Fresh Spring Dessert: Try Making a Charlotte!

A charlotte is one of those classic French desserts that looks elegant and complicated, but is actually quite simple to pull together. It's made from cake and whipped mousse filling, which just begs to be topped with fresh spring berries and served outside! Have you ever made one?The elegance of a charlotte comes from the presentation. First you line a charlotte mold or cake pan with lady fingers. You can use slices of sponge cake or pound cake, but lady fingers are traditional. Then you fill the inside with a mousse of your choice. If you add some gelatin to the cream before whipping it (a.k.a. make a bavarian), your charlotte tends to hold together a little better.

Unmolded, the charlotte looks so pretty on a serving tray! Definitely let you guests get a look at the finished cake before diving in. If your mousse is holds together well, you can serve it in slices. Otherwise, we simply scoop out a bit of the mousse into a bowl and add a few of the lady fingers on the side.

Here are a few recipes to try with spring berries!

Raspberry Charlotte from Cookstr
Lemon Charlotte with Lemon Curd from Epicurious
Rhubarb Charlotte from BBC
Strawberry Charlotte from Joy of Baking
Sour Cherry Charlotte from Martha Stewart

Do you have a favorite charlotte recipe?

Related: Entertaining: Make-Ahead Tips for Dinner Parties

(Images: Cookstr and Mark Thomas/Bon Appétit)

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