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This dessert is based on an amazing Charlotte Russe* that my good friend and excellent cook Kate served us a while ago. The actual charlotte recipe is a Bavarian cream and ladyfinger cake and what I did here is take the cream part only and add hazelnut liqueur to it. It’s super tasty and super easy. No cooking is involved because the cream is stiffened with gelatin (well, okay, you have to heat the bloomed gelatin a tiny bit but no need to cook the custard). Other than that all you need is eggs, sugar, heavy cream, the liqueur and some pistachios as garnish. Bon appetit!
P.S.: I made another variation (with raspberries) that I’ll post on Thursday. Stay tuned!
*The Charlotte Russe recipe came from The Centennial Collection of Favorite Recipes from Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah KY, Second Edition 1975
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 2 eggs, separated
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- whipped cream as garnish (optional)
- chopped pistachios as garnish (optional)
- Put the gelatin along with 3 tablespoons of cold water in a saucepan. Let sit for 4 minutes.
- While the gelatin is blooming, whisk the egg yolks with ⅓ cup sugar, vanilla and Frangelico until creamy.
- Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Whip the cream with 1 teaspoon sugar to stiff peaks.
- Heat the bloomed gelatin until just dissolved.
- Whisk the gelatin into the egg yolk mix.
- Fold in the cream.
- Fold in the egg whites.
- Quickly fill the mix into individual glasses or a serving bowl. (Try to work fast, the gelatin will set quickly).
- Garnish with a small dollop of whipped cream and chopped pistachios (optional).
Food Photography and Styling: I wanted this photo to look soft and dreamy so I opened my aperture wide for very shallow depth of field. I blocked the light on the left side of the background to make it look as if there were a small piece of wall on the left side in the back right next to a window. (There was no actual window – as I’m sure you’ve guessed – instead I lit the set with my strobe). I felt that a small and tall prop was needed in the background behind the glasses and I used a tiny glass vase and put some beige and green plastic flowers in it. (Generally I don’t like to use plastic flowers but they were so far out of focus here that I thought it was hard to tell that they were fake).
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec., ISO 50. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.