Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Welcome Joanna Campbell Slan

Joanna's mysteries make me want to run out and scrapbook, as soon as I finish those page turners! I was so excited she agreed to guest blog. -Amy

Charlotte, My Mom, and the Big Russe

By Joanna Campbell Slan

Most recipes bring back memories because we recall their tastes. But I’ve never tried this recipe, even though it’s been in our family for a hundred years or more.
See, there are things your mother makes that you, as a self-respecting child, will NOT eat. No way. Under. Any. Circumstances. (Gag!)

And this was one of them. My mother would make this every year at Christmas time, usually to share at church or a family meal, and my sisters and I would run for the covers. It just seemed…alien. Bizarre.

Okay….adult. Too adult for me.

So I always thought of it as Mom’s weird recipe. Then Amy invited me to be a guest on her blog in honor of my new book Cut, Crop & Die, the second book in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series. I started scrounging around for a recipe. I thought about this, Mom’s Charlotte Russe. The name seemed pretty cool—so neat, in fact, that a clothing store hijacked it. I looked up the recipe online, and, gosh…people besides my mother made this! In fact, it looked pretty yummy. I also discovered all sorts of variations, which I admit, also looked delicious.

Groan. What is the world coming to? My mother was right, again! I can tell you that I’m planning to make some Charlotte Russe, and you know, I think you can just about count on a mention of this showing up in Book #4 of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries. (I’ve written #3 already.) At the very least, I’ll add the recipe to my website with all the others I’ve collected. Check them out at

Charlotte Russe

1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
5 egg whites
1 C. sugar
1 T. gelatin
Lady fingers, split
Dissolve gelatin in warm milk. Set aside to cool. Whip cream until stiff. Add vanilla and sugar. Add sherry to taste. (Paula Dean uses 2 T. of sweet sherry, not cooking sherry.) Whip egg whites and fold together with cooled milk. Pour over lady fingers. You can also stand the lady fingers around the edge of a deep bowl and pour the mixture into the center, or put lady fingers in small glasses (like brandy snifters) and make individual desserts.

Joanna Campbell Slan is suitably feeling bad for ignoring her mother’s urges to “try some!” Cut, Crop & Die, the second book in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series is now available through your local independent bookseller or at Go to The first book in the series—Paper, Scissors, Death—was an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. Visit Joanna at or follow her at


Anonymous said...


I know it is way late to comment, but I just read your message and can;t believe that the EXACT same thing happened to me! My Mom made Charlotte Russe, too. I have the recipe in her handwriting but have never made it. I plan to make a mini album of recipes in her handwriting and give copies to the grandkids.
My daughter and I LOVE your books.

Happy scrapping!!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Dear Anonymous, how sweet of you to tell me you love my books. The next one will be out in May--Photo, Snap, Shot.

I'm glad I'm not the only person who didn't want to try the Charlotte Russe.

That mini-album sounds like a wonderful gift.