Charlotte Russe

An Anglo-Russian dessert, made à la française.
The Second Empire recipe for this dessert is a simpler version of the famous “Charlotte à la russe”, which was white like the St. Petersburg snow. The modern recipe is closer to the original in that it includes crème anglaise and is slightly more complex.
Although originally an English creation, there is some dispute over the etymology of the name. Some argue that it comes from “charlyt”, an Old English word for “dish of custard”, whilst others believe that it was named after Charlotte, the wife of King George III (1762-1830). Originally it was a rather “rustic” dessert, made with stale sandwich bread and stewed apple marmelade, which the famous pastry chef Carême transformed into the elegant dessert made from thin biscuit.


- 15cl/5 fl. oZ. (UK) of single cream
- sponge-finger biscuits (about 25)
- 50cl/17 fl. oz. of crème anglaise (can be bought ready made)
- 10g gelatine


- 80g dried fruit
- 50g raisins
- 10 cl/3.5 fl. oz. (UK) of rum (for marinating the fruit and raisins)

1. Prepare the base of the tin by lining it with sponge-finger biscuits (about six biscuits for the base and eleven to line the sides).
2. Mix the crème anglaise with the gelatine and leave it to thicken.
3. At the same time, soak the conserved fruit and raisins in rum.
4. Whisk the cream into into a chantilly cream.
5. Gently mix the thickened crème anglaise with the fruit and raisins, then add the chantilly cream. Pour the mixture into the tin. Layer more biscuits (about seven) over the top.
6. Chill for at least three hours before serving.

A raspberry coulis can also be served in accompaniment.

Period Recipe

"Line and garnish a baking tin with sponge fingers; fill the tin with whipped cream, and enclose it in ice. Upon serving, the tin is shaken lightly and tipped onto a plate. The charlotte slides from the tin and is served immediately."(From A.-B., Perigord, Le trésor de la cuisinière et de la maîtresse de maison, Paris, Comptoir des imprimeurs, 1852, p. 98-99, tr. H.D.W.)

Bon appetit


Type of Recipe