Our family is back from Jean-Claude's country house, and in Paris once again. Tomorrow we'll head back to the States...in the mean time, here is a fabulous French dessert for you to try!
Having just read Julie and Julia and planning a Julia-would-be-proud brunch for our book club meeting to discuss it, I was looking for a quick dessert to serve to the girls, to round out the menu with Râpée Morvandelle and Salad with Sauce Vinaigrette. This almond cream with fresh strawberries sounded like it would fit the bill beautifully. All three recipes come from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
I opted to not use ladyfingers, as Julia said I could. She wrote, "If you cannot buy [ladyfingers], or have not the time to make them, omit the ladyfingers altogether and turn the almond cream into a ring mold [not]...or into a serving dish, or into individual dessert cups." Individual dessert cups I can do. She continues, "Although the dessert cannot then be called a charlotte Malakoff, it will still be delicious, and can be nicely decorated with fresh strawberries."
I wish she had said what it would be called...I have no idea, so I still called it Charlotte Malakoff. I won't go into detail about the molding/unmolding and all the directions for the inclusion of ladyfingers because that's not how I'm making mine. I'll just tell you how I served these, and call it good.
*When you finish making the dessert, there will be a strong smell/taste from the orange liqueur. You must believe me when I tell you it will mellow out in the fridge overnight; don't be tempted to reduce or omit this ingredient! If you don't do liqueur, please choose a different recipe.*
I love this dessert. Everyone loved this dessert. It is so creamy, yet light, and just so good and beautiful.
Charlotte Malakoff aux Fraises
Almond Cream with Fresh Strawberries-a cold dessert
For 8 to 10 people
Preparing strawberries: Hull 1 quart fresh strawberries. Wash them quickly if necessary, and set on cake rack to drain thoroughly. Thinly slice about half the strawberries. (my addition)
The almond cream:
1/2 pound softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (preferably the very finely granulated" instant type)
1/2 cup orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups pulverized almonds
2 cups chilled whipping cream
a chilled bowl
a chilled beater
Cream butter and sugar together for 3 to 4 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Beat in orange liqueur and almond extract. Continue beating for several minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Beat in the almonds.
Whip the cream until the beater, drawn across the top of the cream, leaves light traces. Fold the cream into the almond and butter mixture.
Divide a third of the almond cream into individual serving dishes. Neatly top each dish of almond cream with a layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat with another layer of almond cream and sliced strawberries, and finish with the almond cream. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, top each dish with a couple whole strawberries, husk end down.
**I had planned to top each dish with whole strawberries, but mine were just too big. I sliced all the strawberries and arranged one whole sliced berry on top of each dessert dish.
Don't forget to visit me at The Bad Girl's Kitchen for more fabulous recipes!