Tropical Fruits Charlotte

New year it is! Let me first wish you all a great one, let's hope it will be fun and better than the last one. As we've survived the apocalypse, it seems about right to take some new year resolutions. Mine are not original, as they included loosing weight and practising sport.
So far in this year (I know we're only 13 days in, but still) I'm sticking to both, as I've taken out of the closet my torture device: the Wii Balance board! Yes, even in sports, I remain a geek. It yelled at me for not using it in over a year *shame*. Netherless, it's something I'd advice to anyone who wants to move a little, it won't turn you into an athlete, but at least it's fun.

So even if you should expect some "lighter" recipes in the next posts, this first one won't belong to that category, as it was one of the desserts I made for christmas: a charlotte. I do see it more like a summer dessert, specially the easier version, with just whipped cream and strawberries.
This one was a bit more sophisticated with a bavarian mousse instead. I decided to go with tropical fruits, I know they are coming from far away, but it was a christmas treat.

Though I admit I also bought lady fingers in stores in the past, they are really easy to make. And instead of having to place each lady finger, you can pipe them close enough to already form the circle that will go around your charlotte, so much easier!
An other positiv point for me, in the crazy christmas time, this should be made one day ahead of time, so the only work on the D-day, is taking it out of the fridge and decorating!

Tropical Fruits Charlotte (based on a recipe from Mercotte)

makes an 18cm diameter charlotte

for the lady finger:
50gr of Flour
50gr of Cornstarch
5 Eggs
100gr of Sugar
Some dusting sugar

for the bavarian mousse:
1/4L Whole Milk
3 Egg Yolks
50gr of Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod
3 Sheets of Gelatin
200gr of Whole Cream

for the syrup/ to finish:
2 Passion Fruits
50gr of Sugar
100ml of Water
1 Mango
10 Litchies

Start with the lady finger: Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Sift the flour and cornstarch. Star beating the egg whites slowly and add the sugar progressivly when it starts to foam a little. When they reach a soft peak, slow down the speed and add the egg yolks and keep mixing a few seconds.
Now using a soft spatula, add the flour and cornstarch smoothly until well combined.

To pipe the lady finger evenly, you can draw two lines on the parchement paper. Pipe them less than a centimeter from each other, so when they cook they will expand and form a band of lady finger.
You also need to pipe two circles, one of 18cm, the other one a bit smaller. Once again, it's easier if you draw the circles on the paper before you pipe them.

Dust the lady finger with confectionner sugar before placing them in the oven for 10 minutes. I did four batches, 2 for the lady fingers and 2 for the circles. Leave them to cool before using them, they keep well in an airtight jar.

For the mousse, put the gelatine sheets in cold water. Cut the vanilla pod open and scratch the vanilla seeds out to mix them with the egg yolks, add the sugar and beat until it gets to be paler. Now add the milk and whisk until it's smooth.
Pour the liquid into a pan, on a medium heat cook and whisk until it reaches 82 to 84°C (I used my sugar thermometer). Take it off the heat and whisk in the gelatine sheets that you have drained of the excess of water.

While you wait for the cream to drop to 25°C, you can prepare the syrup. Cut the passion fruits open, and pass the flesh thru a sieve to have the juice but not the seeds. In a small sauce pan, cook on a low heat the water, the passion fruit and the sugar until it starts to buble. Set aside to cool.

If the vanilla cream has reached the temperature, pour the whole cream in your stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) to whisk the cream to a soft whipped cream. Now combine both creams and leave it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

To make the charlotte, peel the mango and dice it. Using a iron pastry circle, start with the biggest circle of lady finger as the bottom of your charlotte, and circle it with the strip of lady fingers you've make, try to make it tight so the cream doesn't leak out.
Moist the bottom layer with the syrup you've made. Spread about 1/3 of the cream on that layer and sprinkle the dice of mangos all over it, before adding an 1/3 of the cream.
Now add the second circle of lady finger and moisten it again with the syrup, and pour the last third of the cream on top.

Set in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, and decorate before serving the way you see fit, I choose litchi and some sugar christmasy decoration.

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