First a little bit of history, Charlot pudding, (Charlot of Russia), was named in honor of queen Charlot, wife of king George III and it consists of a famous edition of the traditional English sweet namely the trifle of the 18th century in Europe. In Russia, the french chef of Alexander I, Marie-Antoine Kareem added a cold touch to the sweet, no doubt influenced by the strong Russian winters. He wrapped the Charlot with spongecake and in between the layers he put Bavaria pudding or mousse. (ref: Wikipedia).
The Charlot pudding that is described here is the Cypriot version and it is absolute the simplest recipe, it has both ladyfingers and the best of fruits, and the pudding is easy and light. Made with ingredients every homemaker has at home. In stead of ladyfingers, spongecake or cake, both 2-3 days old can easily be used. Most sweets in Cyprus were made of dough in earlier days or puddings as the summers are long and hot. Charlotte is one of those sweets. Mrs. Amalia used to make it with leftover cake or spongecake, it was an excellent way not to waste anything. Cut the cake in rectangular pieces and soak them in juice and brandy like the ladyfingers.
200 gr ladyfingers
8-16 gr brandy
400 gr can of mixed fruits
8 gr rose water
100 gr corn flour or instant custard
85 gr sugar
1.25 liter full milk
40 gr peeled and roasted almonds
preserved fruits for decoration
Place the almonds in some water in a small casserole, bring them to the boil and boil them for a few seconds.
Pour them in a colander and rinse them with plenty of cold water, it is very easy now to squeeze them out of their skins. Rinse them again with cold water and deb them dry with a tea-towel or kitchen paper. Slice the almonds in half lengthwise and place the almonds on some baking paper in a small oven dish.
Grill them in the oven until light brown. Some advise, stay on top of them because they brown from one moment to the other! Set them aside to cool.
Open the can with fruit and pass the fruit with juice through a sieve over a bowl, Save the juice and add a little brandy to the juice.
One by one dip the biscuits in the juice with the brandy and place them on the bottom of a rectangular Pyrex (or one of your choice). Break the leftover biscuits in smaller pieces and place them above the other ones in the Pyrex.
Add the fruits and some of the almonds on top of the biscuits and continue with the pudding.
Pour most of the milk in a medium casserole and keep 1 cup of milk on the side. Add the sugar to the milk in the casserole and slowly warm up the milk.
Dissolve the cornflour in the leftover milk and add this to the milk in the casserole to heat up. Stir continuously.
The pudding will thicken and is ready when bubbles appear on the surface.
Pour the pudding over the biscuits and the fruits. Continue with the preserved fruits. First wash the preserved fruits and depending on what kind of fruits are used, cut them in halves or in slices for the decoration of the Charlot pudding.
When the Charlot pudding has cooled down, it must be stored in the fridge.