Charlotte aux fraises inspired


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)
Robot mixer
Baking paper

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.

Bonne degustation!
Miss Pirisi on behalf of SAVEURS magazine.

Les desserts par miss pirisi are finally here! Yipee….!!!

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Love Kanako’s illustrations. I discovered her work when I signed up to receive my monthly goodies, My Little Box from My Little Paris. God I wish I came up with that idea… a box full of little goodies every month for only 15 euros. Inside the box you get cosmetics, fashion, all that feel-good girly stuff, puts a smile right back on after having read the monthly Visa bill.

My Little Dolce Vita Box is the background for my very first “promo” cards. I say promo and not business because I don’t have a business officially. It’s just a card for when I meet people (who are tasting my experiments and trials) I’m not having to spell out my name, my facebook page, my wordrpess, my email, etc…

It gave me a warm fuzzy and very exciting feeling when I received the cards. It feels more official that this new found passion can actually blossom into something very real. It’s exciting! Yipeee!!!  Gosh, I hope I can make many people really happy 🙂


Claire’s Coco’oning Abricot


Piles of apricots stacked so high it’s hard not to acknowledge that we may just be in apricot season in France (as I write we’re in June 2014). For 3,45 euros a kilo I’m going to make something with apricots. It can’t be baked though, it’s too bloody hot now that we’re coming into summer in France.

Claire Heitzler’s recipe of Coco’oning Abricot is very much what I had in mind when I picked up my 3 kilos of apricots. I may have overestimated the recipe quantity without the recipe book in hand.

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In her book The Best of Claire Heiztler where we find this recipe she says in French: “The coconut is the only pure white ingredient that we work with in patisserie. This entremet* is soft like a pillow, hidden in the heart of this entremet are slightly acidic apricots that brings a perk and is balanced with coconut comfort”.


There are no photos of the interior in The Best of Claire Heiztler’s so I can only guess that it resembles this. There are adjustments I need to make if I’m to do this entremet again. Claire’s recipe is designed for 18cm (coconut cream) and 16cm (apricot confit & marmalade) ring sizes. My ring sizes are for les petits gateaux of 8cm (coconut cream). Since I don’t have 6cm rings, I had to use what I have and that is 7cm (apricot confit & marmalade). The problem with the 7cm is that it doesn’t allow for a thick enough wall (between an 8cm & 7cm ring) that is the white coconut cream and as a result the entremet collapses. The layers of apricot confit and apricot marmelade are perhaps a little too thick. The marmalade being on the bottom as it’s not held up by gelatin it collapses, so I would next time put the confit layer on the bottom and marmalade on top. Does that make sense?

I recommend the book, The best of Claire Heitzler because it’s very step by step and you’re also introduced to new ingredients, for example I’ve never used dextrose, agar-agar and acide ascorbique in patisserie before, that was a first.


This entremet is definitely a winner in terms of flavour and texture combinations. Apricots have to be very much in season otherwise the coconut flavour will over power.

*entremet: entre – met = in its time this cake was designed to be eaten between meals therefore it had to be light, to be light it is made up of mousse textures (meringue, chantilly, creme anglaise, creme patissiere, fruits).

The taste of Santorini


We’re coming up to the summer holidays in France and the French will soon part to their vacation homes…. Normandy, Bordeaux, Provence, Marseilles. Moi, noh... I don’t have vacation home (yet) so I feel free to change direction and this year I have a desire for the Greek islands. Whether I actually make it to Greece this summer is to be seen but for now I enjoy the fantasy.


The white architecture, the freshness & spark of lemons, skin-body goodness of Greek olive oil (a recent gift from a friend) and the warm breeze coming in from my balcony into the kitchen have me reminiscing of my visit to Mykonos and Santorini in 2005.  The freshness of it all is intoxicating yet so calming. I’m going to call this dessert, Santorini. DSC_1955

Santorini, she’s a dessert  with a biscuit base made up of Greek olive oil (a gift from a friend), French creme fraiche and organic lemons and oranges. The centre is a cremeux citron (like a curd but lighter and airy) and the white chocolate mousse outer layer that has been infused with the skins of citrus fruits over the last 24hrs. For the final touch white glacage and citron confit of lemons and oranges.

