A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 06, 2008
Charlotte Russe

The charlotte russe (sometimes capitalized as “Charlotte Russe") has been called “Brooklyn ambrosia,” although the Bronx also claims the dessert. In the first half of the 1900s until about the 1960s, New York City’s bakeries and candy stores sold the charlotte russe for about a nickel—this dessert of a sponge cake wrapped in cardboard, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The cardboard allowed the eater to push up the dessert from the bottom, until all was finished. In Brooklynese, the dessert was called “tcharla droos” (see 1976 story, below).

The charlotte russe was sold in autumn and mostly disappeared in the summer months. It was usually eaten as a snack on New York City streets and seldom taken home for a dessert after a formal meal. In 1959, Brooklyn Republican leader John R. Crews memorably commented about then-mayor Robert Wagner: “The guy’s so light he could do a tap dance on a charlotte russe.” (That would be lighter than whipped cream.)

The exact origin and the name of the dessert has been open to debate.  A “charlotte” (cited in print from the 1790s) began as a fruit dish covered with toasted bread crumbs. Charlottes could have been named after Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), wife of King George III of England. An 1829 book (below) states: “The charlotte has been so called after the name of the original inventor.”

“Charlotte Russe” was also called “Charlotte a la Parisienne.” It is often claimed that celebrated French chef Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833) had worked for Russian Czar Alexander I and named the dish “Russe” in that country’s honor. However, a printed recipe for “Charlottes a la Parisienne or a la Russe” appears in Carême’s book, The Royal Parisian Pastrycook and Confectioner (1834), based on a French original published in 1815 (and, in turn, based on recipes from 1810-1811). Carême hadn’t worked for Czar Alexander I until after 1815.

Perhaps the dish was called “Charlotte Russe” because of the then-used ingredient of “Russian isinglass” (a substance from the swimbladders of Beluga sturgeon, later replaced in desserts with gelatin).

The fashion retail store chain named Charlotte Russe began in 1975 in Carlsbad, California.


Wikipedia: Charlotte Russe
Charlotte russe is a dessert invented by the French chef Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833), who named it in honor of his Russian employer Czar Alexander I (russe being the French word for “Russian"). It is a cold dessert of Bavarian cream set in a mold lined with ladyfingers. One etymology suggests it is a corruption of the Old English word charlyt meaning “a dish of custard.” There is a lot of doubt surrounding the origins of the name charlotte. Meat dishes that were known as charlets were popular in the 15th century. Other historians say that this sweet dish took its name from Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), wife of George III. It is also possible that the dessert takes its name from Alexander I’s sister-in-law, Charlotte of Prussia.

Charlotte russe is mentioned in the song “This Could Be the Start of Something (Big)” from the 1954 TV musical production The Bachelor, composed by Steve Allen and in the song “Captain Custard,” performed by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the 1940 Paramount film Road to Singapore.

Charlotte russe also refers to a treat once popular in Brooklyn:

“The classic French dessert called charlotte russe is an elegant mold of ladyfingers, filled with flavored Bavarian cream. But to old-time Brooklynites, a charlotte russe was a round of sponge cake topped with sweetened whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and sometimes a marashcino cherry, surrounded by a frilled cardboard holder with a round of cardboard on the bottom. As the cream went down, you pushed the cardboard up from the bottom, so you could eat the cake...these were Brooklyn ambrosia.”—The Brooklyn Cookbook, Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy, Jr. [Alfred A. Knopf:New York] 1994 (p. 386) [NOTE: this book contains memories and a recipe.]

The confection was also popular in The Bronx.

Charlotte russe is used as an example of the changing nature of tastes and personal preferences in Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld (1997, Scribner, p 324): “They Liked to dance, were good together, used to go dancing but forgot, let the habit slip away through the years the way you forget a certain food you used to devour, like charlotte russes when they were popular.”

Baking Charlotte russes are also mentioned in Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. “There was a bakery store to one side of it which sold beautiful charlotte russes with red candied cherries on their whipped cream tops for those that were rich enough to buy.”

