Lemon Meringue Roulade


This dessert is not a smack it in your face and make it screw up with the power of unadulterated lemon zest like you get sometimes with a tart au citron or Lemon meringue pie. This dessert is lemon meringue with finesse as it draws you in with clouds of soft sweet meringue, caresses you with the taste of italian sunshine and finishes with tangy limoncello soaked berries. If you use half fat cream it is also good for fitting in those summer short you were avoiding putting on this week.

As Marks and Spencer’s would say this is not just any old meringue this is lemon meringue roulade and quite simply you do not want your portion to end. Don’t be fooled by its cracked exterior and dodgy rolling as you should never judge a dessert purely by its looks or you will miss out.

Avoidance Tactics
Some people go to extraordinary lengths to avoid things, people or events.  Those moments in life where if given the opportunity to cross over to the other side of the street or just ignore it, you grasp the opportunity and break into a sprint even in stiletto heels as long as it is far in the opposite direction.   My Mum’s favourite pudding is Lemon Meringue Pie but the thought of making a pastry tart filled with me with anxiety, gave me pastry related nightmares even though my berry palmiers with macron icecream turned out with gentle puffed layers of butter I still fear it.  As a result out tumbled the A team (A for avoidance) to my rescue.  For once I am proud of my dithering tactics as this turned out better than I hoped, no guilt was felt afterwards and my feet do not have blisters on them.  However this dessert probably took longer in internet searching and planning than if I had just got on with the pie in the first place but that is the downside of avoidance.

Meringue Roulade
Make the lemon mousse and soak the berries in Limoncello (optional) the night before to give them time to chill fully

Lemon Mousse Ingredients (adapted from BBC good food online)
284ml Elmlea double cream (half fat alternative but you can use full fat double cream)
Zest of 1 lemon and juice
60g caster sugar
2 egg whites (room temperature)

Mousse Instructions
1. Add cream, zest, and sugar to a bowl and whisk until it starts to thicken
2. Add lemon juice and whisk again – whisk until thick but not too stiff that you can not add whisked egg whites to the mixture
3. Clean the bowl you wish to whisk the egg whites in with the rind of the lemon (left over from juicing) to ensure it has no grease
4. Whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage (if you go to tip the bowl the mixture will slide around – so don’t put it over your head this time)
5. Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture until it is combined
6. Pour mousse into a container and chill until ready to use.

Limoncello soaked berries
200g fresh or frozen berries of your choice ( I used Sainsbury’s frozen blueberries and strawberries)
50ml of limoncello (I must post the recipe as I make my own and it is as simple as making vanilla essence and a delight after dessert to cleanse the palette)

1. Add the limoncello to your chosen fruits and leave to soak covered in the fridge overnight whilst your mousse is chilling.
2. When you are ready to make the roulade – strain off the juice into shot glasses and enjoy later – it is so good and a reward for your baking efforts.

Meringue Roulade (taken from Mary Berry Recipe for Raspberry Meringue Roulade – The Ultimate Cake Book)

Roulade Ingredients
5 egg whites (room temperature)
275g caster sugar
1/2 jar of lemon curd for the filling ( I used Sainsburys taste the difference)

Roulade Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6 / 180 Fan.
2. Line a 13×9 inch tin (33×23 cm) which is a swiss roll tin with baking parchment (including up the sides for easy removal).
3. Wipe the bowl you will use to whisk the eggs whites in with a slice of lemon to degrease it and ensure perfect peaks.
4. Pour the eggs whites into the clean bowl and whisk on high speed until the egg whites form very stiff peaks (you can turn the bowl upside down and the eggs will not move an inch).
5. Add caster sugar one teaspoon at a time to the egg mixture whilst still beating and ensure all sugar is combined before adding the next (I count to 5 between spoonfuls).
6. The mixture will be very stiff once all the sugar has been included (so much so the blades of my mixer started to struggle but it is a 1950′s Kenwood Chef).
7. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and use a pallet knife to spread the meringue
8. Put the tin near the top of the oven and bake for 8 mins.
8. Turn down the temperature to 160C/ 325F/ Gas 3/ 140 Fan and bake for a further 15 mins until it lightly golden and the meringue is firm to the touch.
9. Cut a further piece of baking parchment the same size as the tin.
10. Turn out the meringue onto the baking parchment so that it is upside down and then remove the baking parchment. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Assembly

1. Smooth the lemon curd onto the roulade.
2. Smooth the mousse over the top and scatter with the berries.
3. Keep the meringue on the baking parchment to make rolling it easier.
4. Start at one of the longest edges of the meringue. Fold the edge of the meringue inwards and begin to roll it up like a swiss roll.
5. It will crack and feel like it will never work but use the baking parchment to help you roll it and be gentle (ish) with your touch get the parchment to do the work.
6. It may not look brilliant at this point and the filling is likely to squirt out but you can lick the work surface later.
7. Once rolled use the baking parchment to transfer it to a plate (it is quite long so you may wish to cut into two depending on your serving plate size). If you wish you can have the joy of removing the baking parchment which is a little like trying to pull out a tablecloth whilst plates are still on it but if it is for family tea – just cut it on the paper and get over the need to be perfect (says the one who did the pulling off of the paper).

Enjoy- love you Mum!

