“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” –Ellis Peters
Looking for a make-ahead, no-bake, showstopping spring dessert? Look no further. This strawberry charlotte is it! The lovely pink color comes from puréed strawberries which are passed through a sieve to give the filling a luscious, velvety texture. The lady finger cookies are dipped in a lemon simple syrup giving the cake a fresh burst of flavor. Easy to make, the cake looks sensational and tastes, well, like a slice of heaven!
Charlotte aux fraises
Adapted from Ricardo Cuisine
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons gelatin
- 6 tablespoons cold lemon syrup
- 1 1/2 cups strawberry purée
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup 35% cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 hulled fresh strawberries
- 2 3-oz packages of soft ladyfinger cookies
In a saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of water with the sugar and lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining water and mix well. Cool. The simple syrup can be made ahead several days.
To yield 1 1/2 cups of strawberry purée, place 4 cups of strawberries in the food processor and purée until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove the seeds. Can be made a day ahead of the cake assembly.
In a saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon syrup and let bloom for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of strawberry purée, 3/4 cup of sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the gelatin has dissolved. Let cool and stir in the remaining strawberry purée.
In a bowl, whip the cream with the remaining sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture, using a spatula. Set aside.
Line the bottom of a 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Line the edge with a strip of parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking to the sides.
Quickly dip enough cookies to go around the pan and place them upright, flat side inward, along the inner walls of the pan. Quick dip the rest of the cookies in the syrup then tear them into smaller pieces to cover the bottom of the pan. Pour the strawberry filling in. Garnish the top with the strawberries. I sliced mine thick and created a floral pattern with the fruit slices. You can use the strawberries whole, pointed side up for a more classic look. You will need about 2 cups of fresh hulled berries if using them whole. Gently cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.