Charlotte aux fraises is a traditional French strawberry mousse cake made only during the season of strawberries in France. It’s normally made in a mold (cake tin) with the biscuits placed first and then the strawberry mixture poured in to set. The mold (cake tin) is then turned upside down to slide out the mousse cake and you have what is shown below in the magazine photo. It’s not really something you see sold in patisseries in France, it’s more a family tradition therefore it always has that home-made look which I think is very charming.
Above and below photos: Charlotte aux Fraises for Jessica par Miss Pirisi de Sydney.
The above photo is a Charlotte aux Fraises refined from that home-made look, I did this for a birthday. I made it as an entremet (mousse cake) meaning I created the layers of the cake in an entremet ring, once the cake froze (remove the ring) I then poured over the pink glacage. I set the glacage in the fridge for some time and then I stuck the finger biscuits.
The miniture charlotte aux fraises as you see above and below were made in molds traditionally used for the Bordelaise pastry cake, canelé. The circular donut looking charlotte aux fraises were done simply in the individual petit gateaux molds. I guess that’s where one makes their signature look, taking a recipe and giving it a new shape then a little signature touch from you here and there and voila you have a new dessert! C’est comme ca in patisserie, particularly with plated desserts.
If you would like the recipe it’s below, the origin is from the French magazine SAVEURS and I’ve translated it for you to English.
Charlotte fraise-amande (strawberry-almond)
SAVEURS magazine, French ediition
Preparation: 40 minutes
Time in fridge to set: 6 hours
For 4-6 people
450 grams of strawberries
20 finger biscuits (normally used for tiramisu)
300ml of liquid cream (equal to 300 grams and it’s best to use 35% full fat cream)
200 grams of almond paste (is that marzipan to you? It comes in a block)
50 grams of icing sugar
4 sheets of gelatin (or 8 grams)
1 charlotte mold of 18 cm in diameter (a charlotte cake tin is kind of a kougloff tin I guess)
Cover the bottom of your charlotte cake tin with baking paper.
Put the sheets of gelatin to soak in a bowl of cold water (must be cold otherwise your gelatin will melt if your water is warm. I put ice-cubes into the bowl just to be sure.)
Wash and cut strawberries. Reserve 3 for the decor (refer to magazine photo). Cut 150g of strawberries into small cubes, keep cold.
Cut the rest of the strawberries in half, then put them into the robot mixer with the broken up pieces of almond paste (or marzipan). Turn the robot mixer on for about 2 to 3 minutes, what you want is a smooth paste.
Whip the cream until firm but not too firm because you want to fold in the icing sugar.
Drain the gelatine with your fingers, then melt over very low heat. Mix the gelatin into the coulis (stawberry/almond mixture) then fold in the chantilly (whipped cream).
Put 15 or so biscuits inside the charlotte cake tin mold. Then pour in only half the strawberry/almond/whipped cream mixture. Place the strawberries you cut in cubes followed by 2 fingers sponge biscuits (refer to magazine photo). Then pour the rest of the mixture and finish by placing 3 finger sponge biscuits (this will be the base of your cake, remember you turn this think upside down when it’s finished).
Tap the cake tin mould onto the surface of you bench to even out your cake preparation (and remove airbubbles).
Put the charlotte aux fraise into the fridge for 6 hours.
At the moment of serving, heat lightly and not long just to release the charlotte from it’s mould.
Decorate with strawberries.
The advice given, they say you can serve the charlotte with strawberry coulis and sprinkle some almond powder on top.
Miss Pirisi on behalf of SAVEURS magazine.