Old-fashioned Strawberry Charlotte

I was thrilled when I found a dreamy hundred-year-old recipe for Strawberry Charlotte. This blush pink classic mousse, topped with strawberries, has a light citrus taste and colorful flecks of orange peel.  Strawberry Charlotte is a light and creamy cold dessert that’s perfect on a warm Spring day.

I molded in the  Strawberry Charlotte in individual ramekins (custard cups), rather than using a large mold. I unmolded one for the photo – and served the remainder in the ramekins. Whether on top or bottom, the strawberries worked perfectly in this luscious, creamy dessert. I want to make Strawberry Charlotte again using a large mold. It would make an impressive, beautiful dessert.

Here is the original recipe:

The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Strawberry Charlotte

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

approximately 1/2 pound strawberries (1 cup crushed strawberries)

1/4 cup sugar + 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 packets unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup strawberry juice (from crushed berries) + additional water

grated rind of 1 orange

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cups heavy whipping cream

Hull and slice strawberries, then crush with a fork.  Place in a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the sugar to draw the juice out of the berries.

Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water. Let sit for at least a minute.

Drain crushed strawberries, reserving the strawberry juice. Measure the juice and add additional water to make 1/2 cup liquid. Put the juice and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the gelatin mixture. Continue stirring until completely melted. Stir in  3/4 cup sugar, the grated orange rind, and lemon juice; immediately remove from heat. Set aside.

Put the whipping in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Set the pan with the gelatin mixture in a larger pan that contains cold water and ice cubes. Stir the gelatin mixture until it begins to thicken. Then gently fold the gelatin mixture into the whipped cream, one third at a time.

This recipe makes 7 – 8  cups – and would work nicely in a 9-10 cup mold. Arrange the crushed strawberries in the bottom the mold  and then spoon the whipped cream mixture into the mold. (Or use individual molds or ramekins. If individual molds are used, divide the strawberries and whipped cream mixture across the molds.). Chill in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours).

To serve, quickly dip the mold in hot water, then gently slide the Strawberry Charlotte onto serving plate.  If ramekins are used, may be served without unmolding, if desired.

47 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Strawberry Charlotte

  1. I’ve never had this, or even seen it, although I certainly have heard of it for years. It looks and sounds luscious. I tend to shy away from anything involving gelatin, but this seems simple enough, and it certainly would make a fine dessert for a special occasion.

  2. Such a tasty looking dessert!
    I’m quite surprised they’ve omitted the use of lady fingers cookies, or cake, unlike in most classic Charlotte desserts. Either this was a shortcut, or maybe it’s an early version of the “no gluten” recipes?

    1. Based on the number of charlotte recipes that I’ve seen in old cookbooks, I think that they were a relatively common dessert back then – though there seems to be huge variation from one recipe to the next in exactly wheat the dessert entails. For example, I have an old cookbook that contains a recipe for Apple Charlotte that lines the mold with strips of bread. I think that the common feature of old charlotte recipes is that they are molded and that they contain fruit.

  3. A mouthwatering photograph and a pleasant find. I don’t think I’m going to have time to do this it takes a long time to gather all the ingredients. But it sure is fun to see yours.

    1. I think that the “now and then” part is the important part when it comes to desserts. I generally try to eat healthy, and I sometimes wonder how often I should make dessert recipes for this blog since I always end up eating them. 🙂

  4. Your dessert is beautiful. I’m glad you mentioned a choice of large mold or individual ones. With my luck, a big one would slide onto the floor in a tired heap, and we don’t have a cat to lick it up.

    1. Since there’s just my husband and me in our household, I knew that a large molded dessert wasn’t going to work for me. I was really pleased with how the individual servings turned out.

  5. I’ve always wondered what a charlotte was; now I know. Looks delicious. Tonight we are having your berry cobbler, as I had some blackcurrants which needed cooking.

      1. Wikipedia says: Russian Charlotte, or Charlotte russe is a dessert invented by the French chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784–1833), who named it in honor of his former employer George IV’s only child, Princess Charlotte,[1] and his current, Russian employer Czar Alexander I (russe being the French word for “Russian”).

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