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Before starting this Mini Charlotte with Red Berries, organised all the necessary ingredients for the sponge fingers. Place the egg whites in the stand mixer bowl and beat at low speed until foamy.
When the egg whites become foamy, gradually add the castor sugar. Keep a little sugar aside for later.
Increase the speed of the mixer and beat until firm.
Increase to maximum speed...
... then the rest of castor sugar and beat until stiff.
Beat the egg yolks and the second half of castor sugar to a ribbon stage.
The egg yolks should be foamy, pale and doubled in volume.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and potato starch.
Add the beaten egg yolks to the meringue...
... and fold gently with a rubber spatula, making sure the preparation doesn't collapse.
Go right down the bottom of the bowl with the spatula with one hand while rotating the bowl with the other.
When homogeneous, sift the flour and potato starch over the preparation. Use a fine sieve and work in two or three batches to avoid too much starch all at once. The preparation should stay light and foamy.
Combine gently with the spatula until homogeneous. At this stage, the sponge finger preparation needs to be piped and baked immediately.
Transfer the preparation into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle Ø 10mm.
On a sheet of greaseproof paper, pipe the preparation into parallel laces to the whole length of the paper. Leave a space of 1 or 2 mm between each lace.
Repeat this operation until the whole sheet of paper is covered with biscuit strips. Sprinkle icing sugar over the biscuit lines until tiny pearls of sugar appear on the surface.
Bake in a fan-assisted oven preheated at 170°C (gas 3) for 13 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the oven...
... and leave to cool at room temperature.
Trim the end of the biscuit with a serrated knife.
Using a ruler, cut the sponge finger biscuit into strips to a width of 4.5 cm.
Cut with the serrated knife and detach the greaseproof paper.
Line a mousse ring 8 cm with a biscuit strip and make both ends join perfectly.
The result should be as shown in the photo. Repeat the operation until you have 6 rings.
With the rest of the pastry, create six round shapes using a round cutter Ø 6 cm. The discs will serve as a base for the charlottes.
Insert the biscuit base at the bottom of each mousse ring. Both biscuits (bottom and sides) should join perfectly, without any gaps.
The result should look like this. Set aside.
For the light cream with red berries:Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Hydrate the gelatine powder with 24 grams of water.
Combine well and leave to set at room temperature between 10 and 15 minutes.
In the meantime, pour 10 grams of water in a saucepan.
Add the castor sugar and combine.
Place the pan on the heat and cook until the temperature reaches 118°C.
Pour the egg whites in the stand mixer bowl...
... and add 10 to 15 grams of castor sugar...
... and start beating at low speed. The use of castor sugar right from the start will ensure a glossy, firm consistency.
The sugar should start to a boil and will gradually reach 118°C. I recommend using a digital probe thermometer for this operation.
When the egg whites are foamy (they should not be firm) and the sugar has reached 118°C, add the cooked sugar slowly to the egg whites and combine. Pour the sugar along the inner side of the bowl to avoid splashes.
Increase to maximum speed and beat until cooled down completely.
After beating for a few minutes, you should obtain a meringue.
Start beating the whipping cream...
... until creamy and smooth, but not firm. This type of consistency is more and more popular with pastry chefs.
Heat the red berry purée in the microwave until it reaches 40°C. Add the rehydrated gelatine (melted in the microwave beforehand). Combine with the rubber spatula.
Add some of the meringue to the whipped cream...
... and combine carefully, using a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the meringue and combine again.
When the red berry coulis has a temperature of 25°C...
... add 1/3 of the cream and meringue mix and combine with a whisk.
Add the preparation to the rest of the cream and meringue...
... and fold carefully with the spatula until homogeneous.
Transfer the cream into a piping bag. The use of a nozzle is not necessary. Set aside.
Using a pastry brush, steep the charlotte bases with the syrup. Apply a generous amount for the base, but only a light brush for the inner side of the sponge biscuit.
Fill with the light cream, leaving a gap of 1 cm on top. Tap the rings on your workbench to even the surface, then refrigerate.
For the raspberry confit: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Pour the raspberry purée in a saucepan...
...and add the whole raspberries (frozen or fresh).
Heat the preparation gently, until the raspberries turn into a purée. Stir constantly.
