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Catherine Hicks' Orange Charlotte

About the Recipe

In the 50’s, desserts fell into the category of once-a-year stuff: turkey, stuffing, egg dying, pumpkin carving…and special desserts, mostly when the citrus became ripe in our Scottsdale, Arizona yard. Oranges were like…well…cocaine to the Chicago snowbirds who escaped there. I remember the vivid color of the orange and the white whipped cream while it was folded. Whenever anything had to chill in the fridge, it was exciting to see how far it had gelled, with the constant assumption that my mom’s mother did it better. The taste was like imagining a cloud dessert.


  • 3 (3oz) envelopes unflavored gelatin

  • ¾ C cold water

  • ¾ C boiling water

  • 1 ½ C (fresh if possible) orange juice

  • 2 t lemon juice

  • 1 ½ t grated orange peel

  • 1 ½ C sugar, divided

  • 2 ½ C heavy whipping cream

  • ½ C mandarin orange

  • 3 maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)


1.  In a large bowl, combine gelatin and cold water; let stand for 10 min.

2.  Add boiling water; stir until gelatin dissolves

3.  Add juices, orange peel and ¾ C sugar

4.  Set bowl in ice water until mixture is syrupy, stirring occasionally

5.  Meanwhile, whip cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form

6.  When gelatin mixture begins to thicken, fold in whipped cream

7.  Lightly coat a 9” springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture into pan; chill overnight

8.  Just before serving, run a knife around edge of the pan to loosen. Serve!

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