Toasted Coconut And Berries Charlottes

Monday, September 22, 2008

Toasted Coconut And Berries Charlottes

"I want a bouquet of berries!"
That's what my friend Laura exclaimed when we met at the florist to talk bouquets for her upcoming wedding.
"You mean...for real..or on your cake, as a separate flavors, as favors? What? What?"...

Can't you just sense the panic in my voice? Lord knows I love Laura, I laugh with her, cry with her, call her crazy and yet, I never know when she is joking when she is in charge of making decisions. See, Laura has already changed her mind 3 times for her dress...after it was bought. The ceremony has been changed just about everytime the wind changed direction, the vows?...typed, backspaced, saved, erased, and started over countless times. A couple of things have remained: the groom is still "The Original One" as we have nicknamed Jason, her husband to be, and as always her group of friends has vowed to throw her into the pool after the big event.

I met her while at the restaurant, she was waiting tables and quickly volunteered to be my dessert guinea pig. Laura loves to organize big parties, Halloween bashes, fundraising dinners, etc...and she is good at it. She knows to bring people together, her diplomacy is impeccable and she never loses her cool...but she ended up in the pool more times than she remembers. Over the years we have learned to let her talk and scribble away and wait a couple of days for the finalized plan.

So when she said she wanted a bouquet of berries, I, on the other hand saw a big blue pool... I should have trusted her and let her finish her sentence instead. Had I paid attention, I would have noticed that she was on the phone with Old Chef telling him she did not want a wedding cake but a couple of plated desserts. There will be a mini version of Jason's favorite, Carrot Cake, made by our friend C., the other pastry chef in the group, and I would make Laura a dessert that represents her. Except nothing really "represents" Laura given her ever changing nature. I threw some ideas to her and finally drew sketches of charlottes made of thin toasted coconut ladyfingers, filled with a raspberry mousse and topped with whipped cream to evoke the white of her wedding dress and topped with berries....a bouquet of berries. One decision made, 85 of these to make for her wedding this coming Saturday.

When I make charlottes at home for the family, I like to use savoiardi cookies, not that I am lazy to make my own but they remind me of my grandparents who always kept a box in their pantry. My grandma would give us some to dunk in our tea or hot chocolate and we had a contest to see who could dip the longest without the cookie disintegrate on them. My grandfather would give us some whenever the adults had Champagne so we could get a little taste. I have to admit though that eating freshly made ladyfingers ranks as high as eating freshly cooked sables or shortbreads...very high. Before you run away when you look at the recipe: once again I am a big advocate of spreading plated desserts preparationover a couple of days if you need. Make the ladyfingers one day and store them in the fridge in a tight container and tackle the mousse the next.

For Laura's dessert, it was easier to make them and pipe the batter thin to mimic flower stems. The mousse base is a quick Chiboust cream where instead of the traditional Italian Meringue, whipped cream is added to a creme anglaise base and held with some gelatin. There are also two kinds of Chiboust, one with creme anglaise, one with pastry cream, I went for the former. We went for raspberries but strawberries or other would work quite well. For work production purposes I purchased frozen organic raspberries, let them thawed and mashed them before adding them to the mousse base. I like to fold the fruit base into the whipped cream and not the other way around. I find it more consistent, faster and more reliable, but you will read different directions on the subject so experience to find the one you like best.


Toasted Coconut And Berries Charlottes

Toasted Coconut And Raspberry Charlottes:

Makes 6, 3 inch wide charlottes

For the ladyfingers:
1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour
3 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup (1oo grams) sugar, divided
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
pinch of salt
1/2 cup to 3/4 grated coconut (both unsweet or sweet are fine)

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar until thick and pale yellow at high speed for about 5 minutes. Add the orange blossom water and give the mixer another quick whirl to combine.
- Transfer the batter to a bowl, and sift the cake flour over it but do not fold it in yet.Wash your mixer's bowl thoroughly before proceeding with the egg whites.
- Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment and whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the pinch of salt and increase the speed and whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whip until stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over fold or you will loose air and the cookies will turn flat.
- Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitting with narrow tip (I used Ateco #807) and pipe the batter into 6 3 inch circles first, then continue with the remaining batter to make 4 inch long ladyfingers.keeping one inch space in between them. Feel free to draw circles and lines on the parchment paper and to invert it prior to baking (so you don't get ink or pencil lines on your cookies) as a guide.
- Sprinkle as little as 1/2 cup to as much as 3/4 cup of grated coconut, depending on your taste.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but only slightly browned and are spongy when pressed with a finger.
- Remove them from the oven and let the baking sheets cool on wire rack for a few minutes. It will be easier to remove the cookies from the parchment paper if you do so when they are still a little warm. Once lifted from the paper, let the cookies cool completely on wire racks before using them.



