When I found the Italian recipe for minestrone the other day, I also came across a day planner from 1972 that was given to my grandparents by some of their friends. It contains recipes (written in English) and black and white pictures of places in Italy. I haven’t looked at it for a while, but decided to thumb through it a bit, and came across several recipes that sounded fun to try: risottos and pastas, fried artichoke hearts, and soups. And then I came across one that I wasn’t too sure of. A Charlotte, but not just that…one that used hard-boiled egg yolks. I’ve never come across a recipe like this and it sounded interesting, if not just a little strange. I tried to coax my daughter Corinne into making it, as we often cook together on Zoom lately (as she lives with her husband in San Diego). But she didn’t have any gluten free lady fingers which it required and neither of us were up to the task of making them (we had already spent time making gluten free pizza dough). So, I attempted the recipe on my own, a little weary of what it would turn out like. The original recipe was soaked lady fingers (in rum), and lining the bottom of the pan with I them, and topped with a vanilla rum cream, with butter and sugar, and the egg yolks. I started the recipe, creaming some butter and a sugar, then creaming in the “hard-boiled” (although I made them on the softer side, 8 minutes in boiling water) egg yolks, rum and vanilla, adjusting measurements as I went. At this point the cream was supposed to be layered on top of the rum soaked lady fingers, but it just didn’t look right to me, (it was very bright yellow), so I added in a bit of heavy cream, and some melted Guittard chocolate (once you add good quality chocolate it definitely will taste better! I have never made a Charlotte, but I knew they had lady fingers around the circumference of the “cake”, so I went ahead and had just the right amount of gluten free lady fingers after cutting them in halves! Perfect. You could let the ladyfinger rise over the filling quite a bit more if you use full length ladyfingers. I spooned the cream in and tucked some rinsed and dried blackberries into the top of the cream. Voila! Into the fridge it went once it got a piece of cellophane over the top. After dinner, I got it out and removed it by pulling up on the cellophane that lined the pan (no removable pan this size in my kitchen supplies). Then I wrapped a ribbon and dusted with cacao powder and powdered sugar. This is a super easy and pretty (and no baking) dessert. It looks like a party! I couldn’t get Paul to try it, because of the chocolate, but it definitely did not taste like hard boiled eggs! Just like a firm chocolate dark mousse inside, and then the hint of rum and sweetness of the lady fingers.
Gluten Free Charlotte with Dark Chocolate Cream and Blackberries
3 tablespoons softened butter
1/8 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks (from 8 minute boiled eggs, heat off sitting untouched in boiling water)
½ cup Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (these are gluten free) or equivalent chocolate, 65% cacao
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon vanilla, gluten free
Bottom and sides of pan:
3 tablespoons of rum
1 ½ – 5.3 oz. packages Schar Gluten Free Ladyfingers (approximately, depending on your pan size)
Top with berries of your choice
Dust with powdered sugar and cacao powder, gluten free
To prepare ~
- Get you removable spring form pan (or cake pan) ready. Line the 6 or 7 inch pan with parchment circle to fit the bottom and parchment to fit the sides of the pan. Or you can line the entire cake pan with cellophane leaving an overhang to be able to lift the Charlotte out. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using whisk attachment, on medium for a few minutes and until combined. Add the cooked egg yolks and continue to cream together. Add the melted chocolate beating on high to until smooth. Add the heavy cream, beating until fluffy. Add the rum and the vanilla.
- For the bottom of the pan, next pour the ¼ cup of rum into a flat bowl. Dip a ladyfinger into the rum for a few seconds, turning over to dip the other side, then lay in your parchment or cellophane lined pan. Continue to dip and lay the ladyfingers like this, breaking them as needed to fit into the bottom of the pan. Be sure to leave a ½ inch edge around the pan to fit the ladyfinger that will stand on its edge. Fill the center with the cream and smooth, bringing over the touch the insides of the ladyfingers. Top with berries.
- Cover with cellophane and refrigerate for 4 hours or until chilled.
- Remove the Charlotte by either removing the bottom of the spring pan or pulling up on the cellophane gently the cake pan does not have a removable bottom. Plate and decorate with a ribbon and a dusting of powdered sugar or cacao powder.