Divine Chocolate Charlotte
- 36 (4x1-inch) crispy ladyfingers
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto or almond extract
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (5 squares baking chocolate)
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto or almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup almonds, sliced
- Crème Chantilly
- Chocolate shavings
- To prepare pan, spray sides and bottom of an 8X13-inch springform pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Cut a 13x30-inch strip of parchment paper and fold in half. Make a circle and place it inside the interior rim of the springform pan. If necessary, use a paperclip to hold ends together. The parchment paper circle will be taller than the rim of the pan to help ladyfingers remain upright. Set aside.
- Prepare syrup: Place water and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer and continue simmering until thin syrup has formed. Remove from heat, cool slightly and stir in Amaretto or almond extract.
- Soak both sides of each ladyfinger in flavored syrup for a few seconds until saturated. Cover bottom of pan with soaked ladyfingers flat side down. Cut or break off small pieces as needed to fill all gaps. Press close together for a snug fit, but leave 1/4-inch along outside edge for upright ladyfingers.
- Once bottom is covered, continue to dip ladyfingers in syrup. Stand soaked ladyfingers upright side-by-side with curved side out lining the inner ring of the pan. Loosen parchment paper circle as needed to keep the ladyfingers standing upright. Press close together for a snug fit. If there are any gaps left in the bottom of the pan, fill with small pieces so that no filling will leak through.
- To prepare filling: Place chocolate in a large, heavy-gauge saucepan and melt over low heat stirring constantly. Once smooth, remove from heat.
- Sprinkle gelatin over half & half and allow to stand 1-2 minutes to soften. Stir 1 cup of sugar into melted chocolate. Slowly pour half & half/gelatin mixture into chocolate. Blend well and return to heat.
- Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and just comes to a boil. Continuing to stir, reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. Gradually stir a few spoonfuls of chocolate mixture into yolks. Then beat remaining chocolate mixture into yolk mixture. Blend thoroughly.
- Return mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring constantly over low heat, for 1-2 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Then add vanilla extract and Amaretto or almond extract.
- Place saucepan in a large bowl of iced water. Be careful not to splash any water into chocolate mixture. Stir mixture frequently, until it has cooled enough to a form a slight mound when dropped from a spoon, approximately 5-10 minutes.
- While chocolate mixture is chilling, whip egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until soft and lightly fluffy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar to beaten whites and continue beating until stiff, but not dry.
- Whip whipping cream until it just holds a shape. (Cream whips up best when beaters, bowl and cream are well chilled in advance.)
- When chocolate mixture has sufficiently thickened, gently fold in beaten whites and then whipped cream.
- Pour mixture into prepared springform pan. Cover pan securely with plastic wrap, being careful not to let it touch surface of chocolate mixture. Freeze until firm, 1-2 hours or overnight.
- To serve: Unlock and remove outer ring of springform pan and discard parchment circle. Garnish with sliced almonds, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
- Charlotte may need to stand at room temperature 5-10 minutes for smooth slicing. Slice into wedges and serve. Return to freezer to store.
Imperial Sugar Insight
This recipe originally appeared in 1990 in volume X, #1 of our Homemade Good News Cookbook.