Charlotte au Chocolat

A delectable chocolate custard set in a mould lined with sponge fingers, Charlotte au Chocolat (shahr-lot oh shoh-koh-lah)

is a dessert that makes a perfect ending for a

dinner party menu. Charlotte au Chocolat may be decorated with whipped cream and grated chocolate before serving.

6 oz. castor sugar 8 large egg yolks

½ teaspoons cornflour 6 oz. plain cooking

chocolate melted in

1

½ pints

scalded milk

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

8 oz. unsalted butter 6 oz. ground almonds

2 teaspoon almond essence

3 fl. oz. plus

1 tablespoon rum

3 fl. oz. water 36 sponge finger biscuits

First prepare the creme anglaise. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a wire whisk. Beat for 2

to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon trail on itself when the whisk is lifted.

Beat the cornflour into the mixture. Slowly pour the chocolate-flavoured milk on to the egg yolks mixture, beating

constantly.

Pour the mixture into a large saucepan and place it over very low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture slowly and continuously until it is just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Do not let the custard reach simmering point or it will curdle.

Remove the pan from the heat. Leave the custard for 1 to 2 minutes and then pour it through a strainer into a large mixing

bowl. Beat in the vanilla essence.

Place the bowl in a pan of cold water and stir the custard until it is cool. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter and ground almonds together with a wooden spoon.

Remove the chilled custard from the refrigerator and slowly beat it into the almonds and butter mixture. Beat the almond

essence and 1 tablespoon of rum into the mixture.

Pour the remaining rum and the water into a shallow bowl. Dip the sponge fingers into the liquid, one at a time, and place them on a rack to drain.

Line a 3-pint mould with greaseproof or waxed paper. Cut some of the sponge fingers into a design of wedges to fit the bottom of the mould. Lay the fingers in the mould, curved sides down to cover the bottom. Arrange some more sponge fingers

upright round the mould, their curved sides against the mould.

Pour the mixture into the lined mould, alternating with layers of the remaining sponge fingers. With a sharp knife, trim the sponge fingers round the top of the mould and press the trimmed-orT pieces into the top of the mixture. Cover the mould with greaseproof or waxed paper and place a plate or saucer over the paper, with a weight on top.

Place the mould in the refrigerator to chill and leave it for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Remove the mould from the refrig-

erator and remove the weight, plate and paper from the top of the mould. Place a serving plate upside down over the mould.

Holding the plate and mould firmly together, reverse them, shaking the mould slightly. The Charlotte will then slide out

on to the plate. Refrigerate the Charlotte until you are ready to serve it.

A rich and impressive dessert for a dinner party, Charlotte aux Framboises is surprisingly easy to prepare.

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