I know, this seems a little old-fashioned, but my hubby likes trifle, and I don’t like to make it. It just doesn’t look like you have gone to much effort, although they can look quite nice I think this version looks a whole lot nicer. A Charlotte is a lot like a trifle, with many similar ingredients. I know it looks difficult to make, but it isn’t really. If you can make a trifle from scratch, you can make this.
Wanna know how?
You need to make a thin sponge, spread it with a little jam, roll it up, cut it up and line it into a bowl.
Then you need to make a creme patisserie (thin custard) that you will help set with a little gelatin, add some fresh fruit and voila.
Anyway, I have put together a blow-by-blow instruction, and if you follow it, you will find loads of tips. Please don’t look at the length of the recipe and be put off. I like to give tips where others may assume you know or even to jog your memory on a technique. Who knows you might learn a quicker or better way to do something you regularly do in the kitchen.
First, you need to make your creme patissiere and set it aside to cool while you’re making the sponge.
My Recipe for Charlotte
- 75 g yolks (that will be around three eggs, save the whites for later use)
- 110 g castor sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 500 ml milk
- 60 g cornflour
- 3 gelatin leaves (soak in cold water)
- 130 g icing sugar
- 150 g Eggs (that would be 3 ish)
- 130 g Blanched Almonds (If you don't have a TM you need to use Almond meal here)
- 90 g Egg whites (That's about 3 eggs worth)
- 15 g Sugar
- 40 g Plain flour
- a handful of raspberries (optional)
- For the Creme Patissiere
Place all the ingredients except for the gelatin into the TM bowl and set to 90 c for ten mins speed 2. As soon as it is cooked remove it from the bowl and set aside. If you leave it in the bowl to long, it will start to set or curdle at the bottom. You don’t want that!
Wash out your TM bowl and pop it back in the cradle. Add the bloomed (wetted and wrung out) gelatin leaves set to 50 c /2 mins/speed 1. This should turn your gelatin into liquid ready to add to the custard. If it needs more time give it another minute you want it all dissolved, no lumps.
- Pour the custard back into the TM bowl and stir it on speed 4/5 seconds. Or you can do that the other way round either way you have to clean the TM bowl, I think the latter can be a problem for some making sure the gelatin is thoroughly mixed through.
- Set aside with cling film sitting on the surface of the custard to prevent a crust forming.
- I spray water on the trays before adding the baking sheet. This is all you will need to make it stick here.
- You need two trays lined and ready to go into the oven. One can be smaller than the other see pictures below.
- For the Jaconde
Preheat your oven to 180 c and line two trays. I spray water on the trays before adding the baking paper. This is all you will need to make it stick here.
- Weigh your blanched almonds into your TM bowl along with the Plain flour.
- Mill together on speed 9 for 20 seconds then set aside.
- In a clean, dry bowl add the whole eggs and icing sugar and pop the butterfly in place.
- Whisk on speed 4 / 2 mins
- Add the almond flour mixture and stir on reverse speed + 3 for 5 – 8 seconds till incorporated and then set aside.
- In a clean, dry bowl add the egg whites and sugar and whisk till they create soft peaks. In the TM with this amount of eggs, you can do it till it has stuck to the sides of the bowl without scraping.
- Fold the meringue mixture into the batter carefully so as not to lose any volume. You can do this by hand, or I just put the TM in reverse with the butterfly in and mix in on speed 2 until just combined. It won’t take long, so look in through the lid and stop it as soon as it’s cleared.
- This is where I pour my batter on one of the trays to make a round disk shape. This is going to be for the bottom of your Charlotte and with the rest, I fill a full tray for the swiss roll type sponge.
- Place in the oven and remove as soon as it is cooked. Don’t overcook your sponge or it will become dry and hard to roll later. I take mine out when I see the slightest bit of colour on the surface, but everyone’s ovens are different just keep an eye on it. You may also have to turn your trays half way through the baking. It won’t take long for it to cook so don’t go hang the clothes out or anything, 10 – 15 mins and you should be taking out your round disk.
While you’re baking your sponge you need to organise a couple of clean t-towels. I spray them with a little water, although you can sprinkle them with water from the tap. (I do recommend buying a water spray bottle. I use it for loads of things in the kitchen.) Your slightly damp T-Towels are used to put over your sponge when it comes out of the oven, this prevents it from crusting and drying out.
- So get ready, when they come out of the oven. The round one will have to come out first because it won’t take as long to cook. Sprinkle a little sugar over the surface and cover with your damp T-towel.
- Prepare your bowl mould for later use. Line a bowl with cling film. This is not a necessity if you like to live on the edge. It will help remove your Charlotte when it’s done and personally don’t want any extra cleanup, so I do it. Then set it aside.
- Then repeat with the long tray as soon as it is cooked.
- When your sponge has cooled enough to handle, flip the tray over and remove the paper gently. Get your jam ready and spread a thin layer, right across the surface.
- Turn the sponge, so the longest edge is closest to you, then use the edge of the tea towel to start the rolling. This way you will get less jam and sugar on your hands.
- If your sponge starts to crack it has dried out a bit too much. There’s not much you can do now, but next time, just make sure you don’t bake it too long, or maybe your T-towel wasn’t damp enough to trap in the moisture. Or you took too long taking photos lol.
- OK, so now you should have a long rolled up tube, cut into equal size portions. You want to make them about 1.5 to 2cm thick. If you cut them too thick, you won’t have enough to line your bowl, but if you cut them too thin, your lining will be too weak. So its best to stick to the measurements. 😉
- Fill the lined bowl with the sponge slices, butting each edge up to the next as tight as you can to prevent leaks.
- Check your custard. It should be cooled but if not pop it in the fridge for a further 10 mins.
- Pour your custard into the sponge lined mould, and if using, pop in your fresh fruit in now.
- Place the round sponge disk on the very top enclosing the Charlotte and wrap with a layer of cling film. (The extra cling film on top prevents other flavours from creeping in from the fridge, you don’t want a curry flavoured Charlotte!)
Set in the refrigerator for about 3 -4 hours or overnight.
- When you think your custard has set, upturn your bowl onto a plate. If you’re a bit scared, do it over the sink lol.
This needs to be eaten within a couple of days to be at its best. Cover it and pop it in the fridge. You don’t want it tasting like last nights curry.