|Alternative names||Icebox cake|
|Place of origin||England?, France?|
|Serving temperature||Hot or cold|
|Main ingredients||Bread, sponge cake or biscuits; fruit puree or custard|
A charlotte is a type of dessert or trifle that can be served hot or cold. It is also referred to as an "icebox cake". Bread, sponge cake or biscuits/cookies are used to line a mold, which is then filled with a fruit puree or custard. It can also be made using layers of breadcrumbs.
Cut as many very thin slices of white bread as will cover the bottom and line the sides of a baking dish, but first rub it thick with butter. Put apples, in thin slices, into the dish, in layers, till full, strewing sugar between, and bits of butter. In the mean time, soak as many thin slices of bread as will cover the whole, in warm milk, over which lay a plate, and a weight to keep the bread close on the apples. Bake slowly three hours. To a middling sized dish use half a pound of butter in the whole.
In Carême's 1815 Le Pâtissier royal parisien, he mentions many varieties of charlotte: à la parisienne, à la française, à l'italienne, aux macarons d'avelines, aux gaufres aux pistaches, de pommes, de pomme d'api, d'abricots, de pêches, de pommes glacée aux abricots, de pommes au beurre, parisienne à la vanille, de pommes; he mentions à la russe as the name used by others for what he called à la parisienne.
There are many variants. Most charlottes are served cool, so they are more common in warmer seasons. Fruit charlottes usually combine a fruit purée or preserve, like raspberry or pear, with a custard filling or whipped cream. Charlottes are not always made with fruit; some, notably charlotte russe, use custard or Bavarian cream, and a chocolate charlotte is made with layers of chocolate mousse filling.
The 19th-century Russian sharlotka is a baked pudding with layers of brown bread and apple sauce, and has since evolved into a simple dessert of chopped apples basked in a sweet batter.
A simplified version of charlotte russe was a popular dessert or on-the-go treat sold in candy stores and luncheonettes in New York City, during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. It consisted of a paper cup filled with yellow cake and whipped cream topped with half a maraschino cherry. The bottom of the cup is pushed up to eat.
The earliest attestation of "charlotte" is in a New York magazine in 1796. Its origins are unclear. It may come from the woman's name. One etymology suggests it is a corruption of the Old English word charlyt, a kind of custard, or charlets, a meat dish.
It is often claimed that Carême named it charlotte after one of the various foreign royals he served, but the name appears years earlier.
Carême's preferred name for charlotte à la russe was charlotte à la parisienne, and he says (in 1815) that "others" prefer to call it russe,: 446 so it is unlikely that he named it russe for Czar Alexander I as has been proposed.
- Apple cake
- Applesauce cake
- Crema de fruta
- Icebox cake
- List of French desserts
- List of Russian desserts
- Summer pudding
- Marie-Antoine Carême, Le Pâtissier royal parisien, 1815, full text
- Kelly, Ian (2003). Cooking for Kings, the Life of Antonin Carème, the First Celebrity Chef. Walker & Company. p. 60. ISBN 978-0802714367.
- Maria Rundell, A New System of Domestic Cookery, p. 151
- Ashkenazi, Michael; Jacob, Jeanne (2006). The World Cookbook for Students. Greenwood. p. 17.
- Food and Language: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking 2009. p. 149.
- "charlotte russe". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Accessed via Dictionary.com, February 27, 2010.
- Leah Koenig (Feb. 6, 2012) Capital: Lost foods of New York City: Charlotte Russe (with recipe)
- Charlotte Goldblatt (April 6, 2013) Daily Food & Wine: Retro Brooklyn; searching for a Charlotte russe (recollection & recipe)
- New York style Charlotte russe is mentioned in the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943), chapters 16 and 39. From chapter 16: "There was a bakery store to one side of it which sold beautiful charlotte russes with red candied cherries on their whipped cream tops for those who were rich enough to buy."
- "Charlotte Royale". Food- dictionary.com. Archived from the original on 2010-07-29.
- Oxford English Dictionary, 1889 s.v.
Media related to Charlotte (dessert) at Wikimedia Commons