Tuesday, 17 June 2014

lemon meringue birthday roulade - kind of

Rather than make traditional birthday cakes, for the last couple of years we've been branching out a bit.  We've had birthday brownies, strawberry and chocolate meringue cake, and for Petal's birthday I decided I'd do a lemon and white chocolate roulade - sounds tempting, right?

Mr Manley emailed me a link to a lemon meringue roulade which looked very tempting, and it was only when I actually read the list of ingredients that I realised there was no light sponge in it at all, but a meringue layer instead.  In retrospect I should probably have stuck with my original idea, but ... well, twenty twenty hindsight, you know?

Anyway, even though it didn't turn out the way I might have hoped, I wanted to share with you - I'll explain the rationale at the end!

The recipe Mr Manley found was this one, on the Nigella Lawson website, so while I'm repeating the ingredients and method from there, it is not my creation - I'm just trying to make it a little easier for you to follow in case you want to have a go.

There are a couple of adjustments that I made however, which (even bearing in mind the end result!), I do think make sense.

Ingredients ::

One batch of Lemon curd

Four egg whites
225g sugar

250g mascapone
300ml creme fraiche
1½ tbsp sugar

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I messed the order around a little at the beginning - the recipe instructed you to make the lemon curd first, bearing in mind it needs to have cooled by the time you're putting everything together at the end.

I made my lemon curd the day before, but began by separating the egg whites and yolks, technically the first step of making the meringue layer, and adding the yolks to my lemon curd, making it even more velvety (using 2 eggs plus these four egg yolks)

Lemon curd into the fridge, and egg whites covered and into the fridge too.  Remember to get the egg whites out in plenty of time the next day - they're best at room temp when you use them.

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Oven on to 180°c (170°c fan)
Line a swissroll tin with greaseproof paper.

And now on with the cooking!

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So, whisk the egg whites until they've fluffed up - they need to go past the frothy stage and started forming soft peaks.

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With the mixer still going, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.

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Gently spoon the thick foam into your swiss roll tray, gently smoothing it out so it's roughly level.  Into the oven, and set your timer for 20 minutes, or a little less if you're using a fan oven.  Your whisk attachment is now covered in sticky middle-of-soft-meringue - I wonder what might be the best way to deal with it ... (technically it's raw egg but hey, I won't tell anyone if you don't!)

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Once your timer has gone off, get the tray out of the oven.  Working quickly, before the meringue cools, take the greaseproof paper liner out of the tray, turn it upside down onto another piece, and gently peel the meringue off, so that it's resting upside down on the fresh piece of greaseproof.

Whisk together the mascapone, creme fraiche and sugar til its thick and smooth, and oh bugger, that attachment is covered in sweet creamy-ness again - whatever will you do?

Spread the mascapone mixture on top of the meringue, and level gently.

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Grab your lemon curd out of the fridge, spoon it on top of the cream, spread it across to make the final layer (and don't forget to lick the spoon).

Now it's time to roll.
Think sleeping bag.

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In case you're wondering, it tasted absolutely amazing!

I have a theory on why mine looked the way it did - the meringue was soft, which tastes fab but doesn't provide much in the way of structural integrity once you've spooned lemon curd and creamy mc-creamy-ness on the top, so as I rolled it all just kind of squished.  It didn't help that it was longer than the chopping board so I had to cut it into two either!

The point, however, was for Petal to have her birthday candles stuck into something different, and she very sensibly prioritises taste over looks, which is just as well!  I didn't have the chance to take a picture, but trust me, with white and yellow candles in white and yellow teeny candle holders on the top, it looked fab.

I'm planning another (in a couple of weeks) and have some modifications to the original recipe which I'm hoping will help, but if not, I'll just have to keep trying! (Yum)

Have you had kitchen adventures which turned out ... let's say differently than you'd expected?

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