This classic Edwardian dessert is similar to a trifle and, likewise, there are many different variations. Classically, a Charlotte Russe used stale bread to line a cake mould, though nowadays sponge cake or lady fingers tend to be favoured. The centre can be filled with a silky bavarois cream that is set with gelatine, or a fruitier version can be made with a mixture of whipped cream and fruit puree. Topped off with jelly, this is an impressive dessert that would have looked the part at any lavish Victorian feast.
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time
- 1 pint jelly, lime or orange (unset)
- Angelica, cherries, candied peel, apricot halves or other fruit, to decorate
- 4 bananas
- ½ pint double cream
- 1 packet of sponge boudoir biscuits
- Put a thin layer of the jelly in the bottom of a 20cm cake tin (if using a spring form tin, cover the base with cling film to make for an easier release when set.) Put the rest of the jelly aside and put the cake tin in the fridge to chill.
- When jelly has set in the bottom, cut out shapes from your chosen fruit and create a pattern by laying them on top of the jelly.
- Whisk the cream to a very soft peak and mash the bananas.
- Add the remaining jelly to the bananas and whisk together, then fold the banana mixture into the cream.
- Line the edges of the cake tin with the biscuits standing horizontally — this can be fiddly and you might need the help of another pair of hands.
- Gently pour in the cream mixture and pop in to fridge to set for a couple of hours or preferably overnight.
- When turning out, carefully run a knife round the edge and use a hot cloth or blow torch to gently ease out.
- Decorate with a ribbon, glacé cherries and whipped cream round the edge.