Fruited Charlotte Russe Recipe

An easy custard cake with a cookie crust and berry topping.

2 packages ladyfingers*
2 cups milk (1% or more)
2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin (2 tbsp)
1 135 g package vanilla pudding mix (not the instant variety)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup low-fat (5%) sour cream
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup blueberries or raspberries, divided in half
1-2 tsp icing sugar

*Use the soft ladyfingers from the cookie aisle or bakery section. The crisp variety of these cookies will not work for this recipe (see instructions below). Purchase enough (we used around 40) to line the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan.


Step 1: Line a 9″ springform pan with ladyfingers (see instructions below).

Step 2: In a small saucepan, whisk together milk, gelatin, pudding mix, sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture has the thick consistency of a custard sauce. Scrape into bowl and set in cold water bath to cool. Stir occasionally until custard is tepid.

Step 3: In a large bowl, beat whipping cream until fluffy (but not stiff). Gradually beat in sour cream. Fold in lemon zest and cooled custard mixture. Stir in half the berries. Scrape into ladyfinger-lined pan. Spread evenly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Chill about 2 hours, until filling is firm enough to slice. To serve, remove outer ring of pan. Mound remaining berries in middle of charlotte and dust with icing sugar.

How to line a springform pan with ladyfingers:

Ladyfingers (oblong sponge cakes with a vanilla flavour that are sold in supermarket bakery sections or cookie aisles) form the base of charlottes. Be sure to get the soft ladyfingers, not the crisp variety, since you will need to slice them.

Begin by creating the border. Stand ladyfingers around the edge of the pan, and slice off top ends so ladyfingers measure the height of the pan. Flip the ladyfingers around so the cut ends sit on the bottom of the pan and the rounded ends create a pretty curved edging at the top.

Next, lay ladyfingers in a single layer on the bottom of the pan, butting them snugly against the standing ladyfingers to help keep them vertical. Trim ladyfingers as needed to fit. Use trimmed edges to fill up any gaps. Pour in the filling to hold the ladyfingers in place.


Andrew Grinton