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.
- 1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry or vanilla extract
- 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced about 2 cups after slicing
- 3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened gelatin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) mascarpone cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces) cold heavy whipping cream
- 28 ladyfingers
- 10-12 strawberries for garnish
- clean pesticide free rose for garnish
- 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.
*To find a 7-inch springform pan, click here.