Cake disasters


This post was inspired by ermilia blog  and abakinglife after they posted their rather disastrous attempts at cakes and pies which made me chuckle and not feel so alone because all of us that bake will have disasters along the way.

After watching the Great British Bake Off masterclass episode 9 I felt inspired, invincible and filled with confidence that I could follow the instructions that the Queen of Baking (aka Mary Berry) had generously shared with us mere baking mortals. She promised that any baker could try her coffee and walnut battenberg cake recipe and would be rewarded with a professional looking cake. Mary sadly has never met me then!

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 I read through the recipe countless times and even did some artistic origami to divide my tin into 2 halves and reduce the size as I did not have the right size tin.  I struggled to make the mixture cover the base of the tin but the words Mary Berry uttered echoed in my head ‘always trust my recipes they are never wrong’. After placing it carefully in the oven and muttering words of prayer I then endured a nerve-wracking 25 minute wait all the time resisting temptation to open the oven and take a sneaky peak.

The moment of truth had arrived the smell filled the kitchen so I was hopeful.  As I pulled the cake out of the oven Mary Berry fell off her baking throne. I have never ever seen such a flat cake in my life!  If you look carefully you can still see my attempts at oragami style baking paper stuck at the ends.

This was my Facebook  status:

Dear Mary Berry, I am very disappointed that after watching you tell amateur bakers to trust your recipes as they are never wrong I would like to disagree. I don’t think you cake was supposed to end as a biscuit nor did I expect to be able to hold it in the air at any angle and it not fall off the baking paper.  My next door neighbour was very amused when I held it over my head and it still did not fall off.  I would however recommend my cake as a self-defence weapon, door stop or even an emergency tena lady. Regards J

 I was rather surprised when I discussed the cake disaster with my Husband and he replied rather matter of factly  ‘I hope you did not use old eggs as Mary says only to use fresh eggs as they give much better volume’ this from the man who would struggle to boil an egg!  I took this as a sign I had been subjecting him to watch these programmes too much as he even if he could quote from it.

 We all have cake disasters and usually it is when we so desperately need the cake to go right at least mine was at home and not in front of millions of viewers so my heart does go out to the contestants of the Great British Bake Off they must have nerves of steel.  I guess it was not Marys fault but mine somewhere along the line and will I ever find out what went wrong - probably not.  A baking disaster can make us more determined to carry on, keep calm and bake and if nothing else it makes you laugh.

Just think of all the other uses for this cake - flat pack for posting , paperweight, bookmark, mini tray, the possibilites are endless and how many pro bakers like Mary Berry can say that.

For some ideas on other things you can make and hold over your head see here for toffee meringues (yummy).

Luckily for me attempt 2 was much better and I had a very happy friend who told me she hid her birthday cake so her husband and children in the house could not find it and eat it – she said that when someone makes her cake like that she is NOT sharing – got to love her!

Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Battenberg

Mary Berry Coffee and Walnut Battenberg

Chocolate and toffee cookies

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Cookies are on the agenda today as they will always make you feel better when it is your first week back at work after a break.  I like cookies as they will go great with my morning cup of coffee as I desperately try to wake myself up.  This recipe is adapted from the God of baking Mary Berry Mega choc chip cookie from the book  which you can buy here.  Chocolate is the best invention ever – read why on my post here.

6oz (175g) soft margarine
8oz (225g) natural caster sugar (I store mine in a Kilner storage jar (see here for example) with used vanilla pods to make vanilla sugar)
2 eggs room temp
12oz (350g) self raising flour
4oz (100g) chocolate covered toffee pieces ( thorntons) chopped up

Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4 / 150c fan oven

Measure all ingredients and place in mixer.
Mix until a smooth dough.
Use 1 tbsp or 1 cookie scoop and set cookies well apart on lined baking trays.
Place in oven for 15 mins until lightly golden.
Place on wire rack to cool.
Store in airtight container.

Put kettle on and enjoy a warm cookie!

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Toffee fudge meringue

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Meringue always reminds me of what we would have for my dads birthday each year as he does not really like cake (I know the horror of it!) and his birthday is on Christmas Eve and you know all you are going to get over the next 3 weeks is Christmas cake, Stollen and mince pies so he prefers to have something different.   Meringues are like little pillowy, chewy clouds of air and sugar that melt in your mouth.  This is my first attempt at meringue and I can say I was very pleased with the results. 

They do not take long to make at all if you use a mixer (I  dread to think how long they would take to beat by hand).   I even did the bowl over my head test and the meringue mixture stayed in – thankfully!

 

 

 

Ingredients

4 egg whites
4oz caster sugar
4oz vanilla natural caster sugar ( I use vanilla sugar see my post for more information)
100ml double cream
Toffee Fudge sauce (I used Sainsbury’s)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 130c / gas ½  / 250f or 100c fan oven.
  2. Line 3 baking trays
  3. Place egg whites in a stand mixer or non metallic bowl
  4. Whisk on high speed until the mixture is forming peaks (but not really stiff that they do not move – there will still be some movement in your bowl.  Now would not be a good time to hold it over your head!)
  5. Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time to the egg mixture whilst still mixing on high speed.
  6. Once all the sugar has been added to your mixture it should be forming stiff peaks and is glossy. Now you should be able to turn your bowl upside down and no mixture should come out – put it over your head if you are brave enough!)
  7. Put the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a round 1cm nozzle
  8. Pipe blobs onto lined baking trays to