charlotte framboises

Whenever I’m stuck in a kitchen, where all I have on hands are a couple of Pyrex bowls, a hand-held mixer, and an oven; well, I must admit I feel a bit lost.

Now, this might be a common statement, but I haven’t spent much time in a home kitchen – let alone made pastries in a home kitchen – for the past eleven months.

It’s not that I don’t like pâtisserie anymore.

In fact, I’ve never been so smitten with it as I am right now. It’s just that I get to have my daily fix every day, at the pâtisserie Lac.

fouras

But when – the much needed – holidays came I, all of sudden, started to make things. Over and over. At home, or to be more accurate, at my grand-parents’ house.

Read: I cut out the bottoms of metal cans to make cercles. I used baking paper instead of rhodoid. I whipped cream with a hand-held mixer. And I probably did many more unusual – at least for the pâtissière I’ve become – things I couldn’t even describe.

By the end of the week, I had a nice collection of homemade pastries: a fondant au chocolat, strawberry meringues, a tiramisu, fruit focaccias, and a raspberry charlotte.

Charlottes are one of those desserts I will never get tired of.

Think of it. Their endless customisation make them the most versatile entremets you could dream of.

charlotte framboises slice

The one I made during my off-time certainly don’t look perfect. Store-bought biscuits cuillère, and visible mousse. There, I’ve said enough.

FAIL.

In fact, a proper berry charlotte should: 1. use homemade biscuits, and 2. have plenty of fruits piled on top.

biscuits cuillere

A little like the charlotte below that I made a couple of weeks ago, on the same day my camera decided to fall in love with error 99, and thus, let me down.

Hence the nasty pictures. Oh, I did cry on that day.

berry charlotte

And then, I escaped to Fouras.

With its many flowers, endless bike promenades and a garden office (more appropriately, a table, a chair and a huge umbrella, right at the end of the garden = the only place I could access the internet from).

fouras two

There, the neighbour was sweet enough to let my sister and I pick raspberries from the bushes she grows.

raspberries

As soon as I graced ny lips with one of those plump berries, I felt like I had never tasted a real raspberry before.

Juicy. Sweet. Flavoursome.

And made a charlotte aux framboises with them. 

charlottes framboises int

So simple it hurts. So good it hurts too. I have to confess that it’s sometimes nice to feel hurt, doesn’t it?

charlotte framboises spoonful

Charlotte aux framboises et au fromage blanc
This is a slightly more elaborate version of the charlotte that is part of one of my earliest food memories. I love to make this during summer while plenty of berries are available, but it also make a good winter dessert. Think pears.

If fromage blanc isn’t available where you live, just use plain live yoghurt instead.

Charlotte aux framboises et au fromage blanc

serves 8

for the biscuits
two dozens of biscuits cuillère, either homemade or bought
300g water
210g caster sugar

for the mousse
6 gelatin sheets
500g fromage blanc
120g caster sugar
330g double cream, whipped

a couple handfuls of raspberries

Make a simple soaking syrup by combining the water and caster sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then pour into a wide container, and allow to cool down to a handleable temperature.

While the syrup is cooling down, soak the gelatine leaves into cold water for at least ten minutes. Divide the fromage blanc into two heatproof bowls.
In one of the bowls, mix in the sugar until dissolved. Heat the other bowl containing half of the fromage blanc in the microwave until it reaches around 40°C. Then quickly drain the gelatin leaves, and incoporate to the warm fromage blanc. Mix until fully melted. Then, fold this into the sweetened fromage blanc. And finally, gently fold in the whipped cream in a couple of batches.

When the syrup is cool enough, soak the biscuits into it and arrange in a shallow charlotte mould.

Pipe half of the mousse into the biscuit-lined tin, then cover with a handful of raspberries and more soaked biscuits. Top with the remaining mousse.

Chill for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. Unmould and serve.