Sunday, May 01, 2005

Charlotte Revisited: Mango Charlotte

You might remember that my first charlotte experience went awry because the filling did not set well. That was a while ago, and I felt ready yesterday to experiment once again with unflavored vegeterian gelatin. This time, I loosely followed the mango charlotte recipe from The Art of the Cake by Bruce Healy. Instead of a dome, I opted for a regular 9-inch springform pan which proved tricky to line with round slices of cake, especially on the sides. Not surprisingly, just after I poured the almost-set filling in, I noticed that one of the slices lining the sides had fallen back into the pan and was already under a thick layer of mousse. (You will see exactly where this happened if you look at the picture carefully) Luckily I had a few extra slices, and I was able to replace the fallen one but I had no time to retrieve it from under the filling. The brand of gelatine I used is a very quick setting one, so I practically had to run around in my kitchen and had a good adrenaline rush until I completed the dessert. This time, I am more pleased with the results since the charlotte did not collapse. (I still think that I could have used more gelatine.) It looks good, and has this almost ethereal taste to it. If I make it again, I will make an extra sponge roll and cover the top of the mango mousse with slices of cake as well. Since this one is bottomless, it is a little difficult to serve.

Sponge roll prepared with 1/4 c (or more) orange preserves
2 1-lb fresh mangos
1/4 c + 2 tbs sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
4 tsp Kojel brand unflavored gelatin
2 c heavy cream
2 tsp sugar syrup (recipe below) flavored with 2 tsp orange juice
Orange glaze (recipe below)

Prepare the roll several hours in advance and freeze it to make cutting easier. Brush a 9 or 10-inch springform pan with melted butter and dust with granulated sugar. Cut the roll into 3/8-inch slices. Line the sides of the pan with the slices. Arrange the remaining slices over the bottom of the mold. (As you might notice from the pictures, I carelessly did this in reverse order.)Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Peel and slice the mangos. You should have about 1 1/4 lb of flesh. If not, peel another mango. Puree the mango flesh with the sugar and lemon juice. (You should have a little more than 2 1/2 c of puree.) Sieve the puree to get rid of the bits of fiber. (Boy, was this was time-consuming!)

This is probably a good time to take the pan out of the refrigerator and brush the insides of the lining slices with sugar syrup.

For the filling, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Set aside. Mix the gelatin with 1 tbs water or orange juice until it dissolves and no lumps remain. Now put about 1/3 of the puree into a saucepan and warm it to almost boiling. Mix this with the gelatin mixture. It will almost immediately start to set. Add this to the remaining puree and the whipped cream, and stir gently but firmly until you have a uniform mixture. This has to be done pretty quickly -- the gel is quick-setting, remember? -- so have everything you need handy. Pour the filling to the lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the bottom of the pan lightly on the table so that the filling settles and fills in the gaps between the lining slices. Trim the tops of the lining slices if necessary to make them even with the filling. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. After you unmold the dessert, quickly prepare the orange glaze and brush the top and sides of the charlotte with the glaze until evenly coated and glistening.

Sugar Syrup

I halved the ingredients when I made this. The sugar-water ratio is such that it can be kept at room temperature almost indefinitely. You will need only 2 tsp or so for this dessert, but you can use the leftover for other sponge type cakes. You can flavor it with fruit juices, too.

2 c sugar
1 c water

Combine the sugar and water in the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve all the sugar. Cover and allow the syrup to cool. Cover airtight for up to several months at room temperature. If crystals form, strain them before use.

Orange Glaze

1 tsp gelatin
3 tbs orange juice
3 tbs water
3 tbs sugar

Mix the gelatin with a little of the water until dissolved. Heat the orange juice and sugar until it comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. Mix in the gelatin followed by the remaining water to cool it a little bit and trigger setting. When the glaze starts to thicken, apply it to the dessert with a pastry brush.