Charlotte aux Poire

Soft and sweet ladyfinger biscuits, encasing a mixture of apple custard, Italian meringue, and caramelised pear.

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For the June daring bakers challenge Rebecca from BakeNQuilt.comĀ challenged us to make Charlotte Royale and Charlotte Russe from scratch. Savory or sweet Charlottes were definitely tasty showstopper!

I was really excited when I read this challenge, as I have a recipe for an Apple Charlotte in my Richard Bertinet Patisserie cookbook that I’ve been wanting to try for ages!

A Charlotte is basically a case made with ladyfinger biscuits, filled with a custard/ mousse filling, which is set in the fridge and then turned out. My Charlotte uses a Bavarois for the filling, which is a mixture of Italian meringue, double cream and custard.

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It did take me quite a long time to put the Charlotte together because of all the different components, and the kitchen was a complete mess! But each component was actually reasonably easy to make, so I feel like it would be difficult to go wrong, as long as you give yourself enough time.

I have stuck to the recipe in the book, but I used pears instead of Apple for the fruit chunks, and I added some extra gelatineĀ because I was so scared that it wouldn’t set!

I didn’t really know what to expect when I cut into the Charlotte to taste it, but I’m so glad I made it because it is delicious!
I love the combination of the ladyfinger biscuits and custardy mouse! It would be an amazing dessert to bring to a family party, I’m sure that everyone would be really impressed!.

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Variations: There are an endless number of variations that could be done with the Charlotte, so here are a few of my ideas:

Lemon Charlotte: use lemon in the custard and fold in some lemon curd. You could even brush the ladyfingers with a lemonciello glaze!

Chocolate and Raspberry Charlotte: use chocolate in the ladyfinger biscuits, and ripple some chocolate ganache through the bavarois with some fresh raspberries.

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Ingredients: Makes 1Ā CharlotteĀ and a few small pots of the Apple Bavarois

Sugar Syrup:

  • 100ml apple juice
  • 100ml sugar

The Apple Custard:

  • 150ml apple juice
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 sachets of powdered gelatine (or 4 gelatine leaves)

The Caramelised Pears:

  • 4 pears, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Italian Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 190g sugar
  • 1 sachet of powdered gelatine
  • 45ml water
  • 20g glucose

Apple Bavarois:

  • apple custard
  • Italian meringue
  • caramelised pears
  • 300ml double cream

The Ladyfinger Biscuits

  • 4 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour

Equipment:

  • 2 pint pudding bowl (or mixing bowl of the right size!)
  • piping bag with a 1cm circular nozzle

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To Make:

The Dried Pears:

Slice a pear into circular disks, about 2mm thick. Arrange on a baking tray and leave to cook in the oven at 80-90C for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave overnight.

The Apple Custard:

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy.

Meanwhile, bring the apple juice to a simmer in a large pan, then stir in the gelatine and leave to melt.

Pour the hot apple juice over the egg yolks, whisking continuously until fully incorporated.

Return to the pan and simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool completely.

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The Caramelised Pears:

Melt the butter in a saute pan, and then add the sugar. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until it begins to turn golden brown.

Add the chopped pears to the pan and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until cooked through.

Set aside and leave to cool.

The Sugar Syrup:

Combine the apple juice and sugar in a small pan and heat until the sugar completely dissolves and bubbles begin to appear. Remove from the heat and set aside.

The Ladyfinger Biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add 80g caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Pour into the egg whites Ā and fold in, then fold in the flour.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a circular nozzle. Pipe fourteen fingers, each about 11cm long, and three circular disks. One to fit in the bottom of the bowl (about 8cm diameter), one for the middle (about 10cm diameter) and one for the top (12cm).

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Sprinkle with icing sugar and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack before assembling.

The Italian Meringue:

Combine the sugar, glucose and water in a small pan, and heat until it reaches 127C, then add the gelatine powder.

Meanwhile whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Pour the hot syrup into the egg whites, whisking continuously.

Continue to whisk for a further few minutes until glossy.

The Apple Bavarois:

Whisk the double cream until stiff peaks form. Then combine with the apple custard, caramelised pears, and meringue.

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Assembling:

Line the pudding bowl with clingfilm and place the smallest disk in the bottom of the bowl, then arrange the fingers around the outside of the bowl, making sure they overlap, so there will be no gaps.

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Use a pastry brush to soak the fingers and base with the sugar syrup, then press the fingersĀ into each other to form a seal.

Pour some of the bavarois into the bowl, until half full. Place the medium sized disk on top, and brush with syrup.

