Saturday, May 21, 2005

IMBB # 15- Getting jiggy with gelatin- Mango Charlotte

This IMBB event hosted by charming Elise of Simply recipes could have been a disaster. I do not like jiggly, jelled foods much and I was contemplating a no-show for this one.. until I came across this recipe (and also remembered the need to use up a couple of dozens of ladyfingers). I have always looked at charlottes with awe- it is not something that you see at parties. I have never eaten one. When Pierre Herme made a more authentic version in Martha Stewart's Food network show, I wondered open-mouthed, about how the ladyfingers stuck together and made a picket fence surrounding the pool of cherry Bavarian. This is an elegant dessert from the 1800s; an ice-box, no-bake cake of the high society, if you will.

The hard part was getting the ladyfingers fit into my springform pan and also to get the vertical fingers stand stable on curved base. This is where my geekiness steps in. The geek in me asks me to bake a biscuit base from 'The Cake bible' that would act as my faux base. The ploy worked great too. Some mango nectar from the Indian grocer was the moistening agent for sticking the fingers together. This lightened up version sure is delicious 'coz mango and yogurt go very well together with cardamom brightening things up.

Mango Charlotte (from Bon Appetit-May 1994)

1/2 c Mango nectar plus more for gluing ladyfingers
1/4 oz Unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup mango puree (made from about 2 cups ripe mangoes)
3 tb Sugar
2 tb lemon juice
1 1/3 c Plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup diced peeled mangoes
About 18 Sponge cake ladyfingers
One Biscuit base, cut to fit your pan
finely chopped unsalted pistachios for garnish

Place nectar in small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 10 minutes to soften gelatin. Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in nectar mixture, sugar, cardamom and lemon juice to the mango puree. Place bowl over large bowl filled with ice water. Stir mango mixture occasionally until cold and beginning to mound, about 10 minutes. Fold in yogurt and 1/2 cup diced mangoes. Chill over ice water 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Place the biscuit base and brush with 4 tablespoons of mango nectar. Arrange enough ladyfingers and stand around the perimeter of base, using nectar as a glue to stick fingers, keeping their rounded sides out. Spoon mango mixture into pan. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until set, at least 5 hours.

I used some mango slices and pistachios for garnish. The effect it had on our friends was worth all this effort. Tastes great too.


  1. this is so pretty! i love the intensity of the orange color- and it sounds delicious too.

  2. Thanks for your compliments Tanvi. Looking forward to see your submission...

  3. I'm so glad you decided to go for it and do something jiggly anyway! This looks delicious. Hard to go wrong with mangos.

  4. Mika - I can't see how you could go wrong with mango and ladyfingers. I'd like to use mangos more, personally, but I always end up eating it as I slice and never have any left! Glad you enjoyed the charlotte.

  5. hiya Mika
    Ohh wow. this looks so impressive. Like you, I never quite like the wobbly gelly jelly! Perhaps I should give this a try next time at a party :)

  6. Mango and lady fingers! Yum. I'll definitely have to keep this in mind next time I need to make an impressive dessert.

  7. Mika, this looks really good. My two sons-in-law would love it. I'll have to see if I can find some ripe mangos this weekend!

  8. how nice! i wanted to do a charlotte russe for the IMBB but rant out of time. this one looks like a must-try.