Apparently, in Isobel’s mind, the best way to distract a mother from the grief of losing a child is to have her over for lunch. And, oddly, she turns out to be right, but mostly because Robert shows up to make a scene and look like a intolerant jerk and a buffoon yet again. Though he’s enraged by the idea of his wife, daughters, and mother being served luncheon by a (gasp!) former prostitute, the ladies all take one look at the pudding and decide to stay. I’ve never had a Charlotte Rousse, but if the picture’s anything to go by, I don’t blame them one bit.

Charlotte Rousse

Recipe from


16 unfilled ladyfingers, split

1 envelope unflavoured gelatine

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 cup heavy cream, or whipping cream, whipped


Line the bottom and sides of 8- or 9 x 3 springform pan with ladyfingers.

Soften the gelatine by sprinkling it over the lemon juice and letting it sit for a few minutes, until needed.

In the top of a double boiler off the heat and using a hand-held electric mixer or wire whisk, beat the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and salt until smooth.

Bring water in the bottom of a double boiler to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Set the top of the double boiler over the simmering water. Gradually whisk in the gelatine mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Pour into a large bowl and fold in the lemon zest. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (or chill over ice cubes in a larger bowl, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes).

In a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan, stir together the egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Over very low heat and using a hand-held electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (or beat in bowl or double boiler over simmering water). Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Fold the beaten egg whites and whipped cream into lemon-gelatine mixture.

Spoon into the ladyfinger-lined pan. Chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. Garnish with lemon cartwheel slices and fresh mint leaves, strawberries, or other fresh fruit, if desired.

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2 thoughts on “Downton Dish: Charlotte Russe

  1. What a yummy looking dessert!

    Ugh, I’m so disappointed this season with Downton. So disappointed.

    Love your recaps though! Way better than the actual show itself!

    <3 Jules

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