s better than leaving space between them.
Then, fill in the mold, alternating a layer of custard and a layer of fresh fruits. If the mold is not completely filled once you’ve run out of custard and fruits, you can add a layer of biscuits. If your mold has a lid, close it. Some of the mix might spill over, that’s fine. Let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours, before removing from the mold preferrably in a hollow mold.
You can use the fruit coulis to make a nice decors; and serve on the side.