Hope you had much fun baking this season, I certainly did! Had all good intentions of posting lots Christmas goodies this month. Meringue Mushrooms and Mince Pies happened alright, a Gingerbread House almost happened too! Not surprisingly, I underestimated the precision needed to glue the pieces together. The decorated Gingerbread Men, The Christmas Trees, the stars and snowflakes stared back at me every time I went up to the kitchen. Disaster struck when one of my wooden boards crashed on one of the decorated 'walls'. Too much work to start all over again and I lost interest. The fruit cake was not quite there and I could have cried!
I almost gave up on the last post of the month, but hubby and the meringue mushrooms I had saved pushed me to try a Bûche de Noël . A previous attempt last year with Rose Levy's recipe was quite good, but the slices ended up ended up looking like slices of boiled egg. Ugh! Yesterday saw me finish my chores early and apprehensively bake a Chocolate Almond Roulade in a real frenzy. Thankfully, it turned out quite well and I finally have something for Christmas! A rich, indulgent and flavorful chocolate-almond roulade filled with vanilla whipped cream.
Chocolate Almond Roulade - Adapted from Alice Medrich's Chocolate Holidays
Ingredients To bake in a 17 x 11 inch jelly roll pan. I have halved the recipe to bake in a 10 x 6 inch pan.
For the cake :
Almonds (or hazelnuts), toasted and coarsely chopped - 1/4 cup / 36 grams approximately
All purpose Flour - 16 grams / 2 tablespoons
Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped - 168 grams / 6 oz
Unsalted butter at room temperature - 1/2 cup / 113 grams / 1 stick
Eggs - 4, separated ( Whites - 120 grams, Yolks - 72 grams)
Sugar - 3/4 cup / 150 grams, divided use
Cream of tartar - 1/8 teaspoon
Instant coffee - 1 teaspoon (optional)
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Cocoa for dusting on top - 2-3 tablespoons, preferably Dutch Process
1 cup heavy cream, cold, whipped with 2 teaspoons instant coffee and vanilla.
Ganache for decoration (optional)
Meringue Mushrooms- For decoration
Do ahead : Whip the cream to soft peaks and refrigerate. Chop up enough chocolate for the roll and for the ganache if you decide to use it. Helps cover an almost broken roll! Have your bowls, beaters, spoons, spatula etc etc washed, free of grease and dried for whipping the egg whites.
Line your jelly roll pan with parchment leaving an overhang.
Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 350 F. Mise en place.
Process the nuts with the flour carefully until finely ground, but not oily. Set aside
Reserve 1/4 cup of sugar to add to egg whites.
Unless you have two sets of beaters, whip the egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in 1/4 cup sugar, beating till stiff (but not dry). Set aside.
Using a microwave (50% power) or in a heatproof bowl set in simmering water, melt the chocolate, coffee and butter stirring till smooth . Set aside.
Beat the yolks and remaining sugar till pale and thick, I did this for about 5 minutes on the highest speed of my hand mixer.
Stir in the melted chocolate into the beaten yolks.
Using a spatula, fold in a quarter of the whites and then all of the flour-nut mixture into this.
Finally, fold in the remaining whites.
Spread the batter evenly in the lined pan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean with moist crumbs. Do not over bake.
Cover the pan (with the cake still in) with a clean damp towel Let cool completely. Lift it out using the overhang.
You need to invert the cake and then roll it up, but mine was very fragile, so I filled the cream right on the parchment, rolled it up and transferred to the platter. It not just cracked, but almost broke!
Simply dust cocoa on top or frost with ganache, let set for a while, then decorate with a fork or an off set spatula.
Serve thin slices at room temperature.
I am having trouble with my Morphy Richards 40 L oven, so had to bake in a small pan in my microwave. This doesn't look as bad as I had feared it would, though I wish it looked gorgeous like the roulades I have been dreaming about. Clumsy like mine or not, you will surely enjoy this roll!
Merry Christmas again!
Merry Christmas again!