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Chocolate-Madarin Charlotte

Chocolate-Madarin Charlotte

A Charlotte is a classic French dessert composed of a mold of liqueur-soaked ladyfingers and filled with a Bavarian cream or mousse filling. This one combines a decadent dark chocolate mousse, Cointreau-brushed ladyfingers, and the lively tang of fresh satsumas or tangerines. Elegantly tall, crowned with drift of creme chantilly (whipped cream) and bound with a wide ribbon. It makes a glorious finale to a festive holiday meal.

This recipe uses an Italian meringue (meringue in which the egg whites and sugar are heated together before whipping) to reduce the risk of salmonella from raw eggs. Alternatively, you can use reconstituted egg white powder plus the sugar — avoiding the heating step, but still removing any risk of salmonella.

This dessert needs at least 4 hours to chill after assembling, and is better if it can chill overnight.

— 10-12 servings

*Items marked in green are available from The Gourmet Corner.


Candied Satsuma Peel
  • 4-6 organic satsuma mandarins or 6-8 organic tangerines
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Charlotte Mold

  • 1.5 packages (~36) Grand Jury Cuillers (French Ladyfingers)
  • 3 Tb Cointreau
  • 3 Tb satsuma or tangerine juice

Chocolate Charlotte Filling

  • 12 oz Cacao Noel Royale 64% chocolate calets*
  • 6 Tb Cointreau + 3 Tb water
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 8 Tb sugar
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1 c heavy cream

*Do not substitute a lower-percentage chocolate: the mousse will not set properly. If you prefer to use a higher-percentage chocolate, use 7 ounces of Cacao Noel Noir 72% Calets and increase the sugar to 7 Tbs.

Creme Chantilly

  • 1.5 cup whipping cream
  • 6 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • (optional, but makes a splendid presentation) 1 yard 1.5-2” wide satin ribbon or gold ribbon.

Candied Satsuma Peel

Score the citrus rind vertically in quarters, cutting all the way through the rind but not into the fruit. Carefully remove the segments of peel and set aside. Refrigerate fruit until needed.

Bring a heavy small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the peels and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then rinse the peels under cold water. Repeat cooking the peels in the saucepan with fresh boiling water and rinsing under cold water twice more.

Allow peels to cool, then use a small spoon to gently scrape away the yellow-orange pith from the orange rind. Slice into squares, strips, or shreds.

Stir the sugar and 1/3 cup of fresh water in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add the scraped peels and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

If you will be storing the peels, roll them in granulated sugar, then store in a tightly covered container. They will keep indefinitely if surrounded by enough sugar. If you will be using them within the next few days, it’s fine to just refrigerate them in a covered container.

Preparing the Charlotte Mold

Juice 1-2 of the peeled satsumas, to produce 3 Tbs juice. Combine Cointreau with the satsuma juice in a small bowl or cup.

Slice remaining satsumas 1/3 inch thick.

Line a 9” springform pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. Trim one end of 8 ladyfingers to a sharp point. Brush each ladyfinger with the Cointreau mixture and arrange them flat side down in a starburst shape in the center of the pan, with the pointed ends meeting in the middle. Cut 4 ladyfingers in half at a 45” angle and fit the angled pieces in between the spokes of the ‘starburst’. There should be ¾ -1” space between the rounded ends and the side of the pan. Arrange a layer of sliced satsumas over the ladyfingers.

Arrange a row of ladyfingers around the side of the pan, rounded side against the side of the pan — move the slices of satsuma toward the edge to help hold the ladyfingers in place. Note: you may have to trim the ends of some of the ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan to make enough space for the vertical ones. Carefully brush the flat side of the vertical ladyfingers with the Cointreau mixture.

Set aside the lined mold while you prepare the chocolate filling.

Chocolate-Madarin Charlotte

Chocolate Charlotte Filling

Melt chocolate, Cointreau and water in a medium bowl set in a barely simmering pan of water. Stir frequently to ensure even melting. Or, melt in a microwave on medium (50%) for about 2 Stir until smooth. When mixture is warm and smooth remove from heat and put in a large bowl.

Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large skillet. Combine the 4 tsp water with the cream of tartar in a 4-6 cup stainless steel bowl. Add the egg whites and sugar and whisk together briskly to combine ingredients thoroughly and break up the egg white clumps (they tend to scramble easily.) Place an instant-read thermometer near the stove in a mug of hot tap water.

Set bowl of egg whites in skillet. Stir mixture briskly and constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom often to avoid scrambling the whites. After 1 minute, remove bowl from skillet. Quickly insert thermometer, tilting bowl to cover stem by at least 2 inches. If less than 160°F, return thermometer to mug. Replace bowl in skillet. Stir as before until temperature reaches 160°F when bowl is removed. Beat on high speed until cool and stiff.

Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Scrape all of the remaining whites on top of chocolate and set aside while you beat the cream in the bowl that held the egg whites. Beat cream just until it holds its shape softly — do not beat until stiff, or it will curdle when you fold it into the mousse.

Scrape whipped cream over egg whites and chocolate. Fold together until just incorporated. Immediately spread the mousse into the lined mold

Refrigerate the charlotte for 6 hours to overnight, to allow the flavors to blend and the mousse to set.

Finishing and Serving

Carefully expand the springform ring so that the bottom and sides separate. Keeping the ring around the charlotte, slide the charlotte (on its parchment) onto the serving tray.

Carefully remove the ring from the springform. Gently tie the ribbon around the charlotte, if using.

Whip the cream until almost stiff, then stir in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla
Use a pastry bag with a large star tip to pipe the creme chantilly in decorative rosettes or swirls on the top of the charlotte.

Garnish with a scattering of the candied satsuma peel. Serve immediately. Remove the ribbon before cutting!

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