Monday, July 4, 2011

Charlotte Malakoff (Almond Cream Charlotte)

Here’s a dessert to celebrate a victory at war when the French captured a Ukrainian town in 1855. The Charlotte Malakoff has a fortress of ladyfingers protecting a kirsch-flavored almond cream decorated with Chantilly cream and berries. Dessert is worth celebrating; not war. Though I know my Charlotte would not be victorious since I am no pastry chef and took some liberties (well, actually I didn’t follow orders).

My first defeat was with the ladyfingers. Instead of saving the confectioner’s sugar to sprinkle on the piped fingers, I whisked both sugars with the egg whites and then folded in the yolks and flour. But I claim this as a victory since the ladyfingers survived and actually tasted yummy.

Without trouble, I whisked all the syrup ingredients together.

But the almond cream took a beating. Everything was going well at first. I softened the butter in the stand mixer and added the confectioner’s sugar, ground almonds and kirsch. But at this point, I forgot that I needed another ¾ cup of cream that was to be whisked to whipped cream status. Instead I proceeded to make the Chantilly cream and folded that in. So my almond cream had some extra vanilla and sweetness.

I admitted utter defeat when attempting to assemble this Malakoff. I dipped the cut ends of my less-than-perfect ladyfingers into the syrup and formed my weak fortress. I piped in my rogue almond cream (using a Ziploc bag and a fancy tip) and put it in the fridge where I hoped some magic would turn my unsightly Charlotte into a princess.

I surrender.

Recipe for Charlotte Malakoff (Almond Cream Charlotte)

Serves 6

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ cup cake flour, sifted
6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Sugar Syrup
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons kirsch
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Almond Cream
¼ pound unsalted butter
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
4 oz finely ground almonds (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons kirsch
¾ cup heavy cream

Chantilly Cream
¾ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

You can find the recipe for Charlotte Malakoff (Almond Cream Charlotte) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home.

Tasting Notes
A bit boozy, so next time I would half the kirsch or leave it out. This dessert is definitely best with fresh berries to cut the richness, but the ladyfingers are charming.

More Charlottes
• Whisk: Charlotte aux Pommes, Crème Anglaise au Rhum (Apple Charlotte with Rum-Flavored Crème Anglaise)
• Whisk: Charlotte aux pommes, crème anglaise au Calvados (Apple Charlotte served with Calvados custard sauce)
• Tartelette: Strawberry Tartelette
• Bake or Break: Chocolate Charlotte
• Cannelle et Vanille: Summer Berry Charlotte

Kitchen Simplicity: The Many Flavours of Whipped Cream

Next Time
Crème pâtissière (Pastry cream) in Crêpes Soufflées au Cointreau (Souffléed Crêpes Flamed with Cointreau) page 182

::Whisk Whenever::
I'm baking my way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, I try to find a suitable substitution.

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    Anh said...

    beautiful charlotte! I think this will be great served in glasses for party, too!

    EB of SpiceDish said...

    Not that the recipe doesn't look fantastic but where did you get the little metal cups with the heart-like handles??!

    Malak said...

    Love the crunch of the lady fingers with the softness of the cream -- thanks for the link to tips for whipped cream. Just what I needed!

    Caca said...

    what a lovely recipe