Charlotte Russe

This is the third and final installment of 37. Beef Stroganoff. Thank the lord. And this is a dish where I actually took notes! But I didn’t take a picture of the recipe. So I have to type it all out. Oh, bother.

Beef Stroganoff

It’s the white thing in this picture.


  • 1 tbsp gelatin
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup milk, scalded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp light rum
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Lady Fingers

Soften gelatin in water; dissolve it in scalded milk together with the sugar. Pour part of the milk over the beaten egg yolks; return to saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens. Cool. Add rum to custard. Whip egg whites with a dash of salt until stiff but not dry. Fold in to custard. Whip cream and fold it into custard. Line a mold with Lady Fingers. Fill it with custard and chill  it for several hours. Unmold the pudding and garnish it with whipped cream and shaved chocolate if desired. Makes 6 servings.  

Now I am just going to type exactly what I wrote down in my *NSYNC spiral notebook while assembling this dessert.

But first, is this a Russian dessert? I always just knew Charlotte Russe as one of those mall stores that sells juniors clothing. Shit, now I have to do some research. Ugh. I’ll be right back.

OK, it is a dessert made by lining a mold with sponge cake or lady fingers and filling it with Bavarian cream. In French, Charlotte Russe literally means Russian Charlotte. I will let someone else take it from here:

Following information is from the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, by John F. Mariani, 1999 (via

Charlotte russe. A French dessert (supposedly created by Marie-Antonin Careme) made in mold with ladyfingers and Bavarian cream. . . While this confection is known and made in the United States, a simple version consisting of a square of sponge cake topped with whipped cream (sometimes with chocolate sprinkles) and a maraschino cherry was also called a “charlotte russe”. . . This was a standard item in eastern cities, particularly among urban Jewish Americans (some of whom pronounce the item “charely roose” or “charlotte roosh”), who made it at home or bought it at a pastry shop, where it was set on a frilled cardboard holder whose center would be pushed up as to reveal more cake as the whipped cream was consumed.”

 18th Century – It is said to have been invented by the French Chef Marie Antoine Careme (1784-1833), who named it in honor of his Russian employer, Czar Alexander I. The word “russe” means Russian in French.

Some historians say that the word Charlotte refers to the Czar Alexander’s sister-in-law, Queen Charlotte, Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818), who was the wife of George III, king of Great Britain and Scotland.

We’ve learned something today, kittens!

Now, let’s just go back to my *NSYNC notes:

  • 5:25: dissolve gelatin and scald milk. Used fat-free. Is that going to make a difference?
  • 5:30: sugar and gelatin in.
  • 5:31: tempered egg yolks in.
  • bad custard5:52: custard is now off of the burner and ‘cooling.’ How much gelatin is in 1 Knox package? [editor’s note: it is indeed 1 tbsp].  I think I used too much and not enough water. I hope it sets. Lumpy. Separating.
  • 6:00: I being with a second try with the custard. I have enough of all the ingredients! (froze the extra egg whites).
  • 6:03: Why do I have to scald the milk? What does that do?
  • DSCF54756:16: Custard more fluffy that thick. But a definite improvement.
  • 6:23 Custard off to the side to chill
  • 6:27 egg whites in KitchenAid. Just whisked in rum to custard. Shit, I love my mixer. WTF does “stiff but not dry” mean?
  • 6:36 Both custard and egg whites are in the fridge
  • 6:41: Gonna try to fold egg whites into custard.
  • 6:50: whipping cream. I am having a hard time choosing a mold since I don’t know how much custard there will be. So many choices. Too many molds.
  • 7:00: whipped cream is folded in! Didn’t make that much!
  • 7:07: It’s in. I put a smidge of cooking spray on the inside of the mold. It seemed like the lady fingers would stick. Used a 3 cup mold.

I wrote “NOW ONTO STROGANOFF”  because I did some of the prep work (cutting meat and veg) the night before I made this dinner.

Check out how perfect that was! I smooshed the lady fingers into the grooves of the mold and there was just enough of the Bavarian cream filling for the 3 cup sized mold.

So I let that chill in the fridge overnight. And after I enjoyed 37. Beef Stroganoff, it was the moment of truth. Would the Charlotte Russe come out of the mold?


Hell yes, it did! And it was a real beauty!

Here’s another picture, because I’m so proud of the damn thing:

Charlotte RusseLook at that whipped cream garnish and chocolate shavings!

And here is the inside of the delicious, creamy (but surprisingly light), not too sweet, slightly rummy, delight!

Charlotte RusseThe Charlotte Russe was so nice I served it twice–I brought over the remainder to Claire’s house one night for dinner. And there were rave reviews!

So that’s it for the Russian dinner. Finally. So what’s next?

Um, seriously. What’s next? I don’t know. I remember that I have definitely made some more stuff. And I have pictures of some stuff. But I don’t actually have a list of the stuff that I made. And I sure as hell don’t have any text for said stuff. Hm. It might be a bit before I have something else to share. In the meantime, enjoy the end of the summer.

Oh! And I want to wish a very happy birthday to my dad!!!

This entry was posted in 1970s, Dessert, Eggs, Food, International Cuisine, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Charlotte Russe

  1. I won’t lie. When this post showed up in my feed I thought it was going to be a rant about the clothing store, or a date gone wrong at the clothing store.
    How delightful to learn that CR is more than just a teenage clothing store – it’s a delicious looking dessert!
    I may have to make this since it seems quick and easy and gives me an excuse to bust out a fancy pan.

  2. Conor Bofin says:

    Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a store that sold nothing but Charlotte Russe? Another fantastic post. You break me up every time you appear in my reader.

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