Pour the bavarois over the middle sponge, to a few cm under the top if the ladyfingers.

Top with the final circular sponge brush with sugar syrup and press into the sides of the ladyfingers to seal.

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Leave to let in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving.

Once set, pull out of the bowl using the clingfilm and turn out onto a cake stand. Dust with some icing sugar and decorate with slices of dried pear.

Cut into 8 slices and serve!.

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Apple and Cinnamon Turkish Delight

Sweet chunks of Turkish delight, flavoured with sharp green apple and aromatic cinnamon.

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This month I’ve decided to do the Daring Cooks challenge, as well as the Daring Bakers Challenge, because I fancied trying my hand at both. So first up; the Daring Cooks challenge! For the Month of May, Rachael from Pizzarossa challenged us to make candy but not just any candy! She challenged us to make Turkish Delight, or Lokum.

I’ve made Turkish Delight before, but I wasn’t particularly pleased with the result, because I found that the pieces melted at room temperature, so this time I have added some gelatine, to help it form a more solid block.

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I decided to try a different flavour from the classic rose turkish delight. I had a look through Pinterest and saw that you could make apple turkish delight by using apple juice instead of water, so that’s what I have done. Just make sure that you use high quality apple juice, to get the best flavour. I followed the basic recipe from the daring cook page, but changed some of the water to apple juice and added the gelatine.

I am really really pleased with these turkish delight, and I will definitely be making some alternative flavours soon!

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Variations: You could use any fruit juice to flavour the Turkish delight, I think using orange juice would work well, and you could then dip them in dark chocolate!

Ingredients:

  • 400g Granulated Sugar
  • 330ml Apple Juice
  • 150ml water
  • 2tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 80g Cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • A few drops of green food colouring
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 sachet of powdered gelatine

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To Make:

Grease and line a small rectangular dish.

Combine 180ml of the Apple juice, 3 tbsp of lemon juice and the cinnamon stick with the sugar in a small pan, cook over a low heat until the temperature reaches 127C.

Meanwhile combine the cornflour, remaining apple juice and water in a large pan, and cook over a low heat, whisking continually until it forms a thick paste. Then remove from the heat and whisk in 1 sachet of powdered gelatin.

Once the apple syrup has reached 127C, remove from the heat and pour into the pan with the cornflour paste, whisking continually. Continue to cook over a low heat for around 30-40 minutes until the volume has reduced to about 1/3.

Stir through the green food colouring and pour into the prepared dish. Leave to cool to room temperature for a few hours, by which point it should be completely set.

Combine 3tbsp of cornflour and 3tbsp of icing sugar in a small bowl.Turn out the Turkish delight and cut into bite-sized chunks. Roll each piece in the sugar mixture and arrange on a platter the serve!

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Apple and Cinnamon Flapjack Muffins

Soft and fluffy muffins, with chunks of sweet apple, topped with a crunchy, chewy layer of flapjack.

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Who doesn’t love a delicious home made muffin or flapjack as a mid morning snack? I made these muffins, because I wanted some sweet treats to eat during the week, and I just couldn’t decide if I wanted muffins or flapjacks, so I thought I’d make both! They actually work fantastically, as you get a nice fluffy muffin, and then the chewy flapjack, all in one mouthful!

These aren’t quite as lovely looking as some of the other cakes I have made, but they still taste just as good. I brought some into work for morning coffee break and they went down really well!

Variations: The apple could be swapped for any other fruit, like blueberry or pear.Ā Another spice could be used to flavour the muffins, such as ginger, if you don’t like cinnamon.

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Ingredients: Makes 15 Large Muffins

For the Muffins:

  • 300g Self Raising Flour
  • 2tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150ml Milk
  • 150g Butter, melted
  • 2 Dessert Apples (I used Braeburn), peeled and chopped
  • 115g Dark Brown Sugar

For the Flapjack Topping:

  • 150g Oats
  • 100g Butter
  • 2tbsp Golden syrup
  • 75g Dark Brown Sugar

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180Ā°C, and line a cupcake tray with muffin cases.

In a a large pan combine all the ingredients for the flapjack, and cook over a low heat, until it comes together. Set aside.

Mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In another bowl, combine the milk, melted butter and eggs.

Combine the liquid and flour mixtures, stirring together very quickly – only for about 15 seconds! Then fold in the chopped apple.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, until they are about 2/3 full.

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SpreadĀ one tablespoon of flapjack evenly overĀ the top of each muffin.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

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