French Pumpkin-Cranberry Charlotte Russe

French Pumpkin-Cranberry Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe is an elegant molded dessert lined with ladyfingers or batons of sponge cake and filled with a
mousse. It was invented in the 19th century by the celebrated French
chef Antoine Carême while employed by Czar Alexander I. In this delicate Thanksgiving version, the pumpkin-cranberry filling includes Grand
Marnier and fresh orange juice. With rosettes of crème chantilly
(whipped cream) to garnish, oh là là, c’est très delicieuse!

See other related recipes in Thanksgiving Classics with Foreign Accents.

Yield: 2 (9-inch) charlottes cut into 24 (3.5-ounce) slices
Preparation time: about 45 minutes + at least 8 hours to chill
Shelf
life:
2 to 3 days

Ingredients

60 ladyfingers
1½ cups Grand Marnier
2 large oranges
4 packages unflavored gelatin
8 large eggs,
separated
1 cup light brown sugar
3½ cups canned pumpkin purée
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
½
teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups heavy cream + 1 cup for
garnish
4 ounces dried cranberries, finely chopped + at least 26
cranberries for garnish
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish, if desired
1 ounce granulated sugarLine the bottom of two 9-inch springform pans
with a circle of wax paper or parchment.

Method

1. Split
ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Reserve 2/3 cup of the Grand Marnier.
Lightly brush flat sides of about 44 ladyfinger halves with some of the
remaining Grand Marnier and arrange them upright around the sides of the springform pans, domed side out. Line bottom with ladyfingers, domed
side down, starting around the outside and cutting every third
ladyfinger lengthwise on the diagonal to make wedges to fill the spaces. Cut some of the remaining ladyfingers into pieces to fill the center.
Brush lightly with Grand Marnier and set aside.

2. Zest and juice the oranges. Mince zest and reserve. You should have 2
tablespoons zest and 2/3 cup juice. In a saucepan bowl, sprinkle gelatin over orange juice and let it stand for a minute. Add egg yolks, the
reserved 2/3 cup Grand Marnier and brown sugar, and cook over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5
minutes, stirring often.

3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg,
ginger, salt, vanilla, reserved orange zest and mix until smooth.

4. In separate bowls, beat egg whites and heavy cream into soft peaks.
Fold them alternately into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in cranberries and
scrape mixture into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly. Trim
ladyfingers even with the filling.

5. Cover the top in the
same manner as the bottom, brushing on remaining Grand Marnier. Cover
with wax paper, place a pan or flat dish slightly smaller than the
charlotte over each top, pressing slightly. Add about a pound of weight
and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

6.
Unmold, invert and peel the waxed paper off the tops. If desired, dust
with confectioners’ sugar. Whip remaining cream, sweeten with sugar and
pipe at least 12 rosettes around the outside and one in the center. Add a cranberry to each rosette and cut into 12 slices.

Nutritional Data (per slice): Calories: 210; Cholesterol: 85 mg; Sodium: 135 mg;
Fat: 6 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g

Ingredient Cost Sheet

Ingredients Cost
60 ladyfingers $4.48-7.47
1 1/2 cups Grand Marnier $13.36-22.27
2 large oranges $.72-1.20
4 packages unflavored gelatin $1.19-1.99
8 large eggs, separated $.56-.93
1 cup light brown sugar $.32-.53
3 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree $1.91-3.18
2 teaspoon cinnamon $.13-.22
1 teaspoon nutmeg $.13-.22
1 teaspoon ginger $.13-.22
1/2 teaspoon salt  
2 teaspoons vanilla $.14-.23
2 cups heavy cream + 1 cup for garnish $1.03-1.72
4 ounces dried cranberries, finely chopped + at least 26 cranberries for garnish $1.18-1.98
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish, if desired  
1 ounce granulated sugar $.03-.05

Joanna Pruess is a regular contributor to Specialty Food Magazine.