Wikipedia: Charlotte (dessert)
A Charlotte is a type of dessert that can be served hot or cold. It can also be known as an ‘ice-box cake’. Bread, sponge cake or biscuits/cookies are used to line a mould, which is then filled with a fruit puree or custard. It can also be made using layers of breadcrumbs.

Classically, stale bread dipped in butter was used as the lining, but sponge cake or sponge fingers may be used today. The filling may be covered with a thin layer of similarly flavoured gelatin.

Types
Due to the simple preparation of Charlottes, many different varieties have developed. Most Charlottes are served cool, so they are more common in warmer seasons. Fruit Charlottes usually combine a fruit puree or preserve with a custard filling or whipped cream. Some flavors include strawberry, raspberry, apple, pear, and banana.

Other types do not include fruit but use a custard or bavarian cream. Chocolate Charlotte uses a mousse filling within the layers. A citrus curd is a more contemporary choice.

Etymology
There is a lot of doubt surrounding the origins of the name charlotte. Despite the fact that charlottes are served across Europe, one etymology suggests it is a corruption of the Old English word charlyt meaning “a dish of custard.” Meat dishes that were known as charlets were popular in the 15th century. Other historians say that this sweet dish took its name from Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), wife of George III.

Wikipedia: Marie-Antoine Carême
Marie Antoine (Antonin) Carême (c.June 1784–12 January 1833), known as “The King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings” was an early practitioner and exponent of the elaborate style of cooking known as haute cuisine, the “high art” of French cooking: a grandiose style of cookery favored by both international royalty and by the newly rich of Paris. Carême is often considered as one of the first, internationally renowned celebrity chef.
(...)
Works by Carême:
. Le Pâtissier royal parisien, ou Traité élémentaire et pratique de la pàrtisserie et moderne, suivi d’observations utiles au progrès de cet art, et d’une revue critique des grands bals de 1810 et 1811 (Paris, 1815)
(...)
. The royal Parisian pastrycook and confectioner ([From the original of Carâme, edited by John Porter] London, 1834)

Brooklynisms
Charlotte Russe: A favorite Brooklyn treat consisting of pound cake in a cylindrical cardboard container with a false bottom, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

Charlotte Russe—Company Story
The market created the demand; Charlotte Russe answered the need. In 1975, a clothing retailer dedicated to affordable women’s clothing was founded, and its first store was opened in Carlsbad, California. Focused on women ranging from teens to early twenties, the store offered value-priced merchandise that followed understandable fashion trends. During the subsequent 20 years, the Company grew into a 35-store regional chain concentrated in Southern California generating $70 million of annual sales.

In September 1996, Saunders Karp & Megrue, a private equity investment firm, and Bernie Zeichner acquired Charlotte Russe from its founders with the intention of pursuing an accelerated national store expansion program. The new owners believed that a significant opportunity existed to leverage the strength of the Charlotte Russe concept and its new store economics by further penetrating existing markets and expanding the chain to other regions of the country. A total of 29 new stores were opened during the first two years under the new management team.

In the ten years since the ownership change, Charlotte Russe Holding, Inc. has more than quadrupled its store count, rising to more than 360 Charlotte Russe stores as of the end of July 2006. Through consistent execution and strong market positioning, the Company strives to continue to deliver significant revenue and operating profit growth.

Our Philosophy
Through fashion content, merchandise mix and exciting store layouts, design and merchandise presentation, Charlotte Russe projects the fashion attitudes and trends that appeal to a broad range of customers.

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe stores deliver style in clothing and accessories, providing an exciting, fashionable assortment of merchandise that compliments virtually every facet of our customers’ lifestyle. The stores provide fashion and lifestyle needs of young, fashion-conscious women in their teens and early twenties, offering trend right apparel and accessories at value prices.

