Charlotte Royale – Or Charlotte Soup

Every week I (Babs) seem to present a story of how I manage to mess up a desert. It’s strange because I’ve always loved baking and I’ve never really had disasters before. Maybe I did but I didn’t notice. Even if it’s annoying to read, it really is impossible to bake with an oven that can’t do different temperatures and is impossible to tell what temperature it is at. Things definitely escalated with the lack of scales. So this week I had to make Charlotte Royale.

I’ve never made it but I’ve made Charlotte Rousse, in fact we have it every Christmas. Everything was going ok until I managed to get a vanilla measurement wrong.  It went something like this:

“That seems like a lot of vanilla extract” I thought, as I lobbed it in.

Then when my flat mate entered and I said how “maybe I should trust my instincts cos it seems like a lot of vanilla extract, a teaspoon” *heart stop. “Ummm I may have put a tablespoon of vanilla extract in. O god. We’ll be poisoned…”

I ignored this issue, figuring that I’ll slap on the jam, that’s bound to balance it, right?

The bottom of the swiss roll was black but the rest seemed ok. Couldn’t cut off the bottom because it’s thin. Unfortunate accident two, was not reading the word “quickly”. As in “Place a second cake pan over the towel and quickly invert the cake, removing the pan it was baked in”. As I ducked into presses and drawers trying to find a second pan to do the magic inversion the swiss roll hardened a little which meant it cracked when rolled. Do I care? –non! I mean as my mistakes go – I can live with that! There’s also something comforting in the fact that it is entirely my own fault and I should have know better. It’s easier to handle than feeling like you’re cursed by an oven that clearly hates you.

So the cake was done! A strong presence of vanilla, a lashing of raspberry jam, a blackened bottom – complete with a few cracks, finito!

Now it was time for the Bavarian custard. This was MUCH easier. I made custard. There was only one tiny issue and that’s the recipe called for powered gelatin. I couldn’t find that so I bought leaf gelatine. The packet said 4 sheets for a pint, so I made 1 sheet in a ¼ of a pint.

Of course it looked atrocious – that’s a given. In fear of the vanilla overload I made raspberry coulis. – just in case!

The recipe suggested six hours to set. I had less than four left. So that was a no go, but Charlotte soup is the new thing. I swear. I also forgot to line the bowl with cling film. But as it was a soup that didn’t matter! And everyone took a second helping. Hurray Hurray!! 


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