Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rhubarb Strawberry Charlotte Russe Recipe

Your picnic/cookout begs to have this beauty on your table.

At a garage sale I managed to score this beauty from 1954.

250 ideas for those hot summer days when you don't want to cook too much.
 In the back there is a section labeled refrigerator cakes,and the recipes for Charlotte Russe piqued my interest. A Charlotte Russe is Bavarian molded with ladyfingers.
 So this reminded me of a recipe that I tried last year for the first time. I have a whole section just labeled Rhubarb in my recipe binder in hopes to collect as many recipes as I can rhubarb.
It was just labeled Strawberry-Rhubarb Dessert Cake, but the first ingredient was Ladyfingers so I had to try it.  After making it I fell in love, it was not the same old cake that shows up at potlucks, and the taste...divine!
I also love the fact that you can prep this cake up to two days ahead and that it uses a fair amount of the abundant rhubarb.
I originally found this recipe on but have adapted it.

Rhubarb Strawberry Charlotte Russe

2 dozen Lady Fingers ( I prefer the soft ones usually found in your grocers bakery/frozen section)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
6 cups fresh rhubarb diced in 1/2 inch ( can use frozen too )
1 cup water
2 oz. Strawberry gelatin
1 oz. unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 Tbsp. cornstarch
red food coloring (optional )

Cook rhubarb in 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar over medium high heat until very soft. Strain off 1 cup of juice and reserve. Put rhubarb in blender  and puree until smooth. ( this can be done up to two days ahead, just refrigerate) Return to pan and bring to a boil, then pour over gelatin. Stir until blended then cool in the fridge. While cooling whip cream and add vanilla extract. When rhubarb is cool blend with cream.
Line a 9 inch springform pan with the lady fingers, side and bottom. Pour in half of the rhubarb cream mixture, then add a layer of lady fingers. Then fill with remaining mixture. Refrigerate until set or overnight.

Mix the 1 cup of rhubarb juice with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, and continue to boil until it becomes thick and clear. Then add red food coloring if desired. Let mixture cool slightly but not set up. Then unmold cake and gently pour over the top of  cake. I let it drip down in between each lovely little ladyfinger. Refrigerate until set approximately 1/2 hour.
Garnish with strawberries if desired.

You can use the entire package of strawberry jello and skip the unflavored gelatin. It tastes just as good, I prefer to let the rhubarb taste shine through a little more than the strawberry.

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