Saturday, June 18, 2011


Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I grew to love peaches quite late although I still have a love/hate relationship with the fruit. The first time I had them was when I was about 7 years old. My uncle who works for the customs brought us a couple of canned peaches as a present for the family and everyone loved them except for me. To me, they were slimy and nasty and reminded me of snot so I spat it out. It was not until I was in high school when imported canned fruit cocktail invaded our grocery stores that I was reintroduced to them. By then, I have overcome my prejudice and through peer pressure, I grew to love them. During my time in Atlanta, the capital of the peach state Georgia, peaches were in abundance but I could never find the right time to buy them when they are gloriously ripe. You either find them too young or too ripe. The only time I ever bought fresh peaches that were perfectly ripe was in Florida but even then, that single moment of luck was never repeated.

Peach Cobbler or Peach Melba are probably the two most common ways of using peach in a dessert but I am more partial to Peach Charlotte Russe or Peaches and Cream. Both desserts are fairly similar since the latter was derived from the former as my way to present the dish in the more familiar cake form. Peach Charlotte is very similar to the Mango Ice Box cake from back home where the cake base are ladyfingers sandwiched by a cream-based frosting and slices of fresh fruits (be it peaches or mangoes). The discovery of the Charlotte came about due to my frustration with the mangoes available here in the US. Most come from Mexico and although they look similar, the flavor and texture are quite different. You always end up with something that is very stringy and is never sweet, definitely not suitable for making cakes unlike their counterparts back home. The closest and most available substitute for this elusive ingredient is the canned peach.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Charlotte Russe is usually assembled in a springform pan to form a round cake using precisely pieced ladyfingers and surrounded by more ladyfingers in a picket fence design, sometimes tied with a ribbon to finish off the cake. The parts of the cake are held together by a cream custard mousse and flavored with fresh or canned peach slices. It is very much an Easter or a spring cake. I personally don't do it this way since it is a bit too frou-frou and instead opting a simpler version by assembling it in a 9x13 baking pan. If you intend to give it away as a gift though, I think that the original form of the cake will be the perfect way to present it. I just think that without the ribbon, this whole cake will fall apart so I never make it as such.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Peaches and Cream came about as my way to translate the flavors of the Charlotte but in cake form. Since I need more stability for the cake, I prefer to use a sponge or a chiffon cake as the cake base with pastry cream as the glue that holds both the cake and the fruit filling together. I use the same cream custard mousse to finish off the cake and the overall effect is similar to that of another favorite from back home, the Crema de Fruta cake. As a side note, for those who have access to really good mangoes, switch out the peaches for the mangoes and I think you will have a winner for your next dinner party.

*Charlotte Russe with Peaches - Adapted

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup milk
4 eggs separated
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
2 batches of ladyfingers, recipe follows
2 32 oz canned peach slices

1. To make the cream custard mousse, soften gelatin in milk on top of a
    double broiler.

2. Beat the egg yolks and add to milk together with ¼ cup sugar and the
    salt. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until mixture is
    thickened and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool, stirring occasionally to
    prevent crust from forming.

3. Beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon
    at a time.

4. Fold egg whites and 2 cups whipped cream into the custard mixture.

5. Arrange a tight layer of ladyfingers in a 9x13 dish. Pour ¼ of the
    custard mixture and top with peach slices. Level the peach slices with
    another layer of the custard mixture. Repeat the process until you end
    up with a top layer of the custard mixture.

6. Keep cool in the fridge until ready to serve.

**Ladyfingers - Adapted

4 egg whites, large
2/3 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks, large
7/8 cup scant all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 17-inch-by-l2-by-4-inch baking sheets
    with baking parchment. Fit large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 inch
    round tube.

2. Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer and whip until soft peaks  
    start to form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to
    beat until stiff and glossy. Transfer to another bowl. Add yolks to  
    mixer bowl and stir in remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale
    in color and remove bowl from stand.

3. Sift flour and baking powder together onto a sheet of wax paper.  
    Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the flour,  
    and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Add the vanilla and mix  
    just until incorporated. Transfer mixture to pastry bag and pipe out  
    onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until the tops are
    golden brown.

Peaches and Cream

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
To prepare this cake, I made sponge cake and baked the cake in a 9-in round baking pan and I also used pastry cream flavored with 2 tbsp of rum using the recipes from I also used one recipe of the cream custard mousse as detailed above to frost the cake. To assemble, cut the cooled cake in half crosswise and take the lower layer as the base and spread with half the pastry cream and top with the peach slices. Top with the second layer and repeat the process. Cover the sides with the custard frosting using a spatula and pipe the remaining mousse into rosettes on both the top and lower edges of the cake. Let cool for at least two hours before serving.

*Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Volume 3, Fawcett    Publications, Inc., New York, 1966


  1. :) Please forgive my irrational dislike of peaches!

  2. There are 2 gross reactions so either you pressed twice or there is another peach hater. Don't worry, I'm not taking this personally.