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Before starting this Strawberry Charlotte recipe, organise all the necessary ingredients.
For the sponge fingers: Place the egg yolks in the stand mixer recipient.
Add the castor sugar.
Beat the preparation to a ribbon stage. The egg yolks should be foamy, pale and doubled in volume. Set aside.
Pour the egg whites in the stand mixer recipient...
... and beat at high speed. When the egg whites are starting to get a foamy consistency, add 75 grams of sugar in 3 or 4 batches.
Beat for a few more seconds...
... every time you add sugar.
Increase the speed to maximum, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff.
Pour the flour and potato starch in a sifter...
... and sift the two ingredients together.
Pour the sifted ingredients over the beaten egg yolks...
... and combine carefully with a rubber spatula, making sure the preparation doesn't collapse. Stir the preparation right down to the bottom of the bowl. Rotate the bowl with the other hand.
Combine until homogeneous.
Add 1/4 of the meringue.
... until homogeneous.
Add the rest of the meringue...
... and combine gently, using a rubber spatula.
This preparation should be piped and baked immediately.
Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle Ø 12mm.
Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper to 30 x 40 cm. Pipe the preparation into parallel lines lengthwise.
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.
For the strawberry and rhubarb confit: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Place the rhubarb in a saucepan. If you're using fresh rhubarb, peel beforehand and cut into chunks of 1 or 2 cm.
Add half of the sugar to the rhubarb...
... and a little water. Quantity is not really important as this needs to be reduced completely.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the rhubarb has the consistency of a compote. There should be no more chunks and the water should have evaporated completely.
Combine the pectin NH with the remaining castor sugar...
... and combine with a spoon. The pectin and castor sugar should be combined together beforehand to avoid lumps.
Add 100 grams of strawberries to the rhubarb compote...
... and mix immediately with a hand blender until you get a fine purée.
Add a little red colouring powder.
Combine carefully until homogeneous.
When the preparation reaches 60/70°C, add the sugar and pectin NH mix...
... while stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil...
... and cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly. This is essential to activate the gelling properties of the pectin.
Line a mousse ring Ø 16cm with cling film. The quantities listed above allow to make two charlotte cakes. For best results, we recommend you not to reduce these proportions which are already as low as possible. If you're making one charlotte, you can serve the leftover confit on the side.
Stretch cling film over one side of the mousse ring. Make sure there are no folds on the film.
Place the mousse ring on a baking sheet, side with cling film facing down.
Pour half of the confit in the ring...
... and spread to an even thickness with a spatula.
Tap the baking sheet on your workbench to even the surface, then store in the freezer. You can prepare this up to 2 days in advance and store in the freezer.
For the Bavarian cream: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Steep the gelatine sheets in cold water.
In the meantime, pour the milk in a saucepan...
... and add the vanilla powder (or a vanilla pod). The amount of vanilla varies according to the desired flavour intensity.
In a bowl, pour the egg yolks...
... 50 grams of castor sugar...
... and blanch with a whisk.
When the milk starts boiling, pour over the blanched egg yolks. Combine with a whisk until homogeneous.
Transfer the preparation into the saucepan used to boil the milk.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook 'à la nappe'. The use of a digital probe thermometer is recommended to closely monitor the temperature which shouldn't exceed 83°C.
When the preparation reaches 83°C, take the pan away from the heat.
Pour the preparation in a fine sieve over a bowl. This will stop the cooking process as well as get rid of any lumps.
Strain the gelatine with your hand (without squashing it)...
... and add to the hot custard.
Combine carefully until the gelatine has completely dissolved.
Add the white chocolate pistoles to the hot custard...
... and let the chocolate melt without stirring for a minute. The chocolate chips should start melting in the hot cream, with no need to stir.
Whisk the preparation in order to create an emulsion. Leave to cool at room temperature. Ideally, the preparation should go down to 25/30°C. Pour into a large dish and spread to a thin layer to speed up the cooling process (do not refrigerate).
