Caramel Pear Charlotte
This Caramel Pear Charlotte will be the centerpiece of your holiday table! Layers of moist brown-sugar vanilla cake surround a salted caramel pear mousse, wrapped with sweet and delicate lady fingers and tied with a bow. A crown of caramel-dipped pears is the icing on this beautiful and seasonal dessert!
If I told you how long I have been planning this post, you would probably think I am completely nuts.
Haha, maybe you already think that!? Well, to convince you even further, allow me to elaborate.
The idea came to me well over a year ago, when I came across Miette‘s recipe for Strawberry Charlotte. I thought, now wouldn’t something like that be pretty for fall. Pears! Caramel! So seasonal. Such a great centerpiece to a holiday table. But then, fall got really busy and before I knew it, pears were out, and peppermint, gingerbread, and egg nog had taken over. So I filed it away for the next year.
My intention was to have the post up in September. Then I thought, oh- ladyfingers deserve their own post, first. And then, gee, caramel-dipped fruit kinda does too… and it can be a bit of a wordy explanation, so maybe I really ought to do a video. So between that, plus all of the other fun fall recipes I wanted to share, here we are in November. But it’s not too late! I think this would be fabulous on your Thanksgiving dessert buffet.
This was my first time making a Charlotte. I can remember when I was a little girl, looking through my mom’s cookbooks- I saw a Charlotte and I just thought it was the ultimate. So elegant, right?
Some children aspire to be doctors, or to win the World Cup or the Nobel Peace Prize. This chick just wanted to make Charlotte. Dreams can come true, kids!
Just a few pro tips for you:
- This is definitely a make-ahead dessert. I made the ladyfingers well ahead, and kept them in the freezer until I had all the other components ready to go. You can do the same with the cake layer. The caramel-dipped pears and pear mousse can be made a day or two ahead.
- Check out this video for how to dip the pears in caramel.
- You can get pear nectar in the juice aisle.
- You can get pear puree in the baby food aisle.
- At first, the pear mousse might seem a little runny- don’t worry! It firms up a lot in the fridge, from the gelatin.
- To make the dessert lots easier to unmold, place two big sheets of plastic wrap down on the counter, slightly overlapping. Set the cake round on top. Then drop the whole thing, plastic wrap + cake, into the clean cake pan. Top with the mousse mixture and chill. When it’s all solidified, you can use the plastic to help pull it from the pan.
I hope you’ll try your hand at this incredible dessert! It’s so much fun to make and it’ll be sure to impress your guests!
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Caramel Pear Charlotte
For the cake
- 1/2 cup (62.5 g) cake flour
- 1/4 cup (31.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (73.33 g) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) scant kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter, (half a stick), softened
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla bean paste, (extract can be substituted)
For the mousse
- homemade ladyfingers
- about 6 Forelle pears,, dipped in caramel
- satin or grosgrain ribbon, for garnish
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and mist an 8-inch diameter x 3-inch deep round cake pan with non-stick spray.
- Cut a circle from parchment paper, and place in the bottom of the pan.
- Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed, until the mixture resembles damp sand.
- Stir in the egg, until fully incorporated.
- Add the yogurt, milk, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, to aerate the batter and strengthen the cake's structure.
- Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool for twenty minutes, then unmold and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the mousse:
- Place the water in a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin in an even layer on top.
- Whisk the yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl.
- In a small pot over medium heat, bring the pear nectar to a simmer.
- Add the hot pear juice to the yolks, a little at a time, while whisking.
- When all of the liquid has been incorporated, pour the mixture back into the pot and place over medium heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Whisk in the gelatin mixture, and cool to room temperature.
- Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks.
- Fold the whipped cream, pear puree, and salted caramel into the egg mixture.
- Line a clean 8-inch diameter x 3-inch deep round cake pan with plastic wrap, and place the cake round in.
- Pour the pear mousse over.
- Chill until firm.
To assemble the Charlotte:
- Unmold the cake/mousse from the pan and place on a serving platter.
- Wrap a sheet of ladyfingers around the dessert, securing with ribbon.
- Top with caramel dipped pears.