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Before starting this Pear and Caramel Charlotte recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
For the chocolate biscuit: Sift the flour and cocoa powder together.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks are formed.
Add the castor sugar and beat again until stiff.
Add the beaten egg yolks.
Combine gently with a rubber spatula.
Add the sifted flour and cocoa, then fold gently with the spatula.
Using a cranked spatula, spread the preparation on a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Bake at 180°C (gas 4) for 10 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
For the caramelized pears: Drain the pears and cut into cubes.
Tip the sugar in a non-stick frying pan, without adding any water.
Cook over medium heat until you get caramel.
Add the diced pears and half a vanilla pod, cut in half lengthwise. Brown for 5 minutes.
For the caramel bavarian cream: Soften the gelatine sheets in cold water.
Tip 90 grams of sugar in a saucepan, without adding any water.
Cook over medium heat until you get a dark caramel.
Add 3 or 4 cl of water.
Combine well with a whisk. Set aside.
Blanch the egg yolks and remaining sugar with a whisk.
Add the boiling milk...
... and the caramel. Combine well.
Cook the preparation 'à la nappe' (i.e. until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).
Drain the gelatine and add to the hot preparation.
Stir until dissolved completely. Let cool, making sure the gelatine does not set.
Beat the whipping cream until you obtain a whipped cream.
Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cold caramel preparation.
Combine well with a whisk.
Add the preparation to the remaining whipped cream...
... and combine gently.
Assembling the cake: Arrange the sponge fingers all around a deep tart ring (diameter 22cm). Place a disc of chocolate biscuit at the bottom.
Fill with caramel bavarian cream, halfway up.
Arrange the 3/4 of the caramelized pears...
... and cover with the rest of the caramel bavarian cream. Even the surface. Refrigerate for a few hours.
For the caramel crumbs: Pour the sugar in a saucepan.
Without adding any water, cook over medium heat until you get caramel.
Add the butter...
... and stir well.
Pour the preparation on a sheet of greaseproof paper...
... and spread with the back of a spoon. Let set.
Fold the greaseproof paper sheet in two...
... then crush the caramel with a rolling pin...
... until you obtain tiny crumbs.
Remove the charlotte from the fridge. Remove the tart ring and cover the surface with caramel crumbs.
Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.
If possible, add the caramel crumbs at the very last minute, just before serving. Arrange the remaining pears in the centre. This delicious dessert is ready!