Raspberry Trifle (Charlotte aux Framboises)
At first blush, charlotte aux framboises closely resembles an Italian tiramisu. The lady fingers and cream are where the similarities end though. This recipe is made with raspberry extract, fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce. For a more grownup treat, you can use framboise, which is a raspberry-flavored liqueur. Charlottes are traditionally made with fromage blanc, which is a thick yogurt that you can find in any market in France. I didn't have any, so I substituted mascarpone in instead. It's delicious either way.
Yields: 6 individual desserts20 lady fingers
3 cups raspberries (about 15 ounces)
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, + extra for dusting
1 tablespoon raspberry extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chocolate shavings (see tips)
For the raspberry sauce + lady finger cookies:
Reserve a few raspberries for decoration.
Place the rest of the raspberries in a blender. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and place in small saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons of superfine sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of raspberry extract. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Cut the lady fingers in half, crosswise. Soak them in the sauce for about 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. Transfer the cookies directly into 6 mini-trifle glasses. Cover each glass (see tips).The cookies should absorb the raspberry sauce but should not be soggy.
For the mascarpone filling:
Beat the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar in a small stainless steel mixing bowl. Prepare a double boiler: Fill a saucepan with water, making sure the water barely covers the bottom of the stainless steel mixing bowl. I always like to add a little kitchen towel at the bottom of the saucepan. The saucepan won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in your egg mixture. Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the stainless steel bowl over the saucepan and start whisking the egg mixture vigorously for about 3-5 minutes using a handheld mixer to thicken the texture of the egg yolks. The mixture should fall like a ribbon of sauce when you lift the whisk.
In another mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese to soften it. Slowly add the egg mixture to the mascarpone, adding just a little egg at a time. Add salt , vanilla, 1 teaspoon of raspberry extract and 1 tablespoon of the raspberry sauce.
Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. Always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping the cream for an optimum result. The whipping cream should be whipped cold. Whisk the 2 cups of cream until it forms soft peaks. Add 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of raspberry extract.
Reserve about 1/3 of the cream and chill it in the refrigerator.
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to get an airy batter.
Transfer to a piping bag.
Pipe the mascarpone mixture to fill the trifle glasses about half way. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of raspberry sauce. Cover with another layer of mascarpone filling. Finish with about 1-2 teaspoons of the reserved whipped cream. Use a spreader to remove the excess cream. Plastic-wrap each individual container and place in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours. The cream may pick up other food odors from the refrigerator if the containers are not sealed properly.
When serving, pipe some more whipped cream, decorate with fresh raspberries and sprinkle chocolate shavings on top of the whipped cream. Finish with a little powdered sugar using a fine mesh shaker or a strainer.
For a low-fat version, you can make the filling with yogurt instead of the mascarpone and cream and no egg yolk. Whisk 14 ounces of yogurt, add the same flavorings (raspberries and sugar). Warm 1 tablespoon of milk with 10 grams of agar agar over low heat and add it to the yogurt mixture. In another bowl, beat 2 egg whites and whisk until it forms soft peaks. Using a silicone spatula, mix 1/3 of the whipped egg whites with the yogurt mixture to soften it. Add the rest of the whipped egg whites and gently fold in the yogurt to get an airy batter. To complete, follow the assembly instructions above.
Agar agar powder is a good gelatin substitute for vegans and vegetarians. It's derived from seaweed and is cooked the same way you would use gelatin powder. It's widely used in Asian cuisine.
For the raspberry sauce, you can add framboise (raspberry liqueur) if you like.
Creating chocolate curls is very easy; just shave a large piece of chocolate using a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife.
My trick to get the soaked lady fingers to stand inside the trifle bowls is to place an aluminum foil ball in the middle, while waiting for the filling to be ready.
The method used to ensure that the egg yolks are fully cooked is basically the same procedure used to make a sabayon.
I prefer using superfine sugar. It is a fine-grained sugar and it dissolves more quickly than regular granulated sugar.
I usually add a little salt to most desserts. Salt brings out all the flavors and will enhance the taste of your sweets.
I find it best to store the charlottes for at least 4 hours so the lady fingers have time to soften and all the flavors of the raspberry blend into the filling.
Published By: on December 29, 2009.