This strawberry and lime infused icebox dessert takes the cake.
Carlota de Fresa is a creamy delight! Using a pantry duo of milks you inject the strawberry flavor both in the base and in the layering process. A zest of lime throughout brightens the creamy contents, while the simple cookies act as scaffolding, absorbing all of the delicious milks. The result is something quite unlike your semi-homemade icebox cake out there.
This Mexican dessert translates roughly into a strawberry Charlotte. Charlotte is probably referring to the Charlotte dessert, which combines fruits and cream with lady fingers. You can pretty much pair anything and make it a Carlota. The simplest being a Carlota de Limón, but here I wanted to try my hand at this pretty pink version.
I started by working on the base. In a blender, I combined the milks with lime zest and a few diced-up strawberries. Luckily I was able to find fresh strawberries, but if strawberries aren’t in season, don’t fret, you can use a few scoops of strawberry jam instead. The jam substitution makes this dessert a more convenient and easy almost pantry-based recipe.
Regardless of how you inject strawberry flavor, you may want to tint it with a bit of food coloring to get a pleasing pink shade. When you read the recipe, you’ll be surprised to see how little strawberries are added to the base, but there’s a reason! The more strawberries you add, the more watery your base becomes, resulting in an icebox soup that won’t slice well.
Blend the mixture for a good four to five minutes, and then you’re on to the next step —assembling the icebox cake. The process goes fast, so you want everything ready to go and prepped beforehand.
The classic Maria biscuits take center stage for this dessert, but if you (like me) can’t find these specific cookies, don’t panic. Essentially you want a thick and dry cookie. A dry cookie will absorb all of the milk, making the cake sliceable. You could use a simple cookie like Lorna Doone, Chessmen butter cookies, or your supermarket’s brand of plain cookies. Just make sure you have enough.
Layer the cookies alternatively with the milk-base and sliced strawberries. Once you get to the top, carefully transfer the pan over to the freezer to do its magic. Don’t rush it!
I topped my Carlota de Fresa off with some fresh whipped cream and remaining sliced strawberries. The once plain-Jane cookies are full of strawberry and cream flavor. Seriously this is like the ultimate version of strawberries and cream. The milks already have a concentrated, well, milky flavor and the strawberries provide just enough of a flavor burst paired with soft peaked whipped cream that just makes this dessert top-tier satisfying. Alongside bite of a frozen strawberries makes this the perfect cool down treat. You didn’t even have to break a sweat to enjoy something sweet.
Carlota de Fresa
20m prep time
1 cook time
- 1 pint strawberries, divided
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 16-oz can condensed milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 packages of Maria biscuits, you can use any plain hard cookie like Lorna Doone
- 1 cup fresh whipped cream (for garnish)
- Line a 8-x-8 square pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- Prep strawberries by coring the centers, slicing 1/2 of them into disks, set aside. Chop the remaining 1/2 pint of strawberries into a small dice.
- In a blender combine the small diced portion of strawberries, evaporated milk, condensed milk, lime zest, and milk, blending until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.
- Spoon a layer of the milk-mixture into the prepared pan, layer with cookies, and then spoon on the milk-mixture. Next add in some of the sliced strawberries, covering with milk mixture. Repeat this process until you reach the top, finishing with the milk mixture.
- Transfer into the freezer until cold, about 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and more strawberries if desired.
Recipe adapted from Comedera