For the raspberry mousse:
250 ml (1 cup) milk
1/4 cup (55 grams) sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tsp Chambord
2 tsp powdered gelatin + 1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed and mashed with a fork
3/4 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to bloom.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow. In the meantime time, in a medium saucepan, heat the milk to boiling point. Slowly pour some of the hot milk over the egg yolks to temper them. Add the remaining milk in one steady stream, whisking well. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, and cook over medium low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, add the Chambord, raspberries and gelatin and stir until the latter is completely dissolved.
Let cool to room temperature. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks. Incorporate the raspberry base in 2 additions into the cream. Use immediately.

To assemble the charlottes:
Place 6 rings onto a parchment line baking sheet. Line 6 rings with parchment paper, place a disk of ladyfinger cookie at the bottom and line the inside with as many fingers as will fit in them. Divide the mousse evenly in between the rings. Refrigerate until completely set.
When ready to serve, unmold the charlottes and top with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Toasted Coconut And Berries Charlottes

97 comments:

Botacook said...

Très joli et très photogénique - en plus, j'adore les framboises :)

andrea said...

beautiful as usual!

Manggy said...

I don't think Laura will want to change her mind after seeing and tasting such a beautiful and delicious dessert! And if she does, well, there's always the swimming pool! (Hah! Threats always work!) I LOVE raspberries, and I've not made mousse with Italian meringue before :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Perfect and amazingly beautiful, as always!

Cheers,

Rosa

Peabody said...

Wow, those look so beautiful!

pixxienix said...

purty! so very purrtyy!! the innards look so inviting ^_^

Happy cook said...

Thankgod laura didn't change hermind about jason :-)
Love the charlotte.
Looks so beautiful.

argone said...

such a pretty dessert !! love it ;-)

argone said...

did you forget to mention the egg whites in the lady finger's ingredient list ? (I can only see the egg yolks) - thank you

morgana said...

This is so elegant... And I'm sure it tastes delicious. What can I say? When I see your photos I feel like in an art gallery, all senses involved (not only for the eyes but also for your nose, your mouth and, of course, for your heart). You are really an artist.

suparna said...

u have such amazin pics. how do u do them. r u a pro.

Aran said...

how lucky is she to have you as a friend! charlottes are always so elegant and really do impress. beautiful work!

trupeach said...

how absolutely lovely.

Bridget said...

These are just gorgeous! :)

FFichiban said...

Mmmm looks and sounds heavenly! Yummmmm I want!

nadia said...

Beautiful!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

these are so delicate and feminine Helen! So lovely and perfectly ... the most beautiful little charlottes ever...

VeggieGirl said...

A bouquet of berries is lovely!! And unique :0)

Gorgeous Charlottes!

Tartelette said...

Argone: I sure did forget! I rectified that. Thank you!

Helena said...

Perhaps Laura wants the very best things for those around her or those whom she brings together. Therefore she could not make up her mind on what could make everyone happy. Maybe ask her what she wants if there's only her and "The Original One" at their wedding? That may do the trick.

I think they are many who wish to live next door to you, Helen. Including I, of course. Who in their right mind would not want to be your dessert guinea pig?!

• friedl • said...

Amazing ! I wouldn't mind those at my wedding, either :-)

Tartelette said...

Suparna: thank you, but no I am not a pro photographer. There are so many more talented photographers out there, but thank you for the compliment!

Christy said...

What beautiful bouquets Helen!! I'm sure Laura would be very pleased!!

Flo Bretzel said...

Wonderful Charlotte!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Laura is one lucky bride to have these showing up at her wedding! They are just gorgeous and I'm sure everyone will be wowed. My daughter and I were just discussing how the most common wedding problem is bad cakes. Good thing Laura went with the best- it won't be a problem for her!

Mandy said...

beautiful pictures,as always! It's true that the freshly made ladyfingers are uncomparable. I recently made some for a cake, and I love it so much! Now I need to try your version with toasted coconut and orange blossom water.

Anita said...

