Friday, 26 December 2008

Charlotte Royale

Of all the things I have ever made, I must confess this is the one that spooked me the most. I have had the recipe for months and never quite had the guts to make it – but, after deciding that it would be a spectacular dessert for Christmas Day, I realised that I had to confront my fears and get on with it. Thank goodness I did, for I consider this my masterpiece!!!

It’s so pretty!

So why the nerves? Well, there just seemed so much that could go wrong. It requires three Swiss rolls (what were the chances that all three would roll nicely?) and a rather involved custard (what were the chances it would be lump free?) and then bringing it all together with cream to make a perfect dome (what were the chances that it would be perfect?)

The custard is beautiful and so tasty; here it is before I added it to the cream and fruit:

Like most complicated tasks if you break this recipe down into the component parts it quickly becomes manageable. The Swiss rolls can be made days in advance. The whole dish can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge overnight.

I love that the slices still show the Swiss roll and – surprisingly – it cut easily. But don’t take it out from the fridge before you want it.

This is a special occasion dessert for no other reason than it’s huge! The Bavarian cream recipe makes approximately two litres and when you start adding fruit to that you can see that you end up with a big dessert! The bowl you assemble it in should be bigger than two litres as the Swiss roll lining takes up some volume.

One bowl prepared and ready to receive goodies:

If you have the time and the inclination then I could not recommend this recipe more highly. It was delicious. The filling is not overly sweet but the Swiss roll is, so they compliment and balance each other perfectly.

The filling is so smooth and creamy but light. Exactly what was needed after a heavy Christmas dinner.

Happy Christmas!

For the Swiss Roll - You will need three Swiss rolls. The ingredients below are for one. I recommend making one Swiss roll at a time.
3 eggs
125g caster sugar
90g self raising flour
Icing sugar for dusting
160g jam, whichever flavour you wish. I used raspberry

For the custard:
6 leaves or 20g gelatine
600ml whole milk (the dish contains 8 egg yolks, what’s the point in using low fat milk!)
2 vanilla pods
8 egg yolks
65g icing sugar

For the cream:
475ml whipping cream
35g icing sugar
250g fruit – I used raspberries and blackberries
Optional: 2 tablespoons of liqueur of your choice. I didn’t bother.

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Lightly grease a Swiss roll tin (30cm x 25cm and 2cm deep) and line with baking paper. NB. I tried non-stick foil but it didn’t work as well.
- Beat the eggs until they are thick and pale. This will take several minutes and you mustn’t be tempted to rush as this is how the air and lightness gets into the sponge.
- Continuing to beat the eggs, gradually spoon in the sugar. Beat until the mixture looks puffy and light.
- Sieve the flour into the batter and fold in.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sponge is light golden and springy to the touch. Mine took 12 minutes. It is important not to overcook the sponge.
- While the sponge is cooking, lay a clean tea towel on the work top. Also cut a sheet of baking paper to tip the Swiss roll onto and dust this with icing sugar.
- As soon as you remove the Swiss roll from the oven turn it out onto the clean piece of baking papery and remove the backing paper.
- Carefully roll the sponge up from the short end, rolling the paper inside the roll. Use clothes pegs to secure the ends.
- Leave for 5 minutes on a wire rack.
- After 5 minutes, unroll the sponge and leave to cool for 3-5 minutes.
- Spread with the jam and re-roll. The jam is much easier to spread if you beat it with a spoon and soften it up.
- Keep in an airtight tin until required.
- Line a bowl of approximately three litres capacity with clingfilm. It sticks better if you grease the bowl with some oil. Ensure that the clingfilm overhangs the bowl.
- Slice the Swiss rolls into 1.5cm slices and line the bowl placing the slices as closely as possible so no filling can seep through. Keep some slices back to finish off the top (the base on turning out).
- Protect and hold the Swiss roll in place by turning the excess clingfilm back into the bowl.
- Refrigerate until needed.
- Now make the custard. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water so that they are covered. If you’re using powdered gelatine add to 3 tablespoons of cold water.
- Cut the vanilla pods open and scrape out the seeds. Add both pod and seeds to a saucepan containing the milk.
- Heat gently and then add the gelatine. If you’re using leaves make sure you squeeze out any water.
- Stirring all the time, bring the milk gently to the boil. This takes a long time but don’t try and rush it by upping the heat.
- Remove from the heat and put to one side.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and icing sugar until smooth.
- Remove the vanilla pods from the milk.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture through a sieve into the milk and continue to stir constantly.
- Stir over a gentle heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon i.e. without running straight off. Again, this takes some time and must not be rushed otherwise you’ll end up with cooked eggy bits in your custard.
- Pour into a bowl and leave to cool to room temperature.
- When the custard is cool you can refrigerate it but be aware that the gelatine will start to set. I did refrigerate it because that’s what the recipe said, but when I make it again I wouldn’t do this. If your custard does set too quickly you can always make it creamy again by whisking. It’s important that the custard is creamy so that it folds in nicely.
- Now make the cream. Whisk the cream until it just starts to hold its shape.
- Add the icing sugar and whisk until you get soft peaks.
- Fold in the fruit and liqueur, if using.
- Fold the cream and fruit into the custard.
- Spoon into the Swiss roll lined bowl and use the remaining slices of Swiss roll to cover the top.
- Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.
- To unmould, take off the top layer of clingfilm and turn out onto the serving plate. Remove the clingfilm that lined the bowl.
- Garnish with whipped cream if desired – I didn’t bother.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


anudivya said...

That looks out of this world! Must have been a lot of work, but well worth it. Happy Holidays!

J.Danger said...

wow. This looks rough. Well, not yours, yours looks fantastic! But I must admit, I am spooked too!

Julius said...

Looks delicious!

Happy Holidays :)

~ Julius
from Occasional Baker

Vij said...

That looks awesome. How did u get that shape?
Inbet: Can ya tell me where u got those pickle jars in the previous post!

Wish you a happy new year! May all your dreams come true.


Katie said...

Wow the charlotte looks fantastic! I adore the swirls of cake you used on the outside - so pretty.

Premyscakes said...

wow, absolutely stunning.
Happy new year to u.

Hippolyra said...

It looks lovely - Am I odd in thinking it looks slighly like a tortoise?

Rhiannon said...

oh my word!
as a devoted cake maker that has to be the scariest thing (and therefore most impressive thing) that I have ever seen anyone complete!

Soo said...

Another amazing dessert. What a delicious Christmas it must have been!! Yummmmmm.

Maria said...

I gotta say that is one sexy dessert! Wish I could have eaten it!

Emily said...

WOW! That's pretty spectacular! You did a great job. It looks delicious.

SriLekha said...

looks delicious!
first time to ur blog and it is too good!
do visit my blog when u find time and join in the savory event going in my blog!
Wish u a very happy new year!

Cakespy said...

OH my goodness!! You've outdone yourself this time. This is really fantastic, and what a showstopper!

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Nate-n-Annie said...

Wow, that Charlotte Royale is the BOMB!

glamah16 said...

Gorgeous. I would love to try this.