Meet Little Strawberry Charlotte. She brings romance with her wherever she goes. Whether it’s a tea party, a birthday celebration or a romantic dinner, you’ll gaze at her beauty and sigh. This lovely Charlotte has luscious strawberry mascarpone cream filling layered with lady fingers and topped with fresh strawberries. I used store bought lady fingers to make life easier but you can certainly bake your own if you wish. I typically make this in spring or summer when the weather is warm and strawberries are plentiful. But since my local stores start carrying an abundance of strawberries around Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a perfect time to make this pretty little Charlotte.
Little Strawberry Charlotte
A pretty no-bake dessert layered with strawberry mascarpone cream filling and lady fingers and topped with fresh strawberries.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and transfer to a small shallow bowl or dish wide enough to dip ladyfingers. Stir in extract.
In a blender or food processor, puree strawberries. Pass through a mesh sieve to strain out seeds.
In a medium saucepan, combine strawberry puree and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Set aside two tablespoons of strawberry puree mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin powder. Whisk together and let sit until dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Add gelatin mixture to warm strawberry puree and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat mascarpone cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth. Add strawberry puree and and extracts. Beat until well combined.
In a separate large bowl, whip heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip the cream or it will look curdled.
Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
Optional: Line the bottom of your springform pan with a cake board if you don't want to serve it on the pan base.
Slice the round end off of 16 ladyfingers. Dunk them briefly in the simple syrup then line them up along the inner sides of a 7-inch by 3 inch deep *springform pan. (Typically you would line them smooth side in facing the filling, but I placed mine smooth side out because I wanted a smooth look on the outside and it makes removal from the pan easier.)
Line the bottom snuggly with ladyfingers, cutting to fit where necessary.
Top with half of the filling mixture, about 2 cups. Then top with a layer of ladyfingers, cutting to fit as with the bottom layer.
Top with remaining filling. Smooth the top with a small offset spatula.
Cove with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours.
Carefully remove the springform pan ring from the base. Separate the base from the cake board, if using. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Brush strawberries with reserved strawberry puree mixture. Tie a clean ribbon around the finished Charlotte.