Over the weekend, I had the extreme privilege to meet up with local bakery owner, Romina Rasmussen at her cafe and bakery, Les Madeleines. Together we cooked up the perfect summer treat, a Strawberry Charlotte with layers of strawberry bavarian, fresh-made lady fingers and strawberry gelee. To be more perfectly accurate, she created this beautiful cake while I took notes and asked a lot of questions. We made a short video of our time together, as she explains why she chose Salt Lake for her award winning bakery and how she maintains sanity while running her own bakery.
Among my many questions, I asked about her favorite kitchen tools and her favorite local restaurants. Her most cherished kitchen items were her commercial grade immersion blender, a square shaped ice cream scoop, a tiny whisk, and this intriguing cutting tool that cuts pastries and bars into perfect lines. As for her favorite restaurants in town, she mentioned that she usually eats at Les Madeleines before going home but occasionally will go out to either Pago, Plum Alley, or Finca. We agreed that the Salt Lake City dining scene is going nowhere but up. When she first opened Les Madeleines there weren’t many options and she said the only place she enjoyed back then was Mazza.
I also learned quite a bit Romina’s tips and technique as I observed her creating this delicious dessert. Here are a few I’ll be storing for the future:
- Beat meringue at a medium speed for longer instead of high speed for a shorter time. This will create a stronger and creamier meringue and with our climate stiff peaks will easily go dry.
- Always measure your vanilla into one of the other ingredients so that you don’t loose any of the vanilla
- Don’t be afraid to add liquor to just about anything you bake. Romina adds chardonnay to strawberry jam and amaretto to chocolate cake!
- Making your own lady fingers is not as difficult as one would think. Just bake them quickly for about 3 minutes and remove them from the oven before they brown. They should bounce back when you touch them.
To taste this delicious Strawberry Charlotte, you can buy them at Les Madeleines in individual cake sizes or you can check back on theVintageMixer.com recipe blog for a recipe I’ll be posting next Monday!