Bavarian cream (crème bavarois) is a classic molded dessert based on egg custard or fruit purées and served cold. It consists of a crème anglaise or a fruit purée that has been stabilized with gelatin and lightened with whipped cream. A Bavarian cream may be served simply unmolded or it may be encased by génoise or biscuit, in which case it is known as a charlotte.
Charlottes may be hot or cold. Cold charlottes normally contain a custard-based Bavarian cream, the classic being charlotte russe, invented by the renowned chef Antonin Carême. It is an uncooked Bavarian cream poured into a charlotte mold lined with ladyfingers and chilled. Once set, the cold dessert is unmolded and often decorated with whipped cream for service. The key to its success is that the cream be firm enough to withstand being unmolded yet retain its light, airy texture. Hot charlottes are usually made with a fruit purée base; the classic being an apple charlotte (charlotte aux pommes). When making hot charlottes, the fruit purée is stewed with sugar and lemon juice, poured into a charlotte mold lined with white bread, and baked until the bread is golden brown. It is generally served with an accompanying dessert sauce.