With stores targeted at 6500 - 7000 square feet, Charlotte Russe takes full advantage of its size by offering a much broader assortment of merchandise than other competitors in our category. In addition to a wide selection of apparel, Charlotte Russe also offers a full range of accessories and footwear. Our accessory assortments enable customers to easily compliment their apparel selections.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
charlotte
[F. charlotte: possibly the feminine proper name.]
A dish made of apple marmalade covered with crumbs of toasted bread; also, a similar dish made with fruit other than apple. Hence, charlotte russe, a dish composed of custard enclosed in a kind of sponge-cake.
1796 J. BARLOW Hasty-Pudding i. 9 The Charlotte brown, within whose crusty sides A belly soft the pulpy apple hides.
1807 M. E. RUNDELL New Syst. Domestic Cookery (ed. 2) vi. 249 A Charlotte. Cut as many very thin slices of white bread as will cover the bottom and line the sides of a baking dish, but first rub it thick with butter. Put apples, in thin slices, into the dish.
a1845 BARHAM Ingol. Leg. ser. 3 (1847) 247 They soon played the deuce With a large Charlotte Russe.
1846 ‘A LADY’ Jewish Manual 139 Apple charlotte. Ibid. 190 Another excellent recipe for a fruit charlotte.
1855 THACKERAY Newcomes v, He would have had jellies and Charlottes Russes, instead of mere broth, chicken and batter pudding.
1859 SALA Tw. round Clock (1861) 246 Charlottes of a thousand fruits.
1860 O. W. HOLMES Elsie V. (1887) 90 Charlottes, caky externally, pulpy within.
1899 Daily News 15 July 7/5 A Neapolitan Cherry Charlotte.
1946 M. DICKENS Happy Prisoner iv. 55 It’s apple charlotte, with the top off the milk.

The Food Timeline
[1824]
“Charlotte.
Stew any kind of fruit, and season it in any way you like best; fry some soices of bread in butter, put them, while hot, in the bottom and round the sides of a dish which has been rubbed with butter, put in your fruit, and lay slices of bread on the top; bake it a few minutes, turn it carefully into another dish, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, and glaze it with a salamander.”
---The Virginia House-wife, Mary Randolph, facsimile reprint of 1848 edition with Historical Notes and Commentaries by Karen Hess [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia] 1984 (p. 155)

22 December 1826, Eastern Argus (Portland, ME), pg. 1:
PARIS, Oct. 18, 1826.
(...)
“Ah,” exclaimed one of them, after a short pause, “he is eating Charlotte russe.”

Google Books
Domestic Economy, and Cookery, for Rich and Poor
By a Lady
London:
Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green
1827
Pg. 632:
Charlotte of Apples.

Google Books
The French Cook,
A System of Fashionable and Economical Cookery, Adapted to the Use of English Families

By Louis Eustache Ude
London: John Ebers and Co.
1829
Pg. 340:
733. Charlotte of Apples mixed with Apricots.
The charlotte has been so called after the name of the original inventor, yet there is no doubt but his successors have made great improvements on the original. To make a charlotte, take a dozen of rennets; but if you use a very large mould, you require more. Cut them into quarters, peel them, and put them into a pan with a lump of butter, a little cinnamon, the peel of half a lemon, and a little pounded sugar. Stew all these ingredients over a brisk fire, but without allowing them to burn. WHen the apples are nearly done, take them off the fire, mix with them half a pot of marmalade of apricots, and throw the whole into a mould trimmed with slices of bread dipped into melted butter; cover the marmalade with bread that has also been dipped into butter. Now bake the charlotte in an oven that is pretty hot; give it a goodcolour and serve up hot. THe top of the charlotte must be always decorated; to do this, put some clarified butter all round a plain mould, then cut the crumbs of bread in any shape you think proper. To keep all the apples confined in the mould, the neatest and prettiest way is to cut the bread with a plain round cutter, and lay them over one another (Pg. 341—ed.) all round; they must be dipped into clarified butter before they are put into the mould; then put the apples, and cover them; give a good colour, drain all the butter, and serve very hot and crisp.

