Pear Charlotte and Raspberry Coulis

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Pear Charlotte and Raspberry Coulis

I have had that recipe in my head for a while now, I mean we are talking obsession here, a tale Herman Melville would have been able to narrate much better than me; I needed to put this baby to bed, finally park it somewhere or simply just do it… “Go on lad jump!”. You see, I have never made a Charlotte before, a dessert that I particularly fancy for special occasions, it was my birthday cake, nearly always, a synonym of celebrations. We used to order it at the Patisserie, leaving it to the expert hands of the “artisan” tradesman. We went to collect it, it came with a little container of raspberry coulis that I thought would never be enough for the four of us, especially knowing how fond my father was of the red juicy sauce… This week, as I turned a new leaf and saw myself becoming wiser and older again (yeah right) it was now or never, “it’s my birthday and the Spring is here”, I felt lucky!

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Lucky Ladybird

What was holding me back is that I wanted to recreate the flavours of my childhood, the lovely texture and freshness of the dessert, but I didn’t want to use gelatin. I have a problem with it, I know it’s great, but there, that is how I feel. So how? I remembered a recipe of Tiramisu I used to make in an Italian restaurant twenty years ago ( did I just say that?), it used to set nicely without any other weird interventions, apart from eggs and mascarpone.  What about the booze? I am pretty sure that Kirsch liquor played a role in the dessert, it gives it an explosion of freshness… I didn’t fancy driving possibly for an hour in the unlikely hope to find it, so I opted for a dessert wine we sell at work, from Spain, white Grenache ( Garnatxa)… Deep, classy and elegant, a bit like me really.

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Garnatxa Dessert Wine

You’ll need:

  • 3 firm organic pears
  • 500g of Mascarpone
  • 4 medium happy eggs
  • 1 packet of Lady Fingers or Savoiardy biscuit
  • 220g of organic unrefined sugar ( only 120 for the mix, the rest for the pears)
  • 20cl of dessert wine
  • 250g of organic Raspberries
  • 5 cl of Vanilla essence
  • 1 organic orange
  • 1 leveled tbsp of honey

How To?

First of all, allow yourself plenty of space and start peeling the pears that you are going to poach. I picked pears that were still quite firm so they can hold better. I mixed a litre of water with 100g of sugar, the peel of an orange, its juice and a splash of dessert wine. Heat up and place the halved pears in the pan. Let it simmer gently until the knife go through easily…

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Poaching the pears

Ok, for the mix, whisk 4 egg yolks with 120g of sugar. Keep the whites in another bowl as they will be used. Once the mix has whitened, add the mascarpone and whisk well. Add a bit of vanilla essence at that stage and a little splash of the dessert wine…

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Mascarpone mix

Whisk the egg whites, on their own, until a really thick like foam forms. Use half of it, the rest can be used for baby meringues if you wish; fold it gently with a spatula into the mascarpone mix…

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Egg whites

I used a rectangle cake tin ( well two in fact) and laid them with cling film. It will help when you’ll serve the dish. I first put the biscuits at the bottom and with a tbsp and a steady hand, I soaked them with the dessert wine. This might be a little tricky, don’t over do it, but make sure they get evenly covered. with a spatula, spread them generously with the egg and mascarpone mix, a few slices of poached pears, a few raspberries and repeat the operation until you get to the top. Fold the cling film over, give it a gentle press and store in the fridge for 24 h… Let me tell you, this was a happy moment!

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Charlotte ready to serve

For the raspberry coulis, heat up a pan with 10cl of water, a tbsp of honey and 150 to 200g of raspberries. Simmer until the fruits are all broken down, sieve the juice in another pan and reduce a bit on a gentle heat. Serve cold with a few raspberries and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as myself and my work colleagues did!

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Pear Charlotte and Raspberry Coulis

Keep Well and Eat Happy

Slán Tamall

Franck

 

Harvey’s Borscht Ballad

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Borscht and Gort na mona goat’s cheese with buckwheat honey

I could start this little story – listening to the news I have now decided to turn off- with the words of Bob Dylan “Hard Rain”, how appropriate as another year is about to roll over this week for me, “The same old story” Billie would whisper, so hell with that I say, and decided to pay a little tribute to an old friend of mine, and how we ended up, my Mother, sister, Harvey his brother and I in a Russian restaurant on my last birthday in my “cosy-cushy” hometown of Vannes…

Continue reading “Harvey’s Borscht Ballad”