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Cranberry-Raspberry Charlotte

Servings: 8
12 to 14 double ladyfingers (about 3 oz. total)
1/4 cup kirsch or other cherry-flavor liqueur, or orange juice
13/4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
13/4 cups raspberries, fresh or unsweetened frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope (1/4 oz./7 gm) unflavored gelatin
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup whipping cream

1. Smoothly line a 11/2-quart charlotte mold (about 6 in. wide at top, 5 in. at bottom, 31/2 in. tall) or 11/2-quart soufflé dish with plastic wrap. Separate ladyfingers so each is flat on 1 side. Arrange a single layer of ladyfingers, rounded side down, in pan bottom; cut to a point at 1 end as needed to make them fit neatly into pan and to cover bottom completely. Stand remaining ladyfingers vertically, rounded side against pan, to cover sides of container. Lightly brush with 2 tablespoons kirsch.

2. Sort cranberries (thaw, if frozen) and discard bruised or decayed fruit. Rinse and drain cranberries and fresh raspberries (thaw frozen raspberries). In a blender, whirl cranberries, raspberries, and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Rub purée through a fine strainer into a bowl.

3. In a 2 to 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup water. Let soften about 5 minutes. Heat in a microwave oven at full power (100%) until mixture boils and is clear, 30 to 40 seconds. Add 1 cup berry purée and mix well. Nest bowl of berry-gelatin mixture in ice water and stir occasionally until it becomes very thick and syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes. If mixture gets firm, nest bowl in hot water and stir until syrupy.

4. Add 2 tablespoons kirsch to remaining purée; cover and chill up to 1 day.

Preparation Time:
About 45 minutes, plus at least 4 hours to chill.

If making up to 1 day ahead, cover and chill. Garnish with fresh raspberries or cranberries, plain or sugared. To sugar, dip berries in beaten egg white, then sugar, and dry on a rack at least 15 minutes. If you're concerned about raw egg whites, use dried pasteurized egg whites, available in most supermarkets; reconstitute them according to package directions. Look for a charlotte mold in specialty cookware stores, or use a soufflé dish.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Sunset Magazine
Date: November 23, 2003