24 Lady Fingers (you can make them or buy them, I bought them)
5 6-once containers fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
¼ cup cold water
1 cup superfine sugar, divided
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
Seeds from ¼ Plumped Vanilla Bean or ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
Confectioner’s sugar for garnish
- Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Place a 8 by 3-inch metal cake ring on the pan. Insert an 8-inch cardboard round, white side up, in the bottom of the ring. (I didn’t do any of this, I used a spring-form pan)
- On a clean work surface, evenly line up the lady fingers next to one another with their sides touching. Cut one rounded end from each lady finger so the cookies are 3 inches ljong, reserving the trimmings. Stand a ladyfinger, rounded tip up, inside the ring, with the rounded side facing out and the flat side of the ladyfinger facing toward the center. To help the lady finger stand, place one of the small cookie trimmings against the bottom end to support it, and repeat with each lady finger. Continue with enough ladyfingers to line the sides of the pan. Line the bottom of the pan with the remaining ladyfingers, cut to fit and the trimmings.
- To make the filling, coarsely pure the raspberries and lemon juice in a food processor. Rub the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the seeds. You should have 2 ½ cups puree.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand until the gelatin absorbs the water, about 5 minutes. Bring the puree and the ½ cup sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat. Add the softened gelatin to the hot puree and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the puree to a medium stainless steel bowl set in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the puree is cold and begins to hold its shape. Remove the bowl from the ice bath before the puree sets too much.
- Combine the cream, the remaining ½ cup sugar, and the vanilla in the chilled bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip just until soft peaks form. Stir about one-fourth of the whipped cream into the raspberry puree to lighten it, then fold in the remaining cream. Pour the raspberry filling into the lined ring and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the charlotte until it is set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Lift up on the ring to remove it. Arrange some of the raspberries in a single layer on the filling, then top with the remaining berries. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top. Slice the charlotte with a knife (wipe clean between slices), and serve chilled.