Those are beautiful bouquets! I love all the fruits you used on top!

veron said...

gorgeous , Helen! Uh...and you are making how many of these... 85?!

breadpitt said...

cute Charlottes!!!!those ribbon were lovely too!

Elra said...

Absolutely beautiful Helen.

I discourage making lady fingers, because my technique of piping anything is always turns out to be a disastrous! Too big, too small, too fat, too thin, too long, too short. Is there such a thing as a lady finger mold? maybe in France? any encouraging tip perhaps? You know, like the one that you gave us for macarons. I am sure there are many of your reader are like me, not really that good of making lady finger, or am I alone in this one?

Mary said...

These desserts are so beautiful! Laura is lucky to have such a talented friend as you helping out!

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clumbsy Cookie said...

They are gorgeous! What a lucky friend yours is! I think she can even enter the church with a plate of this charlotte, for the ultimate berry bouquet, lol!

Tina said...

These are just the prettiest little things that I ever did see! I wish that I could make my tasty-things look half as beautiful as you do.

How lovely. Sigh.

Passionate About Baking said...

Am at a loss for words Helen...but can say, maybe I wish I was getting married again...to the same man I've married but closer to where you live...if only for the sake of something as stunning as this!! LOL...what a GREAT friend you are!

Aimée said...

Helen, you have truly contributed something unique and special to the bride's wedding day. Give yourself a pat on the back for these very sweet desserts. They are 'easy on the eyes' shall we say, as I am sure the bride was.

the italian dish said...

These are the sweetest things I've ever seen!

Tartelette said...

Elra: as I mentionned in the instructions, it is helpful to draw lines and rounds on parchment paper and to invert it prior to baking. As far as coming flat or thin, make sure not to overfold or the cookies will deflate on you and will spread out to the side.

Deborah said...

What a lucky friend - these are just gorgeous!

chefectomy said...

Literally gorgeous!

--Marc

Jen Yu said...

Such a nice friend you are! I think you should (for her) make one that is blue - the color blue of a pool ;) You are such a maestra!

Maria said...

Every time I visit your blog I am blown away! You are amazing! This dessert is stunning!

Mobula said...

Just georgeous!!! they look fantastic and so delicious. Really, really a great job!!

Ana

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a gorgeous wedding treat this while be! I love the ribbon and fresh berries!

Alexa said...

I think I was eight the first time I tasted a berry charlotte... I still remember where it was, whose house it was and everything about that lovely afternoon at our friends' house.
I remember my life through food.:-)
Your friend Laura sounds like she is a riot to be around. And this Charlotte dessert looks amazing!!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I wish Laura all the best!
I remember the hard time I had choosing my wedding dress... And I did have some trouble with the shoes as well. ;)

These are adorable, Helen - such a sweet gesture!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What a yummy looking dessert! Still, I need to make or even just taste a charlotte! Beautiful job!

limonana said...

absolutely divine!

limonana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike of Mike's Table said...

Laura's lucky to have a friend like you--those are so intricately put together and look tremendous

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

How pretty. I'd have carried these down the aisle at my own wedding, but I doubt I would refrain from eating it before I reached the altar. :-D

You had me in stitches when I read that at least the groom is still "The Original One".

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Thanks for the photos- this looks too pretty to eat (almost!). Seems Charlottes are getting really popular again these days and I will have to try to make one myself. Thanks!

Leonor de Sousa Bastos said...

Your charlottes are super charming!! They're beautiful with the pink ribbon...

Can I untie one of those?
:)

Mallory Elise said...

oh my goodness. c'est trop. anything is better with coconut, i dont care what it is. i had a good friend at my foyer in paris named charlotte, i always wanted to make her a cake and say "how many times have you been given one of these!" this would be more perfect though--c'est petit et plus comme un cadeau.

Anna M. said...

You take the most delicious, beautiful pictures I have ever seen! =)

Esi said...

Your friend is so lucky for being able to have you make this beautiful dessert for her!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Simply stunning! They really do look like a basket of berries!

Zoe Francois said...

They are so romantic and beautiful!

michelle said...

This looks heavenly!

Amber said...

Okay, this is just flippin' gorgeous. Again, as always. You have an amazing talent.

That Girl said...

Hmmm next time I make individual charlottes I'm going to try this ring mold method.

SteamyKitchen said...

Bouquet of Berries! I love it. Sounds like a great title for a cookbook!

PheMom said...