While the cream, place the whipping cream in the stand mixer recipient...
... and beat until you obtain a whipped cream. Make sure you don't beat the cream excessively; we want a really smooth texture. Reserve in the fridge.
Place 150 grams strawberries and 50 grams sugar in a processor...
... and mix until you get a fine purée.
Pass the strawberry purée through a fine sieve to remove the seeds...
... and set aside.
Once the sponge fingers have cooled down, trim one end with a graduated ruler and a serrated knife to get a clean cut.
Cut two strips to a width of 8cm.
Slide the knife blade under the biscuit to detach it from the greaseproof paper.
Place a vacherin ring Ø 18cm on a baking sheet.
Place a round cake board 18cm at the bottom of the ring, with the gold side facing up.
Arrange a biscuit strip vertically along the side of the ring, side with icing sugar facing out.
Arrange the second strip of biscuit.
Trim the biscuit strips with scissors if they are too long...
... to make sure both ends join perfectly. It is better to ease the biscuit with force a little to ensure there are no gaps where the cream could leak out.
Using a stainless steel ring Ø 16cm, cut a disc from the rest of the biscuit.
Arrange the biscuit disc at the bottom of the vacherin ring, pushing it down a little. The side with icing sugar should be facing down.
... as shown in the photo.
At this stage, the custard should be cold but not jellified. Add 1/4 of the whipped cream...
... and whisk vigorously.
Add the rest of the whipped cream...
... and combine gently with the whisk. This method is essential to ensure the consistency is homogeneous and there are no lumps.
Divide the Bavarian cream in two equal portions.
Pour the strawberry purée in one of the bowls...
... and combine carefully with a whisk.
We now have a vanilla Bavarian cream and a strawberry version.
Remove the strawberry confit from the freezer and release from the ring. This should be easy since the jelly is really thin. It won't take long to defrost completely, so it is important that you proceed quickly.
Pour the strawberry Bavarian cream in the vacherin ring over the biscuit base. The cream has a fluid consistency so it should spread easily.
Cut a few strawberries into chunks and scatter over the cream. Use a knife to bury them. Use a generous amount to make sure each slice will contain strawberry chunks.
Arrange the rhubarb and strawberry disc over the strawberry cream...
... and press gently with your fingers to make it stick to the cream and to get rid of air pockets.
Cover the strawberry confit disc with the vanilla Bavarian cream. The cream will spread easily thanks to its fluid texture.
Cover the surface with cling film...
... and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Make sure you don't store the cake in the freezer as the strawberry chunks won't handle freezing temperatures. If you don't use strawberry chunks, there will be no problem storing the cake in the freezer.
For the finish: Prepare the strawberries for the decoration. Use super-fresh strawberries that are in perfect condition. Remove the stems.
Take the cake out of the freezer and place a ring or any object such as a pot (with a smaller diameter) on your workbench. This will help you release the charlotte from the ring.
Place the cake over the ring (or pot).
Remove the cling film on top...
... and gently slide the vacherin ring towards the bottom. If you slide the ring upwards, the top part of the cake might come away with the ring.
Spread a little white sugar paste with a rolling pin, and create small flower shapes with a daisy plunger cutter. Set aside until dry. This should take 10 minutes.
Cut the strawberries into thin slices lengthwise, using a Japanese mandoline.
Arrange the strawberry slices over the surface of the charlotte. Make sure you trim any excess bits of biscuit beforehand to create perfectly neat sides and surface. Continue until the surface is completely covered with strawberry slices, right up to the rim.
Arrange the strawberries in a swirl pattern, making them overlap a little.
Place a few sugar paste flowers over the surface.
The final result should look like this.
Finish with a few redcurrants and mint leaves. Using decorating tongs, arrange small pieces of gold leaf over each redcurrant carefully. Using a decorating bag, pipe a few drops of clear mirror glaze coloured with red powder (or strawberry purée) in the centre of each daisy. Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!