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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Berry Charlottes

Are you looking for a show-stopping dessert?  Something light and fresh?  Look no further.  These individual berry charlottes fit the bill.  I have always, always wanted to make a charlotte.  They are so beautiful and seemingly complex.  A dessert filled with mousse, topped with fresh berries and tied with a bow is right up my alley.  Over a year ago I purchased a regular charlotte mold as well as individual ring molds with this goal in mind.  What took me so long?  For one thing, I’ve never been extremely fond of lady fingers.  Up to this point the only kind I had tried were store bought, and those are nothing to write home about.  Mostly, I had just built these up in my head so much that I didn’t think the real life result would live up to my idea of them.

Finally, inspired by Valentine’s Day coming up and the fresh berries at the store, I decided it was time to get over my anxieties and just go for it.  I am so, so glad I did.  These individual desserts were lovely, light and refreshing.  It turns out homemade lady fingers are worlds better than the purchased variety.  (Though, don’t forget the step of sprinkling powdered sugar on them before baking!  They look much prettier than without the sugar.)  I am really excited to try more varieties of charlottes when other fruits are in season.  I think they would be an ideal Valentine’s Day dessert, but even more they call to mind an elegant bridal or baby shower.

On a related note, I must say how thrilled I am that my son is learning phrases like “ladyfingers”, “blackberry mousse” and “raspberry mousse”.  I have a very sophisticated two year old :)  He loved everything about these, the mousse in particular.  And I loved watching him enjoy it!

Individual Berry Charlottes
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Yield: 4-5 individual charlottes
Ingredients:

For the ladyfingers:
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the blackberry mousse:
½ cup strained blackberry puree
2 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. gelatin
1½ tsp. cold water
½ cup heavy cream

For the raspberry mousse:
½ cup strained raspberry puree
2 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. gelatin
1½ tsp. cold water
½ cup heavy cream

Fresh berries, for serving

Directions:
To make the lady fingers, place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until foamy.  Gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar, and continue whipping the egg whites until a stiff, glossy meringue forms.  Transfer the meringue mixture to a medium mixing bowl.  In the empty mixer bowl, now fitted with the flat beater, combine the egg yolks and granulated sugar.  Beat on medium speed until thick and pale yellow.  With a spatula, fold the egg yolk mixture into the meringue until smooth and blended, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.  Gently fold in the flour until no streaks remain.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Pipe the ladyfingers onto the prepared baking pans, about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.  Additionally, pipe small rounds for the bases of the charlottes (about 2½-3 inches in diameter).  Sprinkle additional confectioners’ sugar over the piped ladyfingers.  Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool on the pans 10-15 minutes, then remove the ladyfingers and cake bases to a wire rack to cool completely.  (Yield: approximately 36 ladyfingers plus 4 cake bases)

To make the blackberry mousse, combine the blackberry puree and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  While the mixture is heating, combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl to soften.  Once the fruit puree reaches a boil, remove from the heat.  Stir in the softened gelatin mixture.  Let cool to room temperature.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat!)  With a spatula, gently fold in the fruit puree until well mixed and no streaks remain.

To assemble the charlottes, place a cake disk inside the bottom of each 3-inch ring mold on a flat plate or baking sheet.

Line the edges of the mold with upright ladyfingers, flat sides facing toward the center.

With the blackberry mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip, pipe some of the mousse so that it comes approximately halfway up the height of the ladyfingers.  Transfer to the freezer to let the mousse set, about 30 minutes.

To make the raspberry mousse, combine the raspberry puree and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  While the mixture is heating, combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl to soften.  Once the fruit puree reaches a boil, remove from the heat.  Stir in the softened gelatin mixture.  Let cool to room temperature.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat!)  With a spatula, gently fold in the fruit puree until well mixed and no streaks remain.


Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the raspberry mousse.  Pipe a layer of the mousse into the center of the charlottes, leaving at least ½-inch of exposed ladyfingers to act as a rim for the berry topping.  Transfer the charlottes to the refrigerator to chill the mousse until ready to serve.

Before serving, gently remove the ring molds from the charlottes.  Tie a decorative bow around the outside of each cake.  Top with fresh berries and serve chilled.

Source: adapted from Cannelle et Vanille

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    These are gorgeous, almost (just almost) too pretty to eat! Loving the shades of pink.

  • http://www.poiresauchocolat.net Emma @ Poires au Chocolate

    Gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to make charlottes too.