Mon cheri and I sit on our balcony, we love this weather in France but we still talk about perhaps a little trip to Greece this summer (and Marseille, Bordeaux and Provence)… one spoonful at a time.

Feel the warm breeze…..aahhhh….


Miss Pirisi

It’s a snowball effect.

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Snowballs, en francais, boules de neige.

I knew friends of mon cheri’s were coming from New York  (to Paris) and that they requested to taste my creations. As I naturally like to experiment and because I’m still a newby in patisserie I prefer not to redo stuff but to try something new. Sometimes I have an idea because I’m inspired from somewhere else and then as I work the dessert evolves itself, sometimes from mistakes which forces me to think of alternatives.

My inspiration this time came from a Cafe Pouchkine dessert. I’d seen the recipe in the French magazine, FOU patisserie, however as I read the ingredients and methods I found them a little strange. I’m not sure if I trust magazines to give the correct recipes of well known patissiers, or patissiers to offer up their secrets. For example, the white glacage recipe looks alright from the Pouchkine recipe in FOU patisserie but then I see in the same recipe the coconut daquoise has measurements a little extreme (9 eggs!) which forces me to look elsewhere for another coconut dacquoise recipe that seems more reasonable – I can’t risk wasting ingredients on mistakes. Then as I work I tend to go off course from certain recipes. For example I added rose essence to the raspberries (not in the Pouchkine recipe) which is a perfect combination normally but then when I tasted it with the coconut cream I became doubtful. However, our guests from New York and the hotel staff of DUO hotel in Le Marais (where the guests were staying) liked the hint of rose. I agreed with one comment of a DUO staff member, the snowball needed not rose but perhaps something else that would lift the dessert, a sort of pinch. Rose is a medium note and so is coconut so for next time what I should be looking for is something in the notes of lime, ginger, rhubarb, mango, basil, etc to give that pick-me up. It’s all part of the training. This is what I love about patisserie, it’s like perfumery (I’m learning).


The hotel staff at DUO are of course French and the French don’t need to be patissiers to understand about saveurs and perfume notes, they are aware of scents and saveurs from a young age it’s a cultural thing and I welcomed their feedback. Our friends from New York also have a very sharp palette, they like the finer things and so I was very lucky to have them tasting my creations, it was really engaging and a lot of fun to share.

The base I use is simply biscuits crushed mixed in with baked coconut. I like very much the biscuit that’s a french favourite, it’s called Speculos. It’s a caramel cinnamon flavoured biscuit it can be over-powering in certain desserts so the answer to this is to mix Speculos with a standard  tea bicuit. I finished the dessert off with a white glacage made up of white chocolate couverture, sweetened milk concentrate and glucose. But I wasn’t convinced, the white dome seemed void of personaiity which made me think to add shavings of coconut over the glacage and for that final touch toothpick a raspberry.

For more photos of this dessert I invite you to check out my facebook page, Miss Pirisi – Patissiere. And if you “Like” the page then that will make me even happier! 🙂


In case you’re interested:

L’Hotel DUO
11 rue du Temple
75004 Paris
Tel: +33 1 42 72 72 22

When life gives you lemons put a cherry on top.


This dessert is inspired from me simply having too many cherries (if they go off I’ll be sorry) and one beautiful bottle of citrus liqueur, Limoncello.

Tarte au Citron or tarte au biscuit… Normally we see a tarte au citron in its classic form with an actual sweet dough (pate sucre) tart base but this seems to be the fashion now with patissiers that is to replace fiddly dough bases and millefeuilles for these almost cheesecake like biscuit bases. Hey i’m all for it, less work for me.

