If ever there was a dessert, so wonderful, and yet so simple, that you could serve it up to your most discerning guests after a five-course meal, and then again for breakfast the next morning- this would be it.
I first learned of Charlotte Rousse, almost five years ago when my lovely father-in-law reflected fondly on his favorite childhood dessert. I remember him sitting at the table, left hand on top of right, looking up the the ceiling with a smile, lost in reverie. I wondered what was keeping us from enjoying the family tradition now, almost sixty years later.
No reason, it turns out.
His mother, affectionately known to the rest of us as Grandma Helen, still had the recipe. But based on the way it was passed down to me, with calls for ingredients that didn't always specify measurements ("Line bowl with graham cracker crumbs mixed with a little melted butter"), I'm guessing it had been tucked back away in the cookbook in her mind for all those years. Ahhh, grandmothers...so amazing!
After some trial and error, and a lot of taste-testing from Papa, I believe I have fine-tuned the written recipe and am thrilled to say it's now a staple in our family year round.
Passed down from the hearts Papa and Grandma Helen, we can now all enjoy this for (at least) another generation.
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar with 2 tbs flour
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 package plain gelatine
14 graham crackers
5 T melted butter
Soften gelatine in ¼ c cold water
Beat egg yolks until light - add sugar to which flour has been added
Put milk in a double boiler. When hot, add yolks, sugar and flour mixture.
Add gelatine and cook until thickened. Mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon when done. Remove from heat and let cool. Add vanilla.
Pour mixture through a sieve to remove any remaining clumps.
Pulse graham crackers and melted butter in a Cuisinart until a fine-crumb mixture.
Line bowl with graham cracker mixture to make a crust.
Whip the cream and fold into custard mix.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold them into mixture.
Pour custard into crust and chill for 4 hours. Garnish as desired with some graham cracker crumbles or fresh fruit.