Everyone who is familiar with Sydney and I know we love to have friends join us on a pleasurable, exciting culinary journey. I can’t help but think of a baton relay race, as I map the delectable experience. The importance that all the components are equally balanced and work together for a common goal. The journey begins with a visual lead, the artistry brings you towards the food. The “baton” is then passed to an aromatic aroma, which should entice your senses, you can almost taste the creation in front of you. The “baton is now handed to your palate, as the first bite is entertaining your taste buds, finally the “anchor” is in control and you are rewarded with an astonishing culinary memory. The end result is that we have shared an experience you will want to recreate again and again.
Entertaining friends is always exciting, this past week we were blessed with the opportunity to have a dear friend and her family visit us from Quebec. I was elated to catch up on old times with good food. Since Sydney had not yet had the opportunity to meet them in person, she had been skyping and facebooking with their children, but there is nothing like an actually visit. We anticipated the visit prior to their arrival, planning menus and activities.
With the temperature rising daily to the mid 90degrees F/36-38 degrees C I wanted to greet them with a refreshingly light afternoon Viennoiseries. Sydney and I wanted to create a Charlotte Russe. Traditionally a Charlotte Russe are lady fingers lined around a ring mold with crème pâstissière or crème anglaise in the center. Instead we decided to use a “Felxipan” charlotte mold, the lady fingers were transformed into a petit gâteaux with a strawberry lime crème mousseline and a strawberry-lime glaze drizzled over the top. The petit gâteaux resembled flowers.
Charlotte Russe with Strawberry-Lime Crème Mousseline:
165 grams/ 5 egg white
85 grams/ 5 egg yolks
150 grams/ 1/1/2-cups grams cake flour
125 grams/ 1-cup, plus 2-Tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Fragolli or strawberry extract
Prepare your mise en place, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F.
Sift the flour, and set aside.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, with the whisk attachment add the egg yolks 50 grams/ ¼-cup of sugar on medium-high speed. Whisk the egg yolks till they fall back on themselves in ribbons, have turned a pale yellow, and doubled in volume. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the warm water into the yolk mixture, raise the speed to medium-high again until the mixture has become thick and fall in ribbons.
In a VERY clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, of a standing mixer whisk egg whites and egg white powder on medium speed. Whisk the egg whites till soft peaks form and slowly add 50 grams/ ¼ -cup of sugar. Continue to whisk for about 2 more minutes or until medium peaks form. Once medium peaks have formed add the vanilla extract, fragolli (or strawberry extract), and 25 grams/ 2-Tablespoons of sugar; raise the speed to high till stiff peaks form.
Using a balloon whisk or rubber spatula carefully fold 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolks till combined, sift the flour over the batter, gently whisking till the flour is incorporated. Fold the remaining meringue into the batter without deflating the volume that has been created.
Pour the batter into the Flexipan charlotte molds, bake for about 15 minutes or until they are light golden brown and spring back when gently pressed.
Crème Pâtissière Pastry Cream:
78 grams/4 large egg yolks
100 grams/2 large egg
100 grams/3/4-cup of pastry cream powder, or cornstarch
256 grams/ 1 1/4-cups super fine sugar
980 grams/ 4 1/8-cups milk, whole
In a mixing bowl (preferably copper) place egg yolks, whole eggs, and pastry cream powder with half the sugar (68 grams). Whisk until the ingredients are well blended and lightly colored.
In a heavy saucepan place milk, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds, and the second half of the 68 grams of sugar. Place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat.
Take 1/3 of the hot milk mixture, in a steady stream, pour into the egg mixture (tempering the eggs), constantly whisking. Whisk the tempered mixture back into the milk pot.
Place the mixture over high heat and constantly whisking return to a boil. Continue boiling the pastry crème scraping the bottom and the sides, until thick and smooth.
Remove the crème from the heat, into a large bowl and allow the pastry crème to cool.
Cover the surface with the pastry cream with film, directly over the top.
1135 grams freshly made pastry crème
340 grams/ 1½-cups butter, room temperature and diced into cubes
Prepare your mise en place.
If the pastry crème is still very warm, place it in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat for two minutes to cool it slightly.
With the motor running add butter cubes, beating until completely incorporated and mixture is very light and fluffy, add Fragolli and lime essence. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.
The Crème Mousseline is ready for use.
Allow the charlottes to cool in the molds for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees C/ 300 degrees F. and Invert the charlottes on to a parchment paper line sheet pan, place the mousseline in a pastry injector, insert about 1-Tablespoon of mousseline into the top of charlottes prior to glazing.
2-Tablespoons Fragolli (Strawberry liqueur)
4 drops lime essence
120 grams, 1-cup powder sugar
2½ Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Place sugar in a bowl; add Fragolli, lime juice, lime essence, vanilla seeds, and vanilla whisk the ingredients together. Pour the glaze on the cooled charlottes and put in the 300 degree oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 2 minutes to allow the glaze to set.
I served a pitch of fresh water infused with strawberries and sliced limes with the Strawberry-Lime Charlotte Russe GIateaux.
It was a refreshing and delicious treat. We definitely placed first in our baton relay baking!