The savory charlotte is an elegant appetizer that resembles the traditional French dessert, but uses brioche dough, leek and ham mousse, and a bit of creativity! Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the Giallozafferano App (in English) http://itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249?mt=8
Start with making the brioche dough for the base, layers and sides of the charlotte, so put the sifted cake flour and bread flour in a stand mixer, the active dry yeast, the sugar and the grated cheese. Turn on the mixer and add the milk, the water, the beaten eggs and the salt. Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Add a pinch of pepper and grated nutmeg. Beat until it forms a smooth dough, then add a piece of butter at a time, the butter should be soft, not melting; do not add more butter until the previous addition is fully incorporated. When the dough forms a ball around the hook, it’s ready; remove it from the hook and place in a bowl to rest. Form into a ball, cover with cling film and let it rise for 30 minutes in the turned off oven, with the light on.
As for the filling of the charlotte, start with the leek mousse: pour a little extra virgin olive oil into a large pan and add the leeks, cut into thin rounds. Cook on a low flame until they turn transparent, covered with a lid, adding a pinch of salt. Cut the tender part of the leek into strips and set a few aside for garnish. The leeks are cooked, there should be no liquid left; in a food processor with a blade attachment, combine the ricotta, the grated cheese, salt and pepper and the leaf gelatin, that has been softened in cold water, squeezed and melted in the warm cream. Process until smooth. Strain the resulting mixture, if you want your filling to be silky smooth. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.
Weigh out about 1,5 lbs (650 g) of dough, this piece will be baked in a panettone mould, 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter, buttered and lined with parchment paper. The remaining dough will be baked in a loaf pan, buttered and lined with parchment paper, about 10x4 inches (26x10 cm). Take the 1,5-lb (650 g) piece of dough, form into a ball and transfer to the round mould; slightly flatten the top, then take the remaining piece of dough, shape into a rectangle and roll it up from the long side with the seam side down, and transfer to the loaf pan. Place them in the turned off oven, with the light on, for at least 2 hours.
The second mousse is made with ricotta and ham: take the food processor with blade attachment and combine the ricotta, the ham, a pinch of salt and ground pepper, a pinch of grated nutmeg and the leaf gelatin, that has been melted in warm cream. Strain the resulting mixture, if you want it to be extra smooth. Once strained, place the mousse in the fridge to rest for a couple of hours, then spoon both into 2 separate pastry bags. The doughs have risen, place in a preheated static oven at 350°F (180°C) and bake the loaf cake for 30 minutes, and the round cake for at least 40 minutes.
I’ll garnish the charlotte with little rosebuds of ham: take a slice of ham, cut in half, then into strips, wide at one end and narrow at the other. Roll it up from the narrow end. Repeat until you have about 10 rosebuds.
Remove the cakes from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Slice off the top of both, to get a flat surface. Cut the round cake horizontally into 3 layers: score a line, then cut through the centre. Even out the sides of the loaf cake and cut lengthwise into slices, about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Cut the slices in half again, both crosswise and lengthwise, until you have about 20 rectangles this size. Toast them in a non-stick pan or in the oven until golden brown.
It’s time to fill the charlotte: pipe the leek mousse onto the first layer, work in concentric circles from the outside in, cover with the second layer and fill with the ham mousse, cover with the top layer, and fill with the leek mousse. Spread it evenly, because we will decorate the top layer with dollops of mousse and rosebuds of ham. Spread the leek mousse on the sides as well, then place the remaining mousse in a pastry bag with star tip and set aside to use for garnish.
Take the toasted brioche slices and arrange them upright around the sides of the charlotte: they should be ½ inch (1 cm) taller than the cake. Pipe dollops of leek mousse around the perimeter. Arrange the rosebuds of ham, place the reserved leek, cut into julienne strips, in the middle, and garnish with dollops of ham mousse; black poppy seeds for colour contrast, and a few small basil leaves.