To make the ladyfingers, put
To make the jelly, combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Use a masher or the back of a wooden spoon to crush the strawberries slightly, helping them to yield their juice. Remove from the heat and let steep for 2 hours.
Strain the strawberry mixture through a wire-mesh sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth placed over a bowl or pitcher. Don’t force the mixture through the sieve or the jelly will be cloudy. Let gravity do the work. Measure the strawberry juice, add water as needed to total about
To make the Bavarian cream, in a bowl, briefly beat the water and egg yolks with a wire whisk or an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, whisking constantly or beating with the electric mixer on medium speed, until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and drops from the beaters in a thick ribbon when they are lifted from the bowl, about 3 minutes.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk just until bubbles appear at the edge of the pan. Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly just until combined. Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens into a custard thick enough to coat a spoon. (Do not allow to boil or the eggs will curdle.) Pour the custard through a strainer into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Mix the powdered gelatin with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and let stand for 2 minutes to soften; if using the gelatin sheets, place them in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak until floppy, 5–10 minutes.
Add the softened gelatin. (If using powdered gelatin, first liquefy it by nesting the small bowl of gelatin in a larger bowl of hot water, or heating it in the microwave for 5 seconds.) Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Place the bowl with the custard over the ice water bath and stir often until cooled to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Using a wire whisk or electric mixer, beat the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cooled custard mixture.
For the garnish, stem the strawberries, then slice them lengthwise thickly but evenly. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with the granulated sugar, and toss gently. Cover and leave for 2 hours.
Remove the bottom from a 6or 7-inch (15or 18-cm) round springform pan and put the pan ring on the plate on which you plan to serve the charlotte. Cut one end off of each ladyfinger so they all have a nice flat end and are the same height. Use them to line the pan ring, standing them up vertically with the rounded end at the top. They will be slightly squishy, so you can press them into one another to keep them in place.
Carefully spoon the custard into the ladyfinger-lined ring and spread it out gently with the back of a spoon to secure the ladyfingers in place. Put the mold in the fridge for 30–45 minutes to set the custard more firmly.
Meanwhile, finish preparing the jelly: Mix the powdered gelatin with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and let stand for 2 minutes to soften; if using the gelatin sheets, place them in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak until floppy, 5–10 minutes. Stir the liquefied gelatin into the strawberry juice. (If using powdered gelatin, first liquefy it by nesting the small bowl of gelatin in a larger bowl of hot water, or heating it in the microwave for 5 seconds.) Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Prepare another ice water bath in a large bowl. Nestle the bowl with the strawberry jelly in the ice water bath and stir often until thickened, about 15 minutes. Pour the jelly over the chilled custard. Cover the charlotte and chill for 1–2 hours.
Unclip the springform pan ring and carefully lift it off. The ladyfingers will probably attempt to collapse slowly, which is why charlottes are often served, including at Downton, with a natty ribbon tied around their middle. It’s a very good idea to have a ribbon handy, especially if you are unmolding this more than a few minutes before serving. Tie the ribbon securely round the middle and then arrange the sliced strawberries on top. You can add other fresh fruit, edible flowers, or candied fruit as you prefer.
ROBERT: We’re leaving.
ETHEL: Is this because of me, my lord?
CORA: No, it is because of his Lordship. And we are not leaving. It’s a Charlotte Russe? How delicious.
ETHEL: I hope it’s tasty, m’lady. Mrs. Patmore gave me some help.
CORA: I’m glad to know Mrs. Patmore has a good heart and does not judge. Is anyone coming?
VIOLET: It seems a shame to miss such a good pudding.
˜ SEASON 3, EPISODE 6
© 2019 All rights reserved. Published by Weldon Owen.