Charlotte is one of the fancy dessert recipes you hear about but are too intimidated to try out the at home. That goes especially for its French cousin Charlotte Russe which is like a step above. However, in the 21st century, most of these desserts no longer require conventional formulas for success. If you have ever dreamed of making your very own Charlotte Russe, stop dreaming and read on.

WTH is a Charlotte

The biggest problem most newbies face when making this dessert is deciphering exactly what it is. That's understandable given that it consists of other desserts put together and they can vary given there are different types of Charlotte out there.

To simplify, Charlotte is a type of icebox cake that's chilled in a round mold. It's made by lining the insides of the mold with ladyfingers, then filling the center with custard or whipped cream and topping it with fresh fruit or preserve.

So what's a Charlotte Russe? This is a variation that uses a Bavarian cream as its filling as opposed to the usual custard. This is made by thickening the cooked sauce with gelatin, then lightening it with whipped cream/egg whites. It sounds tough but it doesn't have to be. In fact, no cooking is involved with the recipe and you won't have to skim through all of the recipes of every component I've already shared here.

The simplest Charlotte Russe

First, let's tackle the ladyfingers.

Instead of going off to read a recipe for baking some (e.g. this one here), save yourself the time buy buying a pack of them at your grocery store; preferably one with 20 to 24 biscuits. Now comes the tough part.: The bavarian cream must be whipped up but this is simplified with a simple hack.

Instead of a custard, use a pack of pudding mix for your Charlotte Russe.

It comes with its own thickener, sweetener, and flavor for the job. However, take note that the flavor of the filling comes down to that of the pudding. For this recipe, some vanilla pudding was chosen. Now for the hack to work, the pudding must be combined with whipped cream to lighten it. If the consistency of the cream feels off to you, don't worry.

It can be adjusted with some milk by the tablespoon.

And finally, the fruit you choose can be either fresh or frozen. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apricot, or cherries. Take your pick. Just make sure it goes well with the pudding mix's flavor chosen. For example, a chocolate pudding should only have fruit with raspberries, strawberries, pineapples, and cherries.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack (24 biscuits) processed ladyfingers
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 1 pack (3.5 oz) pudding mix (vanilla or another flavor of choice)
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 2 cups of fruit of choice

Directions:

  1. Unpack and separate the Ladyfingers. Use them to line the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Break some if you have to fit in the bottom.
  2. Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and whip with an electric mixer set to high speed until stiff and stop. Do not over whip or it will form into butter. Add the pudding mix and whip on low speed until fully combined.
  3. For adjustment, whisk in the milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Pour the finished Bavarian Cream into the center of the springform pan and smooth the surface flat with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Line the surface with the fruit of your choice.
  5. Seal and refrigerate until firm before serving.

Serves: 12

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