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Thursday 19 July 2012

Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Roll

This is how I roll.

The question we must ask ourselves today, beloved friends, is 'Does Mr. P have enough time to finish writing this before his scheduled date with a bowl of udon?' As ever, there is only one way to find out.

When I was a child, I used to love chocolate Swiss Roll. The kind that comes in cellophane packets and has marshmallow flavoured fluffy filling. I'm not proud of that. But I can't change myself just to please you, and it is unreasonable of you in the extreme to expect me to do so. Who do you think you are?

Incidentally, just so we're clear, when I say I was a child, I'm talking young child. Let's say age 8. I don't mean early teen years. At that point I was more interested in playing my Garbage and Skunk Anansie CDs (how embarrassing!) and not dancing to them, than I was in Swiss Rolls. Such misplaced priorities. Though, admittedly, you can't really dance to Garbage, can you?

So different from the earlier years, when I had an ABBA cassette tape, waggley fingers and a jumpy little routine. And that aforementioned love of industrially produced cake rolls.

It never occurred to me that you could make a Swiss Roll. Or that I would do so and call it a 'Cream Roll' just to try and get more hits from Google searches. But now that I have, I felt that I should tell you all about it, and the reasons for its creation in my hands.

A year or so ago, I found myself in the throes of a macaron baking obsession. Disappointed and saddened by failed attempts, I was unable to bear the sight of my oven trays any longer. The worn, misshapen and warped metal sheets were fine for heating frozen pizzas, but they made wonky macs and me cry.

Determined to succeed, I bought myself some sexy, heavy duty baking pans. They made some pretty gorgeous macaroon shells, even if I do say so myself. But they haven't seen much action recently. Hence the roll idea. See, my baking sheets have ridges around the edge; I have a feeling that I might now go into larger scale Swiss Roll production, so perfect are they for the task.

Now. Time is weighing heavy on my heart. It is ticking and the udon won't wait. So really you need to know the deal breaker: is it worth making your own Swiss Roll, or will those packet versions do?

I say yes. I rather like the baking without flour (yes, really), and the fact that the strawberry cream filling is blossom pink. It's not marshmallow flavoured, but it's not full of preservatives either. A sacrifice worth making!

Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Roll

You will need:

100g plain chocolate (I used a 65% cocoa bar)
6 eggs
75g sugar
300ml cream
1/3 pot of strawberry jam - I guess that's around 100g

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare your baking sheet; I just lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Separate the eggs. To the yolks, add half of the sugar and whisk (by hand is fine) for about 5 minutes until thick and creamy. Add the cooled chocolate and mix well.
  3. Whisk the whites until soft peaks form; add the remaining sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in four parts. Be gentle, but confident. You want no streaks, but as little deflation as possible.
  5. Spread this mixture out onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover immediately with a damp tea towel. Set aside to cool.
  6. Beat the jam and cream together until moussey and pink; spread this onto the cake. Then roll, starting at a short side, using the paper liner to lift the cake, and peeling it back as necessary. 
  7. Once rolled, transfer the cake to a serving platter, crease side down, and chill until required.Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

Monday 2 July 2012

Lemon Posset

You may think that it's silly for me to start with a picture of a 'finished' lemon posset, but let's be realistic: this is what you'll end up with after all.

So I'm back. Back and ready to start a new chapter in my life: my thirties.

I must admit, I did wake up feeling rather old on my birthday (when I was still in Dubrovnik, btw. My return to Delicious Delicious Delicious was delayed following my arrival home by the rather more pressing need to study for my annual emergency procedures training - I start this new decade with safety in mind!). I never even considered that I would be this old, and yet suddenly, here I am. Maybe it's time to stop buying green bananas.

Still, I stick to my stock response to all who ask how it feels to hit the big 3-0: it's fine. My twenties had become dull and formulaic anyway. Now it's time for me to become, rather late in life, admittedly, a hell raiser. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I could be a hell raiser with a KitchenAid?

I am going to hold off on the Croatia report. I came across something in a bakery there that shocked the bejaysus out of me, but we'll get to that another day. Today, I thought I'd give you what I know you want - a recipe for something sweet. It's been a while since we had one.

I've meant to do a posset before. It's one of the easiest desserts I know, and is all the more brilliant for making it look as though you've made tons of effort when you haven't at all. I always think of it as Winter food, but Mr. Other P asked if we could pretty please have it for dessert when friends came over last week and half way through preparing it I suddenly remembered that I had a blog and posset was most definitely post-worthy.

Lemon Posset always reminds me of when we went for dinner at The River Cottage Canteen, but I'm not supposed to talk about that because we went without our friends (Hi, Lucy and Rish! How was honeymoon?) and then fed them fridge-cold Scotch eggs from the supermarket when they arrived later on. In our defense, they were very late and it was a table for two on the Friday evening or nothing all weekend. We did what any selfish boys would do, which was to have three courses. One of which was satiny smooth, sharply alluring Lemon Posset.

Want to make some? Well here's how.

First, we boil cream with sugar in a large pan. I forgot to photograph this. Or the zesting and juicing of lemons for that matter. But be honest with yourselves: did you really want to see either?

Then we cool the cream, add the zest and juice, and beat the crap out of it with a whisk. You can do this by hand, I just have to start raising hell with my stand mixer, remember?

That's it. Your posset is made. I told you it was easy. You can gussy it up by adding a layer of chopped berries drenched in limoncello if you wish, but be warned that even though you only add 2 tsps of liqueur per person, the berries will release juice and make it seem like more. Then your friends will falsely accuse you of trying to get them drunk. If I were trying to get them drunk, I wouldn't make posset. I'd make Caipirinhas!

For what it's worth, I like to gussy it up.

Then you chill.

I've just shown you the inside of my fridge. What are you going to show me in return?

More formal instructions follow.

I'll be back soon. To my readers who are 30+: the club has a new member. How have you been raising hell since turning?

Lemon Posset

You will need:

3 large lemons, juiced and zested
900ml double cream (yes, really)
210g caster sugar

  1. In a large pan (this is imperitive as the cream will rise as it simmers and you don't want it to boil over, as mine did once), heat the cream and sugar slowly. Once the cream starts bubbling, let it boil (not at top whack, but not gently either. Let's call it a robust simmer.) for 3 minutes exactly. Cool.
  2. Add the juice and zest to the cool cream and whisk until thickened. With this amount, that should take a few minutes only. By hand, maybe four or five.
  3. Pour into glasses or tea cups and chill for several hours before serving. This amount serves 6 with a little left over, but as you can see, the recipe is easily scaled down, so long as you know your 3 times table.
If you want to add berries and limoncello, add a scattering of diced strawberries and blueberries to the bottom of each cup, and top with 2 tsps liqueur before pouring in the posset.
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