Google Books
The Cook’s Dictionary, and House-Keeper’s Directory
By Richard Dolby
London: Henry Colbourn and Richard Bentley
1830
Pg. 131:
CHARLOTTE
Pg. 132:
CHARLOTTE a la Francoise. (...)
CHARLOTTE a l’Italienne. (...)
CHARLOTTE a la Parisienne.—Take a quarter of a pound of well glazed spoon-biscuits, and a small case of green pistachio biscuits, which must be cut in thin slices, and then formed into lozenges; arrange these at the bottom of a plain octagon mould, in the form of a star, and with the remainder cover the sides of the mould, placing them upright, and the glazed sides next the mould; fill the interior with a vanilla fromage-bavarois, but do not put it in till the moment before it is sent to table; then cover the fromgae with biscuits, and surround the mould with pounded ice for about forty minutes, then turn it on a dish for table.

Google Books
The Cook’s Own Book:
Being a Complete Culinary Encyclopedia

By a Boston Housekeeper
Boston, MA: Munroe and Francis
1832
Pg. 45:
CHARLOTTE. (1) Cut a sufficient number of thin slices of white bread to cover the bottom and line the sides of a baking-dish, first rubbing it thickly with butter. Put thin slices of apples into the dish in layers, till the dish is full, strewing sugar (Pg. 46—ed.) and bits of butter between. In the meantime, soak as many thin slices of bread as will cover the whole, in warm milk; over which place a plate, and a weight, to keep the bread close upon the apples; let it bake slowly for three hours. For a middling-sized dish, you should use half a pound of butter for the whole.

CHARLOTTE. (2) This second course may be made of any kind of fruit you please, and is eaten hot. If apples are used, pare, core, and cut about twenty of them into small pieces, and put them into a stewpan with some water, a good piece of fresh butter, powder-sugar, pounded cinnamon,and grated lemon-peel, and stew till the water is dried up; then set them to cool in an earthen ware vessel. Cut some very thin slices of crumb of bread, dip them in melted fresh butter, and lay them neatly all over the bottom and round the sides of the stewpan; then pour in the apples, leaving a hole in the middle, in which put apricot marmalade. Cover the whole with bread, sliced thin, and buttered as above. Place it in a hot oven, baked it an hour, and turn it out.

CHARLOTTE DES POMMES. Pare, core, and mince fourteen of fifteen French rennet apples; put them into a frying-pan, with some pounded loaf sugar, a little pounded cinnamon, grated lemon-peel, and two ounces and a half of fresh butter; fry them a quarter of an hour over a quick fire, stirring them constantly. Butter a shape of the size the charlotte is intended to be; cut strips of bread about the width of two fingers, and long enough to reach from the bottom to the rim of the shape, so that the whole be lined with bread; dip each bit into melted butter, and then put a layer of the fried apples, and one of apricot jam or marmalade, and then one of bread dipped into butter; begin and finish with it. Bake it in an oven for nearly an hour; turn it out to serve it. I may be boiled, and served with a sweet sauce.

Google Books
The Royal Parisian Pastrycook and Confectioner
From the original of M. A. Careme, of Paris
Edited by John Porter
London: F. J. Mason
1834
Pg. 216:
Charlottes a la Parisienne or a la Russe.
Take four ounces of biscuit a la cuilliere, well iced, and a case of green biscuit; with pistachios cut in diamonds of one inch and a quarter in length. WIth a part of these ingredients, mask the bottom of a plain octagon mould, and with the remainder of the biscuit mask the sides of the mould, putting them upright and close together, the iced side next to the mould. As soon as it is ready, fill the mould with the ingredients for making either of the fromage Bavarois, (described in Part VII), and then cover the cheese with biscuit; after which put the mould in ice for forty minutes, and then serve it up directly.

Google Books
Mrs. Ellis’s Housekppeing Made Easy;
Or, Complete Instructor in All Branches of Cookery and Domestic Economy

By an American Lady
New-York: Burgess and Stringer
1843
Pg. 63:
A CHARLOTTE RUSSE.— Boil in half a pint of milk a split vanilla bean till the flavour is extracted, Then strain the milk, and when it is cold stir into it the yolks of four beaten eggs, and a quarter of a pound of powdered loaf-sugar. Simmer this custard five minutes over hot coals, but do not let it come to a boil. Then set it away to cool. having boiled an ounce of the best Russian isinglass in a pint of water till it is entirely dissolved and the water reduced to one-half, strain it into the custard, stir it hard, and set it aside to get quite cold.