  • http://www.blueeyedbakers.com The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    Look how gorge those lovelies are! All those pinks…and the ribbons! So beautiful…and such nice names…ladyfingers, charlottes, mousse…just divine!

  • Posti4

    Annie you did a beautiful job here! Two questions for you what #tip did you use and do you have a picture of the piped batter? i would like to see them before you baked. Thanks!

  • http://l-mocooks.blogspot.com Lauren (L-Mo Cooks)

    Well now I want to go and buy some Charlotte molds. William-Sonoma is going to love me from all of the gear I want to buy!

  • http://blognewblack.com Blog is the New Black

    These are simply stunning! THe colors would be great for a baby shower for someone having a girl ;)! Did i miss the part about the cake discs… did you just make a cake and cake them with the ring molds to fit?

  • http://sammys-scrappy-craft-blog.blogspot.com/ Samantha H.

    Wow these look amazing! I’ve never heard of a Charlotte but they look soooo yummy!

    Samantha x

  • Erin

    These are so beautiful! I know my husband would love these because he loves fruit desserts.

  • http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com Lauren

    These charlottes are gorgeous! They’re one of those desserts that are almost too beautiful to eat, but I’m sure they taste fantastic ;). I love that you included a recipe for homemade lady fingers, because I’ve been wanting to make tiramisu for ages and have been less than thrilled with the idea of using the store-bought variety. I also love that Andrew is learning sophisticated culinary terms!

  • http://www.theculinaryenthusiast.blogspot.com Karla

    Just last week I was searching for a recipe for homemade ladyfingers as one of my cooking goals this year is to make tiramisu (with homemade mascarpone cheese!). I had never considered charlottes before, but now, I just might! Looks amazing!

  • http://www.easyeverydayeats.com Erin

    These are so cute! I can’t wait to try them. They would also be adorable for a baby or bridal shower! Great idea :)

  • http://melskitchencafe.com Melanie

    Those are absolutely stunning! I also can’t believe how perfect and uniform your whole ladyfingers look. Fantastic!

  • http://mrsmulfordscakes.blogspot.com/ Pauline

    I came back to bake the heart cookies only to be met with more deliciousness, lovely photography too.

  • http://Theboysmademedoit.blogspot.com Cara

    These are absolutely gorgeous! and Way to go Andrew!

  • Annie

    The tip I used is unlabeled, which is why I didn’t provide the number. It doesn’t really matter, just a general size is fine. I do not have a photo before baking.

  • Annie

    I included the info about the cake discs in the recipe. You might just need to look through the instructions again.

  • http://www.familyspice.com Laura @ Family Spice

    Absolutely gorgeous! I never heard of a ‘charlotte’ until now. I will definitely try these!

  • http://www.kyleecooks.blogspot.com Kylee

    OMG. Those look like they are to die for!

  • http://www.j3nn.net J3nn (Jenn’s Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    Wow, those are lovely! I love the colors and berries. Gorgeous!

  • http://theblissfulbaker.wordpress.com Justeen @ Blissful Baking

    Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful! My favorite coffee shop has a lovely white chocolate and berry charlotte that I love, and now I’m so excited to try making this at home!

  • http://www.branappetit.wordpress.com brandi

    If only I were coordinated enough to do this :) I’m sure mine would taste fine, but I doubt they would come out looking like this.

  • http://theavidappetite.com Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    Wow, I had never even heard of these but they look fantastic! Delicious and beautiful :)

  • http://foodieslearningcurve.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    What an impressive looking dessert! Kudos!

  • http://www.plumpiecooks.com Brooke at Plum Pie

    GORGEOUS photos!

  • http://tastyeasyhealthygreen.com sally

    Beautiful! These are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  • http://eatgood4life.blogspot.com Eat Good 4 Life

    Very colorful cool dessert. Refreshing to say the least :-) I really like it :-)

  • sue

    Berry pretty!

  • Tan

    Annie – beautiful pictures and recipe. I’m wondering where you purchased your ring molds and how tall they are? Thanks!

  • Annie

    They are from Sur La Table. I don’t remember exactly how tall they are, but they are shorter than they are wide and they are 3 inches wide.

  • http://www.thecurvycarrot.com Shanon

    Whoah! Amazing! So pretty and elegant! No wonder you were so excited about these, Annie!

  • http://www.6bittersweets.com Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    Wow these are beautiful. Great treat for your sweetie :).

