Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Strawberry Charlotte (Carlota de fresa)

This Strawberry Charlotte recipe is a super easy icebox dessert from latinoamericano origins, known as Carlota de fresa.  I first had it in the lime flavor (Carlota de limón or Pay de limón) and fell in love with it at first bite.  My friend Vicki gave me the recipe and I only modified it by adding granulated sugar.  It is so easy to make and so delicious.  So delicious that I wish I were a pro-blogging photographer because these lame-o pictures do not do it justice.

You'll need:
Sour cream, frozen strawberries (thawed), galletas Marias (cookies), granulated sugar, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and a lime.

Puree the thawed strawberries, sugar, and lime juice...

...so that it looks like this.

Add the sweetened condensed milk.

Add part of the evaporated milk and sour cream, blend.

My blender isn't big enough for all of the ingredients so I have to pour half of it into a bowl.

I add the other half of the sour cream to what's left in the blender, puree it, then pour it in with the rest of the mixture and with a spatula I mix it all together.

Spread some of the strawberry mixture onto the bottom of a 9x13 in. dish.

Dip the cookies one at a time for just a second into the remaining evaporated milk.

Put a layer of cookies at the bottom of the dish, you might have to break some up to fit them in just right.

Spread some of the mixture over the cookies, just enough to cover them completely.

Repeat the layering process several times...

until you almost reach the top of the dish, maybe about half an inch from the top; this will be your final cookie layer.

Spread the remaining strawberry cream over the cookies.  It should be a thicker layer at the top.

Freeze it for at least an hour.  If you freeze it longer than that, thaw it for 15 to 30 min. (depending on the room temperature) before serving.

Strawberry Charlotte (Carlota de fresa)

16 oz. bag frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1 lime
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
12 fl. oz. can evaporated milk, divided
32 oz. carton sour cream
3 (4.9 oz.) packages Maria cookies*

1. Puree the strawberries, sugar and lime juice in a blender.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup evaporated milk and sour cream, blend.  (If your blender isn't big enough like mine, you might have to divide up the ingredients and blend it in batches, then mix it altogether in a bowl.)
2. Layer a 9x13 in. dish with just enough strawberry cream to cover the bottom.  
3. Dip each cookie for just one second into the remaining evaporated milk, shaking off any excess milk.  Layer the cookies over the strawberry cream until you cover the bottom.  Spread strawberry cream over the cookie layer just enough to cover the cookies.  Repeat this process until you come to about half an inch from the top of the dish, ending with a cookie layer.  Spread the remaining strawberry cream over the final cookie layer.
4. Cover the dish with foil (my dish had a plastic cover that I used) and freeze for at least an hour before serving.  If you freeze the dish for more than an hour, thaw for 15 to 30 min. (depending on the room temperature) before serving.  It should be firm, yet soft enough for a sharp knife to cut through but not so soft that it is completely melting.

*You can find these cookies in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store.  If you can't find them, try substituting with vanilla wafer cookies.  In this recipe you might end up with some extra cookies, I usually end up with about less than half a package of cookies that didn't make it into the dish.

You can make a Lime Charlotte or a Mango Charlotte following the base of this recipe as well.  I've tried all three and I can't decide which is my favorite, they are all so good.

Lime Charlotte (Carlota de limón): Substitute the strawberries and lime juice with the juice of about 12 limes or until the juice comes to a little above the 250 ml line on your blender.  Make sure the limes are juicy!

Mango Charlotte (Carlota de mango):  Substitute the strawberries for a bag of frozen mangoes, thawed.  I couldn't find a 1 lb. bag of frozen mangoes but I think it was 14 or 15 oz. and that was close enough.