Whip to a stiff froth a quart of rich cream, taking it off in spoonfuls as you do it, and putting it to drain on an inverted sieve. When the custard is quite cold (but not yet set or congealing,) stir the whipped cream gradually into it.

Take a circular mould of the shape of a drum, the sides being straight. Cut it to fit two round slices from the top and bottom of an almond sponge-cake; glaze them with white of egg, and lay one on at the bottom of the mould, reserving the other for the top.

Having thus covered the bottom, line the sides of the mould with more of the sponge-cake, cut into long squares and glazed all over with white of egg. They must be placed so as to stand up all round—each wrapping a little over the other so as to leave not the smallest vacancy between; and they must be at exactly the height of the mould, and trimmed evenly. THen fill up with the custard and cream when it is just beginning to congeal; and cover the top with the other round slice of cake.

Set the mould in a tub of pounded ice mixed with coarse salt; and let it remain forty minutes, or near an hour. Then turn out the Charlotte on a china dish. Have ready an icing, made in the usual manner of beaten white of egg and powdered sugar, flavoured with essence of lemon. Spread it smoothly over the top of the Charlotte, which when the icing is dry will be ready to serve. They are introduced at large parties, and it is usual to have two or four of them.

A CHARLOTTE POLONAISE. (...)
(Pg. 64—ed.)
This is superior to a Charlotte Russe.

Google Books
The Improved Housewife,
Or Book of Receipts

By a Married Lady
The Second Edition, Revised
Hartford, CT
1844
Pg. 136:
397. Charlotte Rousse.
Take an ounce of isinglass, quite fine, dissolve it in a coffeecup of water, and let it simmer slowly until it is reduced (Pg. 137—ed.) to less than a quarter. Next take a stick of vanilla and put it in a cup and a half of milk, sweeten it to your taste, and let it boil slowly fifteen minutes. Then take the yolks of four eggs, beat them a little, and when the milk is so cooled that it will not cook the eggs, stir them carefully in. Put the milk again over the fire, and the eggs; keep stirring till thick, (it must on no account boil,) then put it through a sieve. Put the isinglass through too, but keep them separate. Cover the bottom and sides of your mould with finger biscuits, neatly fitted into each other, and set the mould in a pail of ice. Beat a pint of cream, and mix all together, milk, isinglass, and cream, and pour it into the mould; cover the mould and lay ice over it, and leave it in the ice three hours. The cream should be beated just before you are readyto put it into the ice.

The Food Timeline
[1845]
“A Charlotte a la Parisienne.
This dish is sometimes called in England a Vienna cake; and it is known here also, we believe, as a Gateaux de Bordeax. Cut horizontally into half-inch slices a savoy or sponge cake, and cover each slice with a different kind of preserve; replace them in their original form, and spread equally over the cake an icing made with whites of three eggs, and four ounces of the finest pounded sugar; sift more sugar over it in every part, and put it into a very gentle oven to dry. The eggs should be whisked to snow before they are used. One kind of preserve, instead of several, can be used for this dish; and a rice or a pound cake may supply the place of the Savoy or sponge biscuit.”
---Modern Cookery for Private Families, Eliza Acton, facsimile 1845 reprint with an introduction by Elizabeth Ray [Southover Press:East Sussex] 1993 (p. 405-6)

