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Strawberry Charlotte

If you remember and loved those milk jellies of childhood made with a can of evaporated milk then this grown up version made with cream and fromage frais encircled with sponge finger biscuits is a must.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Chilling: overnight or minimum of 7 hours


135 g tablet strawberry jelly, diced

150 ml (1/4 pint) boiling water

4 tablespoons cold water

225 g (8 oz) strawberries, hulled, finely chopped

150 g (5 oz) fromage frais

150 g (5 oz) sponge finger biscuits

200 ml (7 fl oz) double cream

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Halved strawberries and a few blueberries to decorate


  1. Add the jelly to a bowl, pour on the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Transfer 4 tablespoons of the dissolved jelly to a separate smaller bowl then stir in 4 tablespoons cold water and reserve until later.
  2. Stir the chopped strawberries and fromage frais into the larger bowl of jelly, leave to cool then transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes until just beginning to thicken. If short of time put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile line the inside of a 17 cm (61/2 inch) diameter round cake tin that is 8 cm (31/2 inches) high with sponge finger biscuits, trimming a little off the base of one end of the biscuits so that they are the same height as the tin sides then stand around the inside edge of the tin with the cut edge downwards. Arrange the remaining biscuits and enough of the trimmings over the base of the tin to cover it completely.  
  4. Whip the cream in a third bowl until it forms soft peaks then fold into the just setting jelly and lemon rind. Spoon into the biscuit lined tin, smooth the top into an even layer then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Warm the small bowl of reserved jelly briefly in the microwave or by standing the bowl over a saucepan of just boiled water so that it becomes soft enough to spoon. Arrange the halved strawberries and blueberries decoratively over the top of the charlotte then spoon over the melted jelly to just cover the berries, making sure that the level of jelly is just below the top of the sponge fingers so that it doesn’t run down the side of the tin. Chill for 6 hours or overnight until set.
  6. To serve, stand the tin on a can or small upturned bowl, slide the tin sides down then carefully lift the Charlotte off the base of the tin and transfer to a cake stand. Tie a fine ribbon around the sides and serve cut into thick slices.