Charlotte Russe

According to Larousse (page 212), the original Charlotte dessert was inspired by the English summer pudding and was created to honour Queen Charlotte. It was made with a thick apple purée, flavoured with lemon and cinnamon and poured into a mould lined with bread and then baked. It was served warm with a cold custard cream. Carême created the Charlotte à la Parisienne, an uncooked dessert making use of bavarois and lady fingers. This dessert became known as the Charlotte Russe when all things Russian became fashionable in Paris. The recipe for the Charlotte Russe looks long and complicated. I would save this dessert for when you have guests as it is very impressive. It does not take that long to make, but remember it needs an overnight stay in the fridge to set properly. The first time I saw a Charlotte was on the Great British Bake Off. Mary Berry’s recipe uses a Swiss roll filled with jam. The Swiss roll is cut up and used to line the mould. The sponge fingers are a pleasure to make, if your piping skills are average as mine are. The nice thing is that they can be kept in an airtight container for a week so I made these well in advance.

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe
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4.50 from 4 votes

Recipe For Charlotte Russe

Rich Bavarian cream encased in sponge with a hint of liqueur - a perfect dessert for dinner guests.
Recipe Category: Dessert
Makes enough for: 1 Charlotte Russe
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Larousse Gastronomique


for the Bavarian Cream

  • 337.5 mls milk, divided
  • 2.5 mls vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75 g fructose, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 g gelatine powder
  • 22.5 mls water
  • 175 mls cream
  • 10 mls crème de cassis (or any liqueur of your choice)

for the Sponge Fingers

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 125 g fructose
  • 7.5 mls orange flower water - I used 3 drops orange essential oil
  • 100 g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar for dusting

for the Syrup

  • 100 g fructose
  • 90 mls water
  • 15 mls crème de cassis (or any liqueur of your choice)

To decorate

  • 75 mls cream
  • 15 g honey


for the Bavarian Cream

  • Place 300mls milk and vanilla into a sauce pan
  • Scald the milk over a medium temperature
  • Place the egg yolks, 50g fructose and salt into a mixing bowl
  • Whisk until pale yellow, and thickened
  • Place the gelatine into a small bowl and add the water
  • Mix to combine
  • Pour half of the milk onto the eggs and whisk to combine
  • Add the gelatine and whisk in
  • Pour this into the rest of the milk
  • On a low temperature, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon continuously until thickened
  • You want the custard to coat the back of the spoon
  • Strain into a bowl and set aside to cool
  • Place the cream and the rest of the milk into a bowl
  • Whisk until it begins to thicken
  • Add the rest of the fructose and whisk until thick
  • Fold into the cool custard until completely combined
  • Stir in the liqueur

for the Sponge Fingers

  • Preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  • Place the egg yolks and fructose into a mixing bowl
  • Whisk until at the ribbon stage
  • Add the orange flower water and whisk in
  • Add the flour and gently fold in
  • Place the egg whites and salt into a mixing bowl
  • Whisk to stiff peaks
  • Fold into the egg yolk mixture
  • Place the batter into a piping bag, fitted with the largest smooth nozzle you have
  • Pipe onto a lined baking tray, to your desired length
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • Gently tap the tray twice
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Allow to cool on the tray before removing

for the Syrup

  • Place the fructose and water into a sauce pan
  • Bring to the boil
  • Lower the temperature and leave to simmer until the sugar has dissolved
  • Stir in the liqueur

To make the Charlotte Russe

  • Choose a suitable glass bowl
  • Trim the sponge fingers on one edge to suit the shape of the bowl
  • Trim the other edge into points
  • Soak in the syrup and shake off the excess
  • Place the sponge fingers on the bottom of the bowl, making sure there are no gaps
  • Trim the sponge fingers to suit the sides of the bowl
  • Soak in the syrup and shake off the excess
  • Line the sides of the bowl, making sure they are tightly packed together
  • Pour the Bavarian cream into the mould
  • Flatten off with a palette knife
  • Soak sponge fingers for the top in the syrup, shaking off the excess
  • Cover the top of the Bavarian cream with the sponge fingers
  • Cover with cling film and place into the fridge overnight

To decorate

  • Place the cream and the honey into a mixing bowl
  • Whisk until very firm
  • Place into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle
  • Remove the Charlotte from the fridge
  • Remove the cling film
  • Place a serving plate onto the bowl (serving side down)
  • Gently tip over and allow the Charlotte to slide onto the plate
  • Pipe decorations around the edge of the Charlotte
  • Serve with fresh berries in season if you have any

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines: For the June daring bakers challenge Rebecca from challenged us to make Charlotte Royale and Charlotte Russe from scratch. Savory or sweet Charlottes were definitely tasty showstopper

What I blogged June 29:

Lavender and Lime Signature

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40 thoughts on “Charlotte Russe

  1. Your Charlotte Russe has stunning visual appeal. Those sponge fingers are to die for! I love the Great British Bake Off and Mary Berry, I had to watch online as it wasn’t available here. So entertaining, couldn’t stop watching. Saw her Swiss Roll episode too =) I’m half Russian so I should most definitely appreciate this dessert. Have a great week!

  2. Tandy – wow – this is so incredibly elegant! This would indeed be perfect for guests – but, I am not so sure I’d like to share it!

  3. 5 stars
    This is such an amazing dessert and whilst I have enjoyed eating it before I have never attempted making it Tandy. It certainly is an effort but yours looks amazing 😀

  4. What a beautiful dessert. Since you have indicated it doesn’t take as long as the recipe looks, I will have to give it a try. It does look like it would be impressive for guests, and I love that it has to be made in advance!

  5. Wow!! This is so pretty! I’ve never had it before, but it sure does look delicious!! What a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Yep – definitely one for entertaining but it does looks fabulous. Love the sound of the original version using apple puree – must do a bit more research on that – thanks Tandy.

  7. 5 stars
    This looks so decadent and scrumptious! I never thought of the combination of lavender and lime, but it sounds absolutely wonderful. I’ll definitely be trying this soon! 😀

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