The Food Timeline
[1846]
“An Easy Receipt for a Charlotte Russe.
Trim straightly about six ounces of savoy biscuits, so that they may fit closely to each other; line the bottom and sides of a plain mould with them, then fill it with a fine cream made in the following manner: put into a stewpan three ounces of ratafias, six of sugar, the grated rind of half and orange, the same quantity of the rind of a lemon, a small piece of cinnamon, a wine-glass full of good maraschino, a fine noyeau, one pint of cream, and the well beaten yolks of six eggs; stir this mixture for a few minutes over a stove fire, and then strain it, and add half a pint more cream, whipped, and one ounce of dissolved insinglass. Mix the whole well together, and set it in a basin imbedded in rough ice; when it has reamied a short time in the ice fill the mould with it, and then place the mould in ice, or in a cool place, till ready to serve.”
---The Jewish Manual or Practical Information in Jewish & Modern Cookery With a Collection of Valuable Recipes & Hints Relating to the Toilette, Edited by A Lady, facsimile of the first Jewish Cookbook in English published in 1846, introduction by Chaim Raphael [Nightingale Books:Cold Spring NY] 1983 (p. 189-190)

Google Books
Bradshaw’s Illustrated
Travellers’ Hand-Book to France

London: W. J. Adams
1854?
Pg. lxvi:
Charlotte russe Syllabub in light paste

Google Books
King’s Handbook of New York City
by Moses King
Boston, MA: Published by author
1893
Pg. 984:
The J. M. Horton Ice Cream Co. is a name familiar to all New-Yorkers, Brooklynites and neighobring residents; for its delicious creams have been enjoyed by all. (...) It was 22 years ago, in 1870, that James M. Horton began the manufacture of ice cream in New York City.
(...)
Besides ice creams, its water-ices, charlotte russe and jellies are well known. 

16 May 1911, Hamilton (OH) Evening Independent, pg. 6, col. 4:
STRAWBERRY RUSSE.
One pint whipped cream, powdered sugar to sweeten, one box of strawberries, crush and mix with cream and beat together. Serve in charlotte russe paper cups with lady fingers. Top off with strawberries. 

8 November 1931, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 12, col. 7:
CHARLOTTE RUSSE COMES AND GOES.
During the season, there springs up around town a number of little shops selling charlotte russe. They never remain for more than a few weeks.

In Brooklyn, one charlotte russe shoppe opened the other day and the owner was going to take no chances on slow sales. He posted a big sign over his door which read: “Auction Sale. Everything Must Go At Once.”

15 December 1950, New York (NY) Times, “Rubel Corp. Sells Plant in Brooklyn, pg. 58:
The Rubel Corporation has sold the building at the southeast corner of Rockaway and Lott Avenues, Brooklyn, containing 40,500 square feet of space, to the Dairy-Rich Charlotte Russe Company. The property, formerly occupied as an ice plant, will be used for the manuifacture of ice cream. 

10 September 1959, New York (NY) , “Quotation of the Day,” “New Yorker at Large” by Mark Barron, pg. 37:
“The guy’s so light he could do a tap dance on a charlotte russe.”—John R. Crews, Brooklyn Republican leader, making an appraisal of Mayor Wagner. [28:4.]

13 February 1972, New York (NY) Times, “John Crews, G.O.P. Boss in Brooklyn, Faces Fight” by Frank Lynn, pg. A3:
The crusty Mr. Crews, who once dismissed an opponent with the crack that “he’s so light he could tap dance on a charlotte russe,” doesn’t agree with Mr. Seergy.

22 November 1976, New York (NY) Times, “The Charlotte Russe? It Survives” by Richard F. Shepard, pg. 47:
The Charlotte Russe, that venerable New York specialty that left generations of city kids with white mustaches on their faces, is not extinct but, like ancient Chinese jade, it is hard to come by.

The Charlotte Russe was a street delicacy that, as a perishable, came out in autumn and disappeared, mostly, when the weather turned hot. Basically, it was a piece of sponge cake topped by a heap of whipped cream with a cherry at its pinnacle. Sometimes with fruit, sometimes with sprinkles, but these were optional.

it cost a nickel at most and came in a partitioned round white cup with a moveable bottom that you could push up as you made your way through the whipped cream. You bought it in candy stores, bakeries an sometimes in five-and-dime stores. And it was always eaten in the street; it was not a dessert but a snack.
(...)
“Charlotte Russe? Nobody knew to call it that. We called it a tcharla droos. You couldn’t get that at home” (Sam Levenson—ed.)

