Saturday, 31 August 2013

Berry Charlotte

WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO? I am disgusted to hear that the Oxford dictionary has added 'twerking' to their esteemed dictionary. I had always imagined a lengthy process for getting a word put into the Oxford dictionary (something involving Hogwartonian (now they should put that in the dictionary!)-dressed Oxford University English professors having heated debates in leather armchairs beside a crackling fire). It is pretty well respected after all, a source for academics and scholars around the world. Apparently the Oxford dictionary people anticipate doctorates and dissertations on the subject for which a thorough definition of 'twerking' will be required. Lord knows we wouldn't want the 'hip thrusting' angle to be overlooked....

On to the desert goodness. 

This Berry Charlotte is another creation from the beautiful 'Patisserie at Home' book from Will Torrent; a recent purchase that has filled my thoughts with delicate delicious elegance from the moment I read the first page. Homemade lady fingers (so much softer than the shop bought) encase a light electric pink raspberry mousse. And because it is summer we heap berries on top for shop window sophistication. 

Don't be put off by the seemingly intricate method. If you take your time to measure and cut the sponge so it fills the tin snugly and then leave the whole cake overnight in the fridge, you will be singing with delight. Or twerking with delight.... Although that would be pretty weird..... 

Ladyfingers (makes extra which freezes well and would be an excellent base for trifles!)

6 eggs, separated 
350g caster sugar 
350g plain flour 

Raspberry and vanilla mousse 
3 leaves gelatine
250ml single cream 
125ml pureed raspberry 
1 tablespoon of icing sugar 
125g vanilla yogurt 
1 large egg white 
2 1/2 tablespoons of caster sugar 

Start the day before you want to serve 

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Measure the height of your 18cm/7inch round springform cake pan (i.e. how tall the cake will be). Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and draw parallel lines the height of the pan. On another sheet of greaseproof draw a circle around the base of the cake tin. This will form your bottom. 
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk under soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat until glossy. Gradually sift in the flour and fold gently  with a wooden spoon. Fold in the egg yolks. 
3. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe finger shapes on your greaseproof paper between the parallel lines. You should need around twenty. Sprinkle caster sugar on them. 
4. Spread the rest of the mixture onto your circle in a THIN layer (saw as thick as an American pancake). You may have extra mixture. I baked mine as a back up bottom. 
5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool completely. 
6. Once cool trim the tops and sides of the ladyfingers so that they are identical in width and height and as tall as the side of the tin. They will have spread a little during baking. Trim the bottom if needed (put you want it to be jammed into the bottom, not loose so don't trim too much), then place in the tin. Line up the ladyfingers around the outside sugar side out. They should be very tightly packed; you may have to squeeze the last one in. 
7. Put the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften for a few minutes. 
8. Beat the cream until soft peaks start to form then refrigerate. 
9. Put the raspberry puree in a saucepan with the icing sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and heat until hot. Remove from the heat, add the softened gelatine, squeezed of excess water and stir until the gelatine is dissolved. 
10. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the yogurt. If you have Cointreau or raspberry liqueur you can check in 3 tablespoons at this stage. 
11. Whisk the egg white and sugar until glossy and quite stiff. 
12. Fold the egg whites into the yogurt mixture gently and then finally fold in the cream until the mousse is even. 
13. Allow the mousse to cool completely then pour into the ladyfinger lined pan. 
14. Put in the fridge very loosely covered in clingfilm for the night. 
15. The next day pop out of the tin gently using the springform mechanism and top with berries of your choice. 
16. Cut with a hot sharp knife. 

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