Orange cranberry Charlotte Russe is a pretty dessert that is actually pretty simple to make. The lady finger crust holds a mousse like filling with orange zest and bananas. The orange cranberry topping adds striking color and another layer of flavor. Together it makes a stunning dessert that is perfect for the holidays or a dinner party.
If you are looking for a no bake fruity dessert that looks amazing but is easy to make, you are in the right place. This Charlotte Russe is a showstopper befitting of guests and is able to be made in advance, making it perfect!
I think it is the perfect new treat for your holiday dessert table. It looks elegant with is pretty crown and vibrant red topping.
The cranberry sauce on top makes me think Thanksgiving, but isn’t the color perfect for Christmas? You should definitely plan to make it for both!
Want to know the best part(s)? Don’t worry I’ll tell you! Here are a few:
- It is no bake, so you don’t need to jockey for oven space!
- It is sweet enough to be dessert, but it isn’t sickeningly sweet.
- You can make it a day or two in advance.
- It has three kinds of fruit in it, and wholesome dairy. So, it is practically a health food!
Are you convinced you should make it yet? You definitely should be!
I mean really, doesn’t it look pretty? The filling is so light and fluffy.
The cranberry sauce adds so much flavor. The lady fingers make it look so pretty and elegant.
I have been wanting to make something like this for quite some time and finally had a perfect excuse. We were invited to dinner at some friends’ house and I was on the dessert committee.
Score! Time to pull out all of the stops!
The Lady Finger Crust
All you have to do is make a “crust” out of lady fingers. Dip them in a little orange juice to add that extra punch of orange flavor.
Just cut the lady fingers to size and quickly dunk them in orange juice. You want to put them in and quickly take them out, don’t let them soak.
This little dunk in juice softens them up a bit and gives them a cakelike texture. If you let them absorb too much liquid, they will be too soft to work with and the extra juice may leak out of the springform pan.
Use the little bits you cut off the lady fingers to form the bottom crust. It’s okay if it isn’t perfectly filled in, but you want as much of the bottom covered as possible.
Using those little bits to form a ring around the side of the pan will also help to hold up the outer circle of cookies. It really is quite a simple process and it goes pretty quickly once you get moving.
The Creamy Banana Orange Filling
The filling is super easy to make as well. Start by whipping a softened brick of cream cheese until it is lump free and creamy.
Add a couple of bananas and mix them in until they are also smooth. The bananas are what adds the natural sweetness to this filling.
A little orange zest and heavy whipping cream round out the filling ingredients. Slowly add the cream at first allowing it to fully incorporate before adding more.
Be sure to stop and scrape the sides a few times to make sure there aren’t any lumps of cream cheese hiding anywhere. Once all of the cream is incorporated, beat the mixture until it forms medium to stiff peaks.
The filling almost gets a mousse like texture and is super creamy. If you want to add a splash of vanilla to the mix, that would be good too.
Carefully spoon the mixture into the center of your pan and gently spread it towards the edges. You don’t want to mess up your beautiful crust.
The Cranberry Sauce
The cranberry sauce is super simple to make as well. Just bring some orange juice, cranberries and sugar to a boil and then simmer until the mixture is thick and delicious.
You can use the sauce chunk if you want, but I prefer the look of a smooth sauce. You can mash the berries and put them through a strainer to get out the solids which is what I did the first time I made it.
This time however, I opted to use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. You could also use a food processor or traditional blender, just be careful so the steam doesn’t build up if you are doing it while it’s hot.
Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before smoothing it over the chilled filling. I usually use about half of the sauce to top the Charlotte Russe.
The remaining sauce can be used as a garnish when you are plating the dessert. Or you can swirl it into your oatmeal, yogurt or a variety of other things instead.
The color is amazing and the flavor is perfect for the holidays. This dessert feels so indulgent and elegant. Nobody will ever guess how easy it was!
Orange Cranberry Charlotte Russe
- 7 oz lady fingers
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 small bananas ripe but not overripe
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- zest of one orange
- 1¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup orange juice
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Cut the lady fingers to the height of your 9" springform pan. Dip each lady finger quickly into the orange juice. Just pass it through the orange juice, you don’t want them to get soggy. Place around the edge of the pan, using the cut ends to make the bottom crust. Don’t worry if the bottom isn’t completely filled in, but you do want the outer rim to be complete.
- In your mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the bananas and beat until smooth.
- Add the zest, mixing to combine. Add a little bit of the cream and incorporate it fully to lighten the cream cheese mixture. Continue to add cream, mixing until combined.
- Beat on medium-high until the mixture holds medium peaks. Carefully spoon into prepared lady finger crust and spread until smooth. Refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, make the cranberry topping by bringing orange juice, cranberries, and sugar to a boil over medium-low heat. Drop heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. If desired, blend the mixture until smooth.
- Allow sauce to cool to room temperature for at least an hour while the filling is chilling.
- Spread about half of the cooled cranberry sauce over the chilled filling and return to refrigerator until ready to serve. Use the rest of the cranberry sauce for serving or save it for other uses.