Pear charlotte with blackberry coulis
- A challenge
- December 2014
- Serves 12
- Hands-on time 2 hours, oven time 24 min, plus overnight chilling
Michel Roux Jr’s pear charlotte recipe is made with homemade sponge ladyfingers surrounding a creamy pear filling.
- 19g (9.6g saturated)
- 64.5g (53.4g sugars)
For the bavarois filling
- 6 medium free-range egg yolks (see tips)
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 x 415g tins pears in syrup, drained, syrup reserved, pears roughly chopped
- 25g milk powder
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 6 gelatine leaves (we used Costa Fine Leaf, from Waitrose – see tips)
- 190ml poire william pear liqueur – we used Gabriel Boudier, from thedrinkshop.com (see tips)
- 375ml whipping cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
For the ladyfinger biscuits
- 6 medium free-range eggs, separated
- 190g caster sugar
- 180g plain flour
- 30g icing sugar
For the blackberry coulis
- 200g icing sugar, plus extra
- 300g frozen blackberries
You’ll also need
- Digital probe thermometer or sugar thermometer
- Disposable piping bag
- For the bavarois, whisk the 6 egg yolks and 50g caster sugar with an electric hand mixer in a heatproof mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until pale. Pour 250ml of the reserved pear syrup into a medium pan (keep the rest). Stir the milk powder (see tip) into the syrup, add the vanilla pod, then bring to the boil over a high heat. Meanwhile, soften the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water.
- When the pear syrup mixture is boiling, pour it over the egg yolk mix and stir in with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the pan, then return the pan to a low heat, stirring. When the mixture reaches 82°C (see tips) and becomes a custard, remove from the heat. Squeeze any excess water from the gelatine, then stir into the custard. Pass the custard through a fine sieve into a jug, discarding any undissolved gelatine. Once cooled a bit, stir in the pear liqueur. Cover with cling film, cool, then chill until semi-set.
- For the biscuits, whisk the egg yolks and 160g of the sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer for 1 minute or until pale. In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the whites with an electric hand mixer (and clean beaters) until frothy, then add the remaining sugar and whisk until firm. Gently fold the whites into the yolks with a metal spoon, making sure you don’t knock out the air. When nearly all incorporated, fold in the flour. Don’t overmix.
- Heat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5 and line 4 baking sheets with baking paper (if you don’t have enough sheets or oven room, do this in batches). Spoon the batter into a piping bag, snipped to give a 1cm opening, then pipe 42 x 10cm long ‘fingers’ onto the sheets. Dust with icing sugar, then cook for 12 minutes or until firm yet spongy. Leave to cool, then take off the baking paper.
- Line a 2 litre glass basin or bowl with the cooled fingers: lay 3 or 4 on the base, then line the bowl so the fingers overlap on a slight angle, leaving no gaps. Keep 5 biscuits for the top. Brush the reserved pear syrup onto the biscuits.
- When the bavarois is cold and semi-set, beat the cream and 2 tbsp icing sugar until it forms soft peaks. Fold into the bavarois with a metal spoon and spoon half into the biscuit-lined bowl. Chill for 10 minutes, then put the chopped pears in an even layer on top of the bavarois. Pour on the rest of the bavarois, then cover with the reserved biscuits. Press down gently, then cover with cling film. Chill overnight.
- For the coulis, mix the 200g icing sugar with 200ml water in a pan on a medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the berries and simmer for 5 minutes more. Cool; chill overnight.
- To serve, invert the bowl to turn out the charlotte. If it doesn’t budge, carefully run a blunt knife in between the bowl and the biscuits to break the vacuum. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the blackberry coulis.
To make the pud alcohol-free, use 100ml elderflower cordial instead of the pear liqueur. Don’t worry if the bavarois looks curdled when you add the milk powder – it’ll turn out fine.
If using a different brand of gelatine, follow the pack instructions.
Make the ladyfinger biscuits up to 3 days in advance and store in a cool dark place. You can freeze the finished charlotte for up to 3 months. Thaw to serve.
Whisk leftover egg whites with a pinch of sugar and freeze in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw and use for meringues or royal icing.
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