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Toasted Coconut And Berries Charlottes

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

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Botacook September 22, 2008 um 7:33 am

Très joli et très photogénique – en plus, j’adore les framboises 🙂

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 7:35 am

beautiful as usual!

Manggy September 22, 2008 um 7:54 am

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 September 22, 2008 um 8:11 am

Perfect and amazingly beautiful, as always!



Peabody September 22, 2008 um 8:14 am

Wow, those look so beautiful!

nikkita September 22, 2008 um 8:47 am

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

Finla September 22, 2008 um 8:51 am

Thankgod laura didn’t change hermind about jason 🙂
Love the charlotte.
Looks so beautiful.

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 9:12 am

such a pretty dessert !! love it 😉

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 9:18 am

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

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 9:23 am

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 September 22, 2008 um 10:23 am

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

Cannelle Et Vanille September 22, 2008 um 11:12 am

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

peachey September 22, 2008 um 11:17 am

how absolutely lovely.

Bridget September 22, 2008 um 11:29 am

These are just gorgeous! 🙂

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 12:12 pm

Mmmm looks and sounds heavenly! Yummmmm I want!

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 12:43 pm


Bonbon Oiseau September 22, 2008 um 12:57 pm

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

LizNoVeggieGirl September 22, 2008 um 1:09 pm

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

Gorgeous Charlottes!

Helene September 22, 2008 um 1:10 pm

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

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 1:47 pm

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?!

• friX • September 22, 2008 um 1:54 pm

Amazing ! I wouldn’t mind those at my wedding, either 🙂

Helene September 22, 2008 um 2:01 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 2:04 pm

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

Flo Bretzel September 22, 2008 um 2:25 pm

Wonderful Charlotte!

Cookie baker Lynn September 22, 2008 um 2:25 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 2:38 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 2:41 pm

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

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 3:15 pm

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

Breadpitt September 22, 2008 um 3:33 pm

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

Dewi September 22, 2008 um 3:45 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 4:07 pm

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

Mary September 22, 2008 um 4:07 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Clumbsy Cookie September 22, 2008 um 4:08 pm

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!

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 4:17 pm

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.

Deeba PAB September 22, 2008 um 4:24 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 4:31 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 5:04 pm

These are the sweetest things I’ve ever seen!

Helene September 22, 2008 um 5:04 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 5:22 pm

What a lucky friend – these are just gorgeous!

Anonymous September 22, 2008 um 5:27 pm

Literally gorgeous!


Jen Yu September 22, 2008 um 5:50 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 5:55 pm

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

anadelicias September 22, 2008 um 6:36 pm

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


My Sweet & Saucy September 22, 2008 um 6:53 pm

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

Alexa September 22, 2008 um 6:57 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 7:25 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 7:48 pm

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

limonana September 22, 2008 um 7:57 pm

absolutely divine!

limonana September 22, 2008 um 7:57 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Mike of Mike's Table September 22, 2008 um 8:26 pm

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

The Short (dis)Order Cook September 22, 2008 um 8:54 pm

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. 😀

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

Anne September 22, 2008 um 9:00 pm

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 September 22, 2008 um 9:18 pm

Your charlottes are super charming!! They’re beautiful with the pink ribbon…

Can I untie one of those?

Mallory Elise September 22, 2008 um 9:23 pm

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. September 22, 2008 um 10:45 pm

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

Esi September 22, 2008 um 10:47 pm

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

Susan @ SGCC September 22, 2008 um 10:54 pm

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

Zoe Francois September 22, 2008 um 11:29 pm

They are so romantic and beautiful!

Michelle {lovely little things} September 23, 2008 um 1:30 am

This looks heavenly!

Amber September 23, 2008 um 2:15 am

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

That Girl September 23, 2008 um 2:21 am

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

SteamyKitchen September 23, 2008 um 3:52 am

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

PheMom September 23, 2008 um 4:04 am

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

Cakebrain September 23, 2008 um 4:12 am

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!

Helene September 23, 2008 um 4:44 am

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

Nirmala September 23, 2008 um 4:50 am

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 September 23, 2008 um 6:06 am

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!!!!

pink-kimono September 23, 2008 um 9:40 am

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

Anonymous September 23, 2008 um 11:43 am

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 and Pear September 23, 2008 um 12:26 pm

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

Eileen September 23, 2008 um 12:36 pm

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

Anonymous September 23, 2008 um 1:38 pm

How beautiful, what a lucky bride.

Anonymous September 23, 2008 um 4:28 pm

those are exquisitely gorgeous! so delicate!

Sandie September 23, 2008 um 7:08 pm

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

Anonymous September 23, 2008 um 10:47 pm

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

K Allrich September 23, 2008 um 10:59 pm

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

Michelle Engel Bencsko September 24, 2008 um 12:02 am

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 September 24, 2008 um 2:10 am

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

MyKitchenInHalfCups September 24, 2008 um 2:57 am

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

Anonymous September 24, 2008 um 3:46 am

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

Teal Chic September 24, 2008 um 6:21 am

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

Thip September 24, 2008 um 7:02 am

This looks so cute, Helen.

Sunshinemom September 24, 2008 um 9:13 am

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!

Le Flâneur Novice September 24, 2008 um 10:15 am

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 September 24, 2008 um 3:25 pm

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!

Kajal@aapplemint September 24, 2008 um 4:03 pm

Those look gorgeous Helen …very very pretty !

Vera September 24, 2008 um 4:22 pm

How incredibly lucky the bride! Charlottes are amazing!

Sandy Smith September 25, 2008 um 3:11 am

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

montague September 25, 2008 um 9:33 pm

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

Mónica Pinto September 26, 2008 um 3:18 pm

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

Jaime September 28, 2008 um 5:56 am

what a BEAUTIFUL dessert and lucky bride to be! 🙂

Anonymous September 29, 2008 um 9:39 pm

une merveilleuse recette sublimée par des photos superbes

La cuisine des 3 soeurs October 3, 2008 um 9:18 am

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

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire October 7, 2008 um 8:19 pm

C’est absolument magnifique !

sefa firdaus November 2, 2008 um 7:09 pm

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 November 16, 2011 um 9:15 pm

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 November 17, 2011 um 11:17 pm

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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