Its orange is Italian, its pineapple from the Reunion Island, its cream Bavarian, and it assembled Russian style: this charlotte has certainly been around! A good reason for Cake Justice to summon this dessert – created by the Graines de Créateurs pastry shop in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine – to its court. Does it have all the attributes of a good charlotte – is it moist and tender? Does it manage to be mild but also sometimes sharp? Only a rigorous audition will tell.
This cake is composed of a ladyfinger exterior encrusted with orange zest, surrounding an orange-flavored Bavarian cream, a pineapple jelly and a coconut sponge cake. The dessert is garnished with pieces of Victoria pineapple poached in a vanilla-lime syrup.
The Italian Orange and Victoria Pineapple Charlotte by Graines de Créateurs has a diameter of 60 mm and a height of 48 mm. The specimen we purchased weights 111 grams and costs 4.90€.
We distinctively smell the perfumes of pineapple, lime and orange wafting from the cake. We start by negligently picking at the pieces of pineapple on the surface. Their texture is faithful to that of the actual fruit, and mixes with the perfumes of vanilla and lime – the latter adding a touch of both acidity and bitterness. Underneath the pieces of pineapple, we discover a Bavarian cream which is clearly rich in egg yolks, without it being unpleasant. This cream has an adequately jellified texture and is abundantly encrusted with orange zest, which invigorates its rich smoothness, bringing a welcome flavor as well as a perhaps redundant bitterness.
As for the pineapple jelly, it forms a rather rigid and compact bloc. Instead of melting in one’s mouth, it tends to break apart underneath the pressure of the tongue. Its taste is faithful to the real fruit, and this compact jellified texture in fact creates a welcome contrast with the various soft and creamy textures surrounding it. The ladyfinger crust on the exterior of the charlotte is moist without being soggy, and not very sweet. The orange zest with which it is inlaid brings to it texture and flavor. Finally, the sponge cake found at the base of the dessert is equally moist, appearing to be generously soaked in syrup. As a result, it easily breaks apart upon coming under assault from our fork. The texture and taste of grated coconut in this sponge cake is suitably discreet.
We are happy to find at Graines de Créateurs a charlotte which showcases seasonal fruits, and which carefully and successfully incorporates multiple techniques and textures. The pineapple-vanilla-lime combination is clearly a winning one, and one which pairs perfectly with orange. However, there is still room for improvement when it comes to balancing the level of bitterness – which seems to be excessively present in the cake’s various elements: in the poached fruits, in the Bavarian cream, and in the ladyfinger crust. This seems to us to be clearly redundant, as it imparts a general taste of bitterness to the dessert as a whole. It would have been advisable to play up the mildness of the orange by reducing the amount of zest. The lime can remain tart and slightly bitter, provided it is compensated by a mellow Bavarian cream.
Score: 3.6/5 Good
50 bis avenue Charles de Gaulle, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France