This gorgeous gift comes filled with delicious intentions -- as well as magnificently rich chocolate and coconut custards. The luxe layers are wrapped in cocoa ladyfingers and finished, fittingly, with a red satin bow.
- Vegetable oil, cooking spray
- Chocolate Ladyfingers and Cake Rounds
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUSTARD
- 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1 cup)
FOR THE COCONUT CUSTARD
- 1 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE RUM SYRUP
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup dark rum
Make the coconut custard: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread coconut on a baking sheet, and bake until light gold, about 3 minutes.
Whisk together yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and the cornstarch in a bowl. Bring milk, coconut milk, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture to yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add remaining milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Return to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisk-ing constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter and vanilla. Fold in coconut, then transfer to a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard, and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 1 hour (or overnight).
Make the chocolate custard: Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl, and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk together yolks and sugar in a medium bowl.
Bring 1/4 cup cream and remaining 1/4 cup milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/3 of the cream mixture to yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add remaining cream mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Place over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, until custard coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in softened gelatin.
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Strain cream mixture over chocolate, and let stand for 1 minute. Stir until smooth, and let cool. Whisk remaining 3/4 cup cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the cream into chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest.
Make the rum syrup: Bring sugar and rum to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
To assemble the charlotte: Place a 6-by-3-inch cake ring (see the Guide), on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Coat ring with cooking spray. Arrange ladyfingers upright inside ring, curved side touching ring. (Use just enough to fit snugly.) Fit 1 cake round in bottom of cake ring. Brush ladyfingers and cake with syrup. Spread 3/4 cup chocolate custard in ring, then top with 1 cup coconut custard. Repeat with cake, syrup, and custards, leaving 3/4 inch from top of ladyfingers.
Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then gently remove cake ring. Top charlotte with whipped cream, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Tie with bow, if desired, before presenting at the table. Slice, and serve immediately.