We saw the Great British Bake Off contestants try their hand at some Victorian recipes this week. Their show stopper was a Charlotte Russe. Naturally, our own team of costumed volunteers were able to show us how it’s done…
The recipe was included in Mrs Beeton’s cook book – a marvelous resource for our bakers! It is a french, chilled dessert made with delicate ladyfingers (sponge) around the outside and filled with a fruit flavoured cream set with gelatin.
Pamela Foster – the culinary historian behind Downton Abbey Cooks – says;
Typically you name your Charlotte after the flavoring you include.
The Charlotte Russe is credited to French Chef Marie Antoine Careme (1784-1833), who named it in honor of his Russian employer, Czar Alexander I. The word “russe” means Russian in French. Charlotte is the Czar’s sister in law, Queen Charlotte, married to George III.
There is a very tempting recipe for a Chocolate Charlotte Russe. This version of the dessert was mentioned in an episode of Downton Abbey (another show we’ll be tuning into later this week!) having been made for the Crawley family. Find out more about that and the recipe on the Downton Abbey Cooks webpages.
Have you been inspired to try an historical recipe? Why not share your baking successes with us and leave a comment below…