Monday, August 15, 2011

Strawberry-Raspberry Charlotte

Unfortunately the strawberry season is slowly coming to an end, at least for the local strawberries, and they are of course the sweetest. The you-pick farms around here are already closed some weeks ago, so I was pleasantly surprised to see some really nice local strawberries at the supermarket. This summer hasn't been very nice in Germany and this means fall is approaching very fast

So, there had to be one last strawberry cake for the summer. I made a Charlotte. A Charlotte is made of rolled up sponge cake slices filled with a creamy mousse or custard. It can be made into a cupola like this one, or in a regular round cake shape, in which case it is often done with ladyfinger.

The filling I used here is a strawberry mousse with some added strawberry pieces and raspberries. Strawberry jam was also used in the sponge rolls. Don't let the end of the strawberry season stop you from making this cake. You can also make it with other berries or fruit. Try blackberries and blueberries or peach and mango, and I think they should also be very tasty.

Strawberry-Raspberry Charlotte
(adapted from Bernd Siefert)

For the sponge:
90 g butter
6 eggs
175 g caster sugar
100 g flour
50 g corn starch
2 tsp. baking powder
150 g strawberry jam

For the filling:
250 g berries (strawberries and raspberries)
12 sheets of gelatin
400 g pureed strawberries
75 g powdered sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed
500 g quark (if not available you can use fromage blanc or ricotta, or make quark yourself)
200 g whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the sponge cake start with melting the butter. Separate the eggs and whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar until foamy. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Mix together the flour, corn starch and baking powder. Put through a sieve on the egg yolk mixture and slowly fold together. Now carefully fold in the egg whites. Mix a few tablespoons of the batter with the melted butter, then add to the remaining batter. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth the surface. Bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown.

Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little sugar over it. Take the sponge cake out of the oven and immediately turn the cake onto the towel and peel away the baking paper. Warm up the strawberry preserves and spread it on the cake. Now roll up the cake tightly. Wrap the towel around and let cool on a rack, seam side down.

Cut the sponge roll into equal slices. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Reserve the remaining slices for the bottom of the cake.

Clean the berries and cut big ones into smaller chunks. Soak the gelatin on cold water. Whisk together the strawberry puree, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest, and the vanilla seeds.

Squeeze the gelatin to remove the water and put into a small saucepan together with 2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture. Warm over medium heat, while stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved. Add to the remaining strawberry mixture. Whisk in the quark, and let cool until the mixture starts to set. Then whip the cream and fold into the mousse.

At the end carefully fold in the prepared berries. Pour the mousse into the bowl and level the top. Now put the remaining sponge slices on top of the mousse. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Before serving take the cake out of the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and turn the bowl up-side-down on a cake platter. Remove the plastic wrap and decorate with a few berries.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!

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