Chef’s Special: Beaucliffes, Porth Veor Manor, Porth, Newquay.

Strawberry Charlotte

Alex Sandor Kis

Recipe by Alex Sandor Kis, Head Chef at Beaucliffes, Porth Veor Manor

Alex is a Hungarian by birth, but he has worked in countries as far-flung and diverse as Israel, Italy, France, Greece and the United States. What drove him to travel was a self-confessed love of fish, “Hungary, being a land-locked country, doesn’t do fish so I decided to go to places where I could learn as many ways as possible to cook with fish. In Cornwall, the fish here is beautiful. The variety amazing and an excellent price in season.”

Undoubtedly the experience of cooking with difference flavours has influenced and informed his cooking style. “From Italy especially,” he tells, “where the emphasis is on a variety of fresh, tasty, seasonal fruit and vegetables.” Alex likes old school recipes for his cooking with a modern twist.

The English fruit dessert known as “charlotte” was a warm, fruit-filled case of butter and bread, which was probably devised in honour of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III. “However, the more elaborate and elegant French charlotte, on which this recipe is based, requires a mould of sponge, filled with a light mousse. Alex advises, “It is a little time-consuming to make this classic dessert and you’ll have to watch your timing.” Its inventor, Antonin Carême, was one of France’s greatest chefs.

For the autumn the strawberries can be replaced with apricots – a lovely, much underused fruit – but use the old bread and butter method and serve with a sauté of apricots and Chantilly cream.

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

125g (4oz) strawberries, plus more for the decoration

30g (1oz) pistachios, chopped, for decoration

Strawberry coulis, to serve

For the sponge mixture

4 eggs, separated

125g (4oz) caster sugar

125g (4oz) flour, sifted

For the syrup

60g (2oz) sugar

4 tbsp water

1 tbsp Strawberry Bols liqueur

For the mousse

200g (7oz) sugar

90ml (3 fl oz) water

20g (2/3 oz) glucose

4 egg whites

4 tsp framboise

4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water

250g (8oz) strawberries, puréed and sieved

150 ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream

For the strawberry glaze

175g (6 oz) strawberry jam

1 tbsp strawberry Bols Liqueur

Preparation

1. Make the sponge: whisk the egg whites and sugar until stiff.  Fold in the egg yolks and the flour.  Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.  With a plain nozzle, pipe the mixture on to the paper in a 15-cm (6 inch) round and in fingers 5cm (2 inches) long.  Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C (325°F, Gas 3) for about 12 minutes.  Cool.

2. Make the syrup: combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Stir in the framboise.

3. Line the bottom of a charlotte mould with the sponge round and put the sponge fingers around the edges.  Moisten with the syrup and set aside.

4. For the mousse, make a syrup with the sugar, water and glucose, then boil to hard-ball stage, 120°C (250°F) on a sugar thermometer.  Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.  Gradually pour the syrup on to the egg whites, whisking constantly.  Continue whisking until the meringue is cool.  Heat the liqueur in a pan, drain the gelatine and melt it in the liqueur.  Stir into the strawberry purée.

5. Whip the cream until thick.  Carefully mix the strawberry purée with the meringue, and then fold in the whipped cream.  Pour the mousse into the lined mould, adding a layer of raspberries in the middle.  Cover and chill until set.

6. Make the glaze: melt the strawberry jam with the liqueur.  Sieve the mixture and let it cool slightly.

7. Remove the charlotte from the mould.  Arrange strawberries on top and cover with glaze.  Sprinkle over the pistachios.  Serve with strawberry coulis.

Beaucliffes at Porth Veor Manor, Porth, Newquay TR7 3LW
Tel  (01637) 873274
http://www.porthveormanor.com

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