Why Limoncello? The other day I find the neighbour’s keys still in her front door. Turns out she’s in Italy. When she returned she gave me a beautiful Italian liqueur, the Limoncello as a thank you for guarding her keys . I couldn’t be happier. It’s a shame to waste such a beautiful liqueur on recipes but I just had to try a little bit. The rest of the bottle stays chilled in the fridge perfect for a Sunday afternoon digestive just before siesta.

The many lemons that I seem to accumulate, why I don’t know, are perfect for a typical french recipe, crème au citron. Cream of lemons, in english, flavoured with Italian liqueur of Limoncello is what I came up with. Once the crème au citron is well chilled in the fridge (overnight I prefer) then it’s possible to pipe in a well rounded teardrop. The biscuit base is reinvented from French biscuit favourites (speculos & petit beurre) which are crushed and thrown together with shavings of roasted coconut and melted butter. Press it. Cool it.
And like all good things in life add the cherry on top.


At 4,95 a kilo for cherries and market days 3 times a week…. geez… what am I going to do with all these cherries??? cherry mousse… cherry shake… cherry cream…


Miss Pirisi

Picardie cherry cheesecake

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Picardie cherry cheesecake is a baked cheesecake with a cherry surprise interior.

Why do I call it Picardie? The cherries were hand picked by me and mon cheri’s family at their family home in the region of Picardie, North of Paris. Two ladders, 3 baskets, four Frenchies and an Aussie went to work for their dessert after Sunday lunch. La mere de mon cheri, Annie, turned her cherries into Clafouti, a traditional french dessert (flan with cherries) and my cherries found home inside of a New York cheesecake. Kind of a good moment to do this kind of dessert as we commemorate, 6th of June, 70 years of the allies arriving on the Normandy beaches to liberate France. Those allies, English, Australian, New Zealander, American and Canadian were welcomed by the French with a lot of cheers and gifts of Calvados, cheese and a whole lot of other French produce. So this dessert is something a little bit American-Anglais and French for this special day.


The cheesecake itself is made up of Philadelphia cream cheese (introduced in France only in year 2011), Montaigue cream (cream liquid 35% fat content), teeny part flour, egg yolks, eggs, castor sugar and a lot of lemon zest and is baked for around 1hr.

I’ve applied a white glacage made up of Montaigu creme (cream liquid 35% fat content), Cacao Barry couverture white chocolate, sirop 30B, castor sugar and white food colouring.

However, I’m feeling so so about the glacage, not the glacage itself but how it looks on a baked cheeesecake, this is because the texture of a baked cheesecake does not have a smooth straight exterior like say an entremet does, an entremet is made up of mousse and when it’s frozen it has a perfect outer finish. So I’m not sure whether glacage should be put on a cheesecake or not. Or perhaps it’s my cheesecakes that are not perfect. The only way to know is to try a different mould. DSC_3289

The chantilly (cream whipped to a mousse texture) is made up of Montaigu cream (35% fat content) with a little added castor sugar. In France, it’s not common to add icing sugar to creams perhaps it’s too sweet for the French palatte. This is afteral a nation of dark chocolate eaters.

The biscuit is made up of almond powder, butter, sugar, flour, rum and poudre chimique. It’s however too brittle, just picking it up it breaks. I’m not sure what makes it so brittle…. or is it supposed to be like that?

Montaigu cream is a cream made for the professional industry only, it comes in a 1 litre pack (block) and can only be bought if you’re a professional in France. The size of creams sold in supermarkets to the public come as large as 330ml and are only 30% fat content (not sufficient for firm piping cream). Buying 330ml at almost 3 euros is an expensive exercise for me and as I don’t have a business (tax number,etc) I can’t buy from professional outlets. So I negotiated with my Fromager at my local markets. I asked him to pick up a few cartons of professional cream when he makes his cheese purchases from the wholesalers at Rungis markets (where professionals by their goods to resel at retail). I mention the brand name simply because I’ve learnt each brand of cream reacts differently.


Miss Pirisi

6th of June