I can remember it so well when my mum made a Charlotte Cake for me. It totally blew me away. I was so impressed by the cake with the beautiful ribbon around it. I made my own version of a Charlotte as I am not such a big fan of lady fingers anymore. As I also wanted to make it specially for the holiday season, I wanted to make a version with meringue. As Christmas without meringue, just isn't Christmas for me.
It is quite a difficult cake to make, but there are a few ways to make it easier. For one...just use lady fingers instead of meringue. The other tip is to make all the components beforehand and assemble it just before you serve it.
For the meringues
3 eggwhites (100 grams)
150 grams fine sugar
100 grams of icing sugar
pinch of salt
For the sponge cake
100 grams sugar
60 grams flour
20 grams cornflour
pinch of salt
For the red wine pear bavarois
12 Gieser Wilderman pears or Conference pears (but more is always good)
1 liter red wine
3 cinnamon sticks
70 grams sugar
6 gelatine leaves
100 ml of pear juice
3 egg whites (or 90 grams)
pinch of salt
100 grams sugar
1 table spoon sugar
150 ml cream
half a teaspoon cinnamon powder
70 grams of melted chocolate
a nice ribbon
Fresh whipped cream (optional)
Silver candy balls (optional)
A dash of cinnamon liquor (optional)
Make the meringue
Put the egg whites with a pinch of salt in your mixer and start whisking at the highest pace.
When fluffy clouds start to form, start adding the sugar slowly spoon by spoon. It is important that the sugar is dissolved before adding a new spoon.
When all the sugar is added whisk it a little bit longer until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Take the bowl from the kitchen machine and slowly fold in the sifted powdered sugar with a silicone spatula
Put the mixture in a piping bag
Take a oven tray lined with parchment paper. If you are not very consistent in piping the meringue (like I am), just put some markers on the parchment paper with a pencil. They should get about 3 cm wide and 15 cm high. Pipe about 20 'lady fingers'.
Use the bottom of the springform pan and mark round it with a pencil. Remove the paper and pipe the rest of the meringue in the circle, outside in.
I had quite some meringue left and also made small meringue 'lady fingers' and a small meringue bottom.
Put the meringues in a preheated oven at 110 degrees celsius for about an hour. They are ready when they easily come of the parchment paper without breaking.
Make the sponge cake
Break the eggs into the bowl of the kitchen machine and add the sugar. Whisk for 20 minutes until the mixture is fluffy.
Fold in the sifted flour and cornflour
Put the mixture in a greased springform pan (the same as you as a template for the meringue base) and bake for 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 150 degrees Celcius.
Do not remove from the tin before the cake is totally cooled
Make the Red Wine Poached Pear Bavarois as described in the recipe.
Poach 4 more pears for decoration
Instead of putting it in ramequins, you use the same springform as you use for the sponge cake and as a template for the meringue. Line the bottom of the springform with clingfilm and wet the sides of the springform with cold water
Pour in the bavarois mixture and leave to cool in the refridgerator for at least 2 hours.
Assemble the Christmas Charlotte Cake
I advise you not to start this process more than 3 hours before serving it. You could already put together the cake and the bavarois but when you already use the meringue it will become too moist and fall apart.
Slice the sponge cake in two horizontally
Make a base of sponge cake, the big meringue bottom and the other slice of sponge cake
Add some christmas cheer with a splash of cinnamon liquor (optional)
Put the bavarois on top of the cake and meringue bottom
Melt the chocolate au bain marie
Take a meringue lady finger and brush some chocolate at the flat side, only at the bottom part. This will let it stick better to the cake. Stick it to the cake and repeat it until there are meringue lady all around the cake
Tie the ribbon nicely around it, making sure you don't break the meringue
Decorate (optionally) with a poached pear, whipped cream or anything else you like.
Serve it and enjoy!
Foodies Have Arrived wishes you a cheerful and tasty Christmas!