Sunday, March 23, 2008

Charlotte Russe

One recipe that has been in the family for years is an eggnog. We always have it at Christmas, doing our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so that you have Christmas Day to get over the eggnog. The flavors of the eggnog: rum, bourbon, brandy are immediately identifiable when you taste it.

For our Easter lunch, which we celebrated yesterday, Mother decided to do a Charlotte Russe. Ladyfingers lining an old silver bowl layered with a wonderful moussey mix of eggs, vanilla, and hello, this tastes like eggnog!

Eggnog? NANNY? Have I slept through a year?

Oh, no, dear. It’s a recipe from Jack Izard’s A Traveler's Table. Isn’t it divine?

Jack is an old friend of my parents who wrote a great cookbook several years ago showcasing recipes he has collected from around the world. And the photography in the book, which he did, is fabulous.

But back to Charlotte.

In the past, when Charlotte Russe showed up at a dinner party, she bore unmistakable notes of a nutty sherry.

Not this year.

Charlotte was not as ladylike as she has been in the past. She blew in after a big lunch of sautéed quail and wild rice, like the north wind. She tasted like Christmas on a cool March day. Champagne bubbling in the glasses around her, she was a bit easier to take than the usual eggnog, but was so divine.

I’m sure she’ll be asked back again.

Charlotte Russe
Adapted from Jack Izard's A Travelers Table

4 eggs, separated
6 heaping tbsp sugar
3 ounces bourbon
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1-1/2 ounces brandy
dash of vanilla
1 quart heavy cream
2 envelopes plain gelatin (1/4 ounce each)
1/2 cup hot water
2-3 ounce packages ladyfingers

In three separate bowls:

Small bowl: beat egg yolks, stir in sugar til blended, add the liquors, salt and vanilla.

Medium bowl: whip cream until stiff.

Large bowl: Beat egg whites til stiff.

Dissolve gelatin in 1/3 cup hot water and add to egg yolk mixture. Line serving bowl with ladyfingers, split in half lengthwise, reserving 8 halves for the top.

Gently fold contents of the three bowls together and the egg whites last. Pour mixture into lined bowls and top with ladyfinger halves.

Cool in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Keeps well for several days.

Serves 8.



cook eat FRET said...

ummm - my calculations put that at about 3/4 of a shot a person!!!


my mom loved these as a kid in nyc. they sold them in little round cylindrical individual cardboard containers...

fluffernutter said...

I love that cookbook, and Charlotte Russe is my favorite dessert. I only make it ever few years, and I never see it on menus, so I'm so jealous.