Friday 13 March 2009


NB Congratulations to the clever reader who spotted the deliberate test spelling of pair for pear. A prize Belle Hélène on its way as we speak...

Today we attacked something totally new which was a great pleasure after a week of high-pressure revivals. We took on a raspberry charlotte.

A charlotte is a type of dessert incased in a spongey layer which, as my Dad rightly informs, can even be bread. A summer pudding, if you're pushing your defs, could be considered a charlotte. Our one was very much removed from that monstrosity, glad to say.

A classic patissier's Charlotte is made with a ring of sponge fingers lining the circumference of a mould. We used the nifty trick of piping our fingers just a few mms apart so as they spread during cooking they auto-stuck together - a top tip. Freshly baked fingers are soft with a little bite on the outside and easy to make. No point wasting time going to the shops to buy plastic ones.

Anyway, having lined our entremets ring with a 6cm high ring of sponge fingers, we lined the bottom with a 1/2cm layer of sponge imbibed in an alcoholic raspberry syrup, added a layer of raspberry mousse, then another alcoholic sponge, then some more mousse topped with a layer of whole raspberries then glazed. A sprinkle of pistachios for decor.

I shall try and photo this tomorrow. [UPDATE: Try being the operative word as I only remembered halfway through its being cut up and could not get my camera to focus in the half-light. It'll have to go down as an arty snap.]

As we move onto more fruit based produce, it is even more frustrating that we do no taste. For instance, in making the raspberry mousse a great deal of sugar is added to cancel the acidity of the fruit. But we are just expected blindly to follow a recipe without thinking about what we are doing or checking if the balance is good on the palate. True, we are working with frozen puree which is homogenized and regularized to death so you might be sure of its acid content but I, personally, feel that is rather besides the point.

Too bad.

PS Thanks for the various requests for photos of me in my uniform.  More cash will need to be forthcoming...

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