  • http://smalltownoven.wordpress.com Sharlene

    These are so beautiful! I love the two flavors of mousse.

  • http://www.who-rescued-who.blogspot.com Leslie

    I just found your blog and boy! am I glad I did! This dessert looks amazing. Because I’m always looking for ways to repurpose stuff, I was wondering if I could use a small can as a mold? Maybe a tuna can with built up sides? Put the lady fingers around and then surround the sides with maybe a cardboard ring or something like that? What do you think? I can see myself now, walking through the grocery store aisles, looking for a perfectly sized “Charlotte Mold.” Thanks for this recipe. I’m gonna give it a try.

  • http://blognewblack.com Blog is the New Black

    Unable to reply to my comment earlier for some reason but I finally found it! I had to read it a few times. ;) Great job!

  • Annie

    I’m sure you could fashion your own ring molds. If you have ramekins, those would also probably work (I have done that in the past and lined with a taller piece of parchment paper).

  • Jessica

    Such a cute idea! If I make these a day ahead of time, do you think the lady fingers will get to soggy?

  • Annie

    Yes, they will lose their texture the longer they are in contact with the mousse. We had some a day or two after I first made them, and they were not as good as those I made the same day. (Still tasted great but the lady finger texture was blah.)

  • http://goodthymesandgoodfood.blogspot.com Rachel

    These look beautiful!!

  • http://www.cakestory.blogspot.com CakeStory

    Fancy! Oh, now I can do something with my leftover store bought (shhh) ladyfingers I used for tiramisu. I tried making my own but they were really ugly :( You did a beautiful job with them!

  • http://flourdusted.blogspot.com/ briarrose

    Charming dessert. No one could resist these.

  • Mellybrown

    These look perfect for my sister’s Berry Sweet baby shower we will be having this summer. I’m thinking I’m just going to buy some PVC pipe and cut that to make the molds. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://pinkparsleycatering.blogspot.com Josie

    I am so in love with these, Annie. Just gorgeous!

  • http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Oh wow, Annie, these are just so elegant! What a lovely dessert to enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Your two Valentines (hubby and son) are very lucky!

  • http://thiswomancooks.blogspot.com/ Christina

    Wow, Annie, you continue to amaze me with such beautiful desserts. Perfect for Valentine’s and for Spring. I’ll be sure to bookmark these for later. :)

  • http://www.who-rescued-who.blogspot.com Leslie

    Thanks so much, Annie!

  • Liddy

    Oh my goodness…those are perfectly lovely!!

  • http://innochkaskitchen.wordpress.com Inna

    Wow! Seriously, Wow! These are absolutely beautiful and look delicious!

  • http://www.delish-blog.com ashley

    these are absolutely beautiful!

  • http://iforgettoblogg.blogspot.com mylifebelike

    Annie these photos are so lovely. I’ve never seen these made before but I love blackberries so I will definitely have to make these sometime.

  • http://www.poiresauchocolat.net Emma @ Poires au Chocolate

    I’ve also used a Pringle crisps tube cut into rings and covered with cling film (to stop any crispy flavour getting onto the dessert) if that helps!

  • Amy

    Way to go Annie! These are just beautiful! I’ll put these on my to do list.

  • http://www.momsbyheart.net lori

    Wow! This is such an elegant dessert, perfect for Vday. Thanks for the recipe ;)

  • Annie

    Great idea! I think we all have lots of things in the kitchen that could probably function as ring molds.

  • http://sherrystartscooking.blogspot.com/ Sherry Greek

    Perfection! And sooo clever=)

  • http://www.melissascuisine.blogspot.com Melissa K

    This dessert makes me feel ready for Spring! Absolutely beautiful!

  • http://huntingfortheverybest.wordpress.com Dina

    adorable and delicious!

  • Rachel

    I just want to say how much I adore your blog. A friend linked me to one of your cupcake recipes since I’m always posting pictures of the ridiculous baked goods I make on facebook. When I realized you’re an MD, I nearly died. I’m in med school and am always ‘subjecting’ my classmates to my baking. You’re officially my baking role model. haha. Keep it up!

  • Fran

    Hi! I’m brazilian! I love all your recipes and pictures… but berry charlotes is so much beautiful!!! I’ll try!
    Thanks, Fran

  • Christine

    Incredibly beautiful! I’m going to rush out for the ingredients so I can try this. I just hope piping those ladyfingers won’t be a disaster…since discovering your blog last week, I have made so much (buns, cupcakes, eggs, pancakes, stroganoff), but my attempt to pipe frosting on a cupcake was hideous (didnt help that I used the wrong sized tip). I guess I just need to practice…with ladyfingers!