Perfect! You are a genius - I can't believe how well you translated her wishes into such a lovely dessert.

Cakebrain said...

Gorgeous pics! I'm just so in love with your food styling! and I wouldn't mind a tasting your desserts in person one day!

Tartelette said...

Jaden: who knows...I might just use that title instead since we have not finalized one yet :)

Nirmala said...

What a delight for the eyes! It would have tasted wonderful1 No u'e reind is not crazy but intelligent enough to get your creativity triggers fort his wonderful dessert! thanks to her!

Nina Timm said...

I made desserts for 260 people on Wednesday...I wish you were there to help me....This is so beautiful and if your friend changes her mind about this one...send her to me!!!!

foodb!tch said...

I consistently feel the need to cry when I see your creations. They're so beautiful!!

diva said...

i want a bouquet of berries too! so beautiful. you are a genius...so talented. i'm always so inspired by your creations, tartelette :)

pea & pear said...

helen, this is gorgeous. I wish I could get married again just to incorporate these into my wedding reception!! yay for laura!!!
Ali

Eileen said...

How absolutely beautiful, Helen. Laura is a lucky girl to have you as a friend.

joanne at frutto della passione said...

How beautiful, what a lucky bride.

shiv said...

those are exquisitely gorgeous! so delicate!

Sandie said...

Gorgeous, I love it when a dessert (as well as a blog post) tells a good story!

farida said...

Simply put - GORGEOUS! Laura should be very happy about this dessert:) And she is lucky to have a friend like you:)))

Karina Allrich said...

Those beauties truly are the prettiest dessert I have ever seen! Absolutely gorgeous photography, too.

Cicada Studio said...

Your blog is beginning to convince me that my new "eating regimen" is terribly boring.

I am so happy to see the fabric is going to good use. :)

Lori said...

So feminine, light and colorful. By George, I think you nailed it!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh you nailed it alright!
Sounds like I would greatly enjoy Laura. I wish her a beautiful day, these desserts will be beautiful!

Hannah said...

Helen, I can't even put to words how beautiful this creation is! Seriously, what I would give to have your talent...

Teal Chic said...

This looks delicious!!!! I wish I was gifted in the food department!!!

Thip said...

This looks so cute, Helen.

Sunshinemom said...

From the time I turned vegan I haven't been able to try out much from your blog but I keep coming back for more stories and more pictures - and always go back contented:) Laura is lucky to have you making this for her!

BaL said...

Helen! This is such a marvellous one!

Let me know if Laura chages her mind just on time, and you are welcome to Istanbul for my wedding (probably on November) :)))

What a beautiful view!
I'm just focused, and can't move =p~

ParisBreakfasts said...

85!
And I'm the 85th commentor on this one.
Friend Laura is LOVED!!!
And you are a genius and St. Jean D'Arc to make all these.
I'm agog...
if there are any leftovers...ahem
worth getting married just to get 85 of these beauties!

Kate / Kajal said...

Those look gorgeous Helen ...very very pretty !

Vera said...

How incredibly lucky the bride! Charlottes are amazing!

Sandy Smith said...

Certainly an auspicious beginning to a lifetime relationship! What an absolutely incredible dessert. Stunning, really!!

amy said...

you are just... AMAZING! these are so perfect and teeny! what a lucky bride!

monica said...

Such little and sweet beauties!
I love your photos Tartelette!

Jaime said...

what a BEAUTIFUL dessert and lucky bride to be! :)

Valérie la gourmande bleue said...

une merveilleuse recette sublimée par des photos superbes

La cuisine des 3 soeurs said...

Rien que de regarder les photos, je me régale, je suis en train de devenir complètement accro.

Philo said...

C'est absolument magnifique !

sefa firdaus said...

Congrats for the first overall winner of DMBLGIT Oct 2008.

When I saw it, I knew that you'll win. It is so beautiful.

iva kentera said...

i just made these charlottes but as a single cake and not as separate cakes. i had some problems (not a strange thing). I'm new at cooking and baking but not afraid to try. So for future reference I would like to ask - shouldn't lady fingers be submerged into warm milk and Chambord or some such alcohol - I'm afraid that my will be dry! And i didn't put lady fingers on the bottom:((( is it unforgettable?

Helene said...

Iva: no, they should not submerge. They would disintegrate from being under that much liquid. If you mean lightly brushed or dipped in liquid, very little and very briefly then. Here it was not necessary because the filling softens the cake.

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