Monthly Miette – Strawberry Charlotte
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It’s Monthly Miettes time again! Reflecting the name of the book and pastry shop, this month’s challenge is Strawberry Charlotte, a delightful little combination of cake and mousse that is almost too pretty to eat! Although I am no stranger to mousses (!), I had never made a strawberry charlotte before, so was, once again looking forward to July’s recipe. Monthly Miettes is a baking challenge hosted by Aimee at Food Je t’Aimee that involves us baking a recipe she picks out every month from this dainty book called Miette. We don’t publish the recipes, in the hope that you will pick up a copy of the book yourself. Go on, you know you want to!
My first thought on reading the recipe was that a 6 inch cake wasn’t going to go very far at all, look at the picture people and tell me – cake and mousse in one – 6 inches? Uh, uh! So, what does one do? Yup, I converted it to an 8 inch cake, marginally better, I suppose! Let’s face it, my father in law alone, will finish the 6 incher! I know you’re listening, Dad!
Now, the strawberry charlotte has 3 components – white cake, strawberry mousse and sponge fingers. Meg uses a hot milk cake recipe for the white cake. This got me really excited as once again, I find us having common ground, as I have my own hot milk cake, although I’ve always just called it milk cake. I use evaporated milk in mine and heat it with the butter to combine the two. What I don’t do is heat the eggs and sugar, so, I was curious to see what Meg’s was going to be like. Despite thinking that there was a whole lot of sugar going in there, I tell you, for a plain white butter cake, it’s one of the best I have ever had, perfect density with not a trace of grease! It was soo good, I had to remind myself that I needed the rest for the charlotte!
Now the strawberry mousse. I love mousses in all shapes and forms and I love gelatine as I use it to replace eggs in many recipes so my girls who are allergic to eggs can enjoy some different desserts. Meg’s strawberry mousse didn’t disappoint, it was light, fresh and just the right amount of sweet. Probably its best selling point? I think it’s idiot proof! So much so that it’s going to be one of the recipes in my holiday cookery classes in August!
Finally, my least favourite, the sponge fingers. As Meg describes them, they’re utilitarian. I find them BORING! Making them was again a straight forward affair, I made mine fairly thin by using a flat nozzle as I didn’t fancy thick fingers around the charlotte. My 11 year old piped most of them out. My 8 year old made the strawberry mousse – maybe I ought to rename my blog?! Oh, for the first time in living memory, we didn’t have any icing sugar in the house, so, we resorted to sprinkling golden caster sugar on the fingers, after a very lengthy discussion!
Here comes the exciting part – putting it all together. I took 2 days to make mine as I just couldn’t find all that time in a single day! I had actually started with the mousse some weeks back, decided that I couldn’t go through with it time wise, so, we had it for dessert with friends who came over to watch the Wimbledon final! It went down a treat! I even combined it with some mascarpone panna cotta for a totally awesome dessert! Recipe for the mascaporne panna cotta coming soon, I promise!
One of the reasons I like Miette is that everything is laid out for you and Meg assumes that the reader has no previous experience which I think is a good selling point for any cookbook. Having said that, the over detailed instructions do irritate (for lack of a better word!) me somewhat because I find that some of the steps can be shortened or simplified, BUT that’s my problem, not the book’s! Putting the charlotte together was a lot of fun, using a loose bottomed pan makes it easier and you can easily shave off an hour on both the mousse and the fingers setting. Oh, I didn’t bother with the syrup as I had some homemade strawberry jam and decided to use that instead.
The final verdict? It really is an awesome dessert, everyone who tried it awarded it 10/10 and I reckon it’s something I am going to be making again and again – and again! So, thanks (again?!) Aimee and Miette, for allowing me to expand my repertoire so effortlessly and deliciously, 3rd month running!
Fancy joining us? Buy a copy of Miette (Amazon stocks them) & drop Aimee a line at Food, Je t’Aimee, simple as that!
PS: That little offering to The Gods? It worked! We have been having scorchers since Sunday!
Back to my Iced Coffee!