The Charlotte Russe seems to have faded after World War II, but the reasons might call for a seminar or a doctoral thesis. Higher labor costs in bakeries, more whipped cream available to the masses, a fashion change of the sort that rocks Seventh Avenue. Take your choice.

13 February 1991, New York (NY) Times, “Robert Wagner, 80, Pivotal New York Mayor, Dies” by James F. Clarity, pg. B7:
He went over to the reformers (in 1961—ed.), now facing the ire and power of the very party leaders who had sponsored his first mayoral candidacy. The party’s state chairman, Michael H. Prendergast, said of Mr. Wagner’s political ability: “He’s so light he could tap-dance on top of a Charlotte Russe,” a whipped-cream and cake confection once sold widely on city streets in springtime.

4 September 1993, New York (NY) Times, “Meade Esposito, 86, Former Power in Politics, Is Dead” by Richard D. Lyons, pg. 26:
Gruff, outspoken and with a ready turn of phrase for an appreciative ear, Mr. Esposito once said of his years of nominating judges, delivering votes and fighting off investigators:

“Hey, I’ve been dancing on a charlotte russe for 16 years and I never dented the cherry.” The reference was to his years of service as Brooklyn Democratic leader, and to gild the charlotte russe he gave himself two years to grow on, apparently including in his years of service tiny parts of 1969 and 1984 when he was actually out of power.

12 November 1997, New York (NY) Times, “On an Odyssey With the Home of Rugelach: Writer of ‘New York Eats’ Sings of the City’s Cooks” by Ruth Reichl, pg. F1:
(Interview with Ed Levine, author of “New York Eats—ed.)
Listen to his sermon on charlotte russe. “A classic Brooklyn confection,” he croons, picking up the little white cream-filled cup. “You can hardly find these anymore.” He sticks his face into the whipped cream, pushing slowly upward as he eats. “See,” he says happily, “this is the original pushup.” He eats reverently, licking the whipped cream from his lips. “God, this is good!”

Google Books
Beyond the Brooklyn Bridge: A Memoir
By Bernice Carton
Published by Sunstone Press
1998
Pg. 40:
Charlotte Russe was a treat you could only get in the spring. Who knew why? That’s just the way it was. it cost three cents for a small cardboard cup with a fake bottom that made it look like you were getting more than the cup really held. The top of the cup was cut in a fancy zigzag. Standing upright around the inside of the cup were four ladyfingers with a mountain of whipped cream heaped high in the middle, sometimes with a red cherry on top.
Pg. 41:
You got Charlotte Russe at Sam’s Candy Store on the other side of 18th Avenue. 

Google Books
The Book Club Cookbook:
Recipes and Food for Thought fromYour Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors

By Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
Published by Jeremy P. Tarcher
2004
Pg. 453: 
CHARLOTTE RUSSE
For Francie, a charlotte russe is an unattainable dessert, ogled through fancy bakery windows or served in elegant homes. Charlotte russe is made in a mold lined with liqueur-soaked ladyfingers and filled withe Bavarian cream. According to Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy, Jr., authors of (Knopf, 1991), charlotte russe, “Brooklyn’s ambrosia,” was ubiquitous in Brooklyn during the early part of the twentieth century—sold from pushcarts on the corners as well as in bakeries. “To old time Brooklynites, a charlotte russe was a round of sponge cake topped with sweetened whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and sometimes a maraschino (Pg. 454—ed.) cherry, surrounded by a frilled cardboard holder with a round of cardboard on the bottom,” write Stallworth and Kennedy. Charlotte russe had a variety of pronunciations in Brooklyn, among them “charley roose’ and “charlotte roosh.”

one r one s
junk food of the day: charlotte russe
06Oct08
Unless you or your immediate family is from the Bronx or Brooklyn you’ve probably never had this bastardized version of a Charlotte Russe.  A real french one consists of Bavarian cream lined with ladyfingers.  The boogie down version is a little sponge cake topped with the sweetest whipped cream you’ll ever eat, and a cherry on top. The cake sits on a round piece of cardboard so as you eat the whipped cream you push it up to get to the bottom.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, December 06, 2008 • Permalink