Charlotte is a classic French dessert, that usually contains a cold mousse and fruits, surrounded by lady fingers. I love the combination of strawberries and lemon, so my charlotte is a strawberry-lemon charlotte. A French charlotte is light and fresh, and is easy to make: you don’t even have to bake it! In France, it is common to use the French “fromage blanc”, a white yogurt-like cheese, to make the mousse. Since “fromage blanc” can be tricky to find in the US, I decided to use a mixture of greek yogurt and whipped cream instead. I used fat free greek yogurt so the result is super light, and yummy!
You will need lady fingers. You can usually find these at international grocery stores, especially stores that carry Italian products. You can also find them online:
I recommend getting a little bit more lady fingers than you actually need, so you have extras in case you accidentally break one.
In terms of the whipped cream, you can either get heavy whipping cream and whip it yourself, or buy already whipped cream.
Line the Charlotte mold with lady fingers (sugary part against the mold). Quickly dip each lady finger in cold water (do not soak them, you want them a little wet, but not too wet), and then, place the lady fingers, one by one, on the bottom of the pan and all around the rim. You may have to cut some lady fingers to make them fit. See picture.
Cut your strawberries in slices. Cut the lemon in half. Grate one half of the lemon. We will be using the juice and zest of one half of the lemon. The other half of the lemon will be used for decoration later.
If you did not buy already whipped cream, whip the whipping cream (with an electric mixer, gradually increasing speed). Add half of the greek yogurt (1 small pack), the sugar, and the juice and zest of one half of a lemon. Mix gently. Put the other half of the greek yogurt (the other small pack) on a pot on the stove on low heat. Add the gelatin, stirring so as to dissolve the gelatin. The goal is for the yogurt to be slightly warm and the gelatin to dissolve, make sure the yogurt does not become hot. Once the gelatin dissolved, remove from the stove, and add to the the whipped cream-yogurt mixture. Mix gently. This is your mousse.
Alternate one layer mousse, one layer strawberry slices, in the charlotte pan. See picture. Once you get to the top, finish with one layer lady fingers. You should have some strawberry slices left, which you will use later for decoration. Place the charlotte pan in the fridge for 2 hours. I personally like to put an upside-down plate over it for when it is in the fridge.
After 2 hours, take it out of the fridge. Flip the charlotte mold over, onto a plate, to release the cake. Now, decorate the top of the cake, with strawberry slices and lemon slices. Voilà! Enjoy cold.