Add half of the castor sugar to the pectin NH.
Add the rest of the sugar to the raspberry preparation.
Combine the sugar and pectin NH together.
When the raspberry purée reaches 80°C, add the sugar and pectin mix...
... and whisk until fully incorporated. Bring to a boil to activate the properties of the pectin. Maintain the boil for 1 or 2 minutes.
Transfer the preparation into a deep and narrow recipient, such as a measuring glass...
... and mix with a Bamix hand blender.
Pour the raspberry confit in a food tray to a thin layer so it cools down quickly...
... and cover the surface with cling film and refrigerate.
For the vanilla crème chiboust: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Place the egg whites in the food mixer recipient, and start beating at low speed.
Hydrate the gelatine with 30 grams of water. Combine with a teaspoon. Set aside for 10 or 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, pour 50 grams of water...
... and add 215 grams of castor sugar.
Combine well and cook until the temperature reaches 118°C.
Add a little sugar to the egg whites...
...and increase to medium speed until foamy.
The cooked sugar temperature should have increased at this stage. I recommend using a digital thermometer.
When the sugar reaches 118°C, the egg whites should be beaten but still soft and foamy. Gradually add the cooked sugar to the beaten egg whites, pouring it against the inner side of the bowl. When the sugar is fully incorporated, increase the mixing speed and beat until cooled down completely.
Pour the whole milk in a saucepan...
... and add the vanilla (vanilla pod or powder). If you're using liquid vanilla extract, add toward the end of the process, when the cream is done.
Bring the milk and vanilla to a boil.
In the meantime, place the egg yolks in a bowl...
... add the castor sugar...
... the crème pâtissière powder or corn starch...
... and combine with a whisk until homogeneous.
Pour the boiling milk over the preparation and whisk.
Transfer the preparation into the saucepan used to boil the milk.
Return the pan on the heat...
... and cook until thick for a couple of minutes, while stirring constantly.
Add the rehydrated gelatine to the hot cream. It will melt instantly.
Combine carefully until incorporated.
The crème pâtissière is hot and the meringue should be warm at this stage.
Add 1/4 of the meringue to the hot pastry cream...
... and combine vigorously with a whisk until homogeneous.
Add the preparation to the rest of the meringue...
... and fold gently, using a rubber spatula.
If you notice whole bits of egg whites in the preparation, whisk the preparation a couple of times.
Place a silicone mould with 8 half-spheres Ø 5cm on top of a baking sheet.
Transfer the cream into a piping bag and fill the cavities of the silicone mould.
Even the surface with a large metallic cranked spatula. Cover the surface with cling film and place in the freezer. Up to this stage, this recipe can be made in advance and frozen.
When the confit has set, remove from the fridge and transfer in the mixer bowl.
Mix until homogeneous.
Transfer the preparation into a piping bag (no nozzle required)...
... and cut the tip of the bag with scissors to obtain a small hole.
Take the charlotte cakes out of the fridge and cover the red berry centre with a layer of raspberry confit to a thickness of 0.5cm.
Spread with a teaspoon.
Cover the surface with cling film and refrigerate.
When the crème chiboust spheres are frozen, take out of the freezer and remove the cling film.
Detach the half sphere shapes carefully.
Place the vanilla half spheres on top of each charlotte.
Repeat the operation for all the charlotte cakes. The result should be as shown in the photo. At this stage, the cakes are not to be stored in the freezer again.
Gently remove the rings...
... to release the cakes. Reserve in the fridge to defrost.
Prepare the fresh strawberries (stem and cut in quarters), raspberries (stem and cut in halves), blueberries, red currants and some bear grass. Arrange the mixed fruits harmoniously over each dome.
Insert a stalk of bear grass in each vanilla dome.
Arrange a few more fruits and a couple of meringue decorations.
Arrange a small white sugar paste flower over each charlotte cake (use a daisy plunger cutter).
In the centre of each flower, pipe a drop of clear mirror glaze coloured with yellow or orange water-soluble colouring.
Place a small piece of gold leaf on top of each bear grass stalk. Use a dot of clear mirror glaze to make sure the gold leaf stick to the stalk. Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve. Bon appétit!