  • http://myhobbielobbie.blogspot.com/ Trisha

    What a delightful dessert. Looks amazing!

  • sweetestnicky

    Annie, you are my baking guru, so stunning. I attempted these after your post and mine turned out looking like a rickety shack, and yours are the trump tower!! So motivating to improve though. Thank you.

  • http://honeybeesweets.wordpress.com Honeybee Sweets

    These look to die for, Annie! You’ve really outdone yourself :)

  • http://www.dinnerwiththeshivers.blogspot.com Jessica

    Beautiful!! Now on my list of things to try!

  • http://casualbaker.blogspot.com Sheena S.

    Simply stunning.

  • sally

    hey! these look sooo good! i have a few questions: i dont eat gelatin because of religious reasons, so i was wondering if i could use fish gelatin? would it work the same? is there any anything else i could use instead?

  • Annie

    Please see my FAQ page regarding substitutions.

  • http://bigflavors.blogspot.com Ashley

    These are stunning!!! I love fresh berries, and this is so elegant. Can’t wait to try it out :)

  • Susie

    I am thinking about making these for my daughters first birthday, they look delicious! They would be perfect for my tea party theme. I know you said that the lady fingers lost flavor if made ahead with the mousse, but I was wondering about just the lady fingers? I was thinking of making them maybe 2 -3 days ahead.

    Also, I love your blog. Everything always looks delicious!

  • Annie

    They don’t lose flavor ahead, they just get soggy if they are assembled in advance. I think they would probably be okay if made a day or two in advance, but if it is more than that I would probably freeze them. Good luck!

  • http://www.thedailypalette.com Annapet

    What pretty delicious treats! Will try to make lady fingers today!

  • Bret

    I purchased a 3″x24″ mailing tube from Staples for $2.99 and cut it into 3″x3″ sections. They work great lined with parchment paper.

  • http://annie'seats trish wright

    fell in love w/ annie’s eats when i made the lemon poppy seed red raspberry curd deliciously yummy cake for a co-worker bday! what a hit…now it’s time for my daughter in law to be’s bridal shower. how perfect are these charlottes? i live in santa fe, nm, around 7,000ft and my ladyfingers are as flatter than a dime. reducing the sugar is the only hi altitude adjustment that i think applies.
    pretty frustrating.
    just wondering if anyone has any advice for hi alt ladyfingers?
    thx

  • THEEYESEES

    Love stuffed mushrooms….and these were the BEST OF THE BEST.

  • Devineliman

    Just tried your recipe for Lady Finger….. It was awesomee…. so soft, yet a little crispy on the surface…. thank you……

  • http://www.festivepartyideas.com/ Festive Party Girl

    These are so cute. They would be awesome at Tiramisu Charlottes too. Yummy!

  • Milly

    how long would these stay for in the fridge? i am thinking about making them for an engagement party and would love to know if i could make them up to a day in advance. do you think the mouse would make the lady fingers soggy? would love to know what you think! these look simply beautiful!

  • annieseats

    Yes, they’ll definitely be soggy. I wouldn’t fill them more than an hour or two in advance.

  • http://www.countrycleaver.com/ Megan {Country Cleaver}

    These are quite possibly the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen! I tried to make an apple charlotte, and it was an unmitigated disaster! I will have to try again, maybe with this version :) Beautiful Annie, just beautiful!

  • http://www.bebjebenthe.blogspot.com/ Benthe

    i’m making these right now. already made a large charlotte before but never small ones. i don’t have 4 3 inch rings so I just used really small bowls, a little different effect but very easy. i’ll let you know if they worked out

  • Nananana

    wow……………………

  • Gretchen Cyros

    Hi! These are adorable! I would love to make them for a surprise party I’m hosting, but one question – do you think the lady fingers would freeze? I would love to make them ahead of time! Thanks!

  • annieseats

    I haven’t frozen these but I believe you could freeze them with no problem.

  • Susan

    Hi Annie!

    I am planning to make this recipe for a Bridal Shower and I had one quick doubt. for the fruit purees, do you use fresh fruit, puree and then strain?

    Thank so much! Love your recipes and always keep coming back here!

  • annieseats

    You’ve got it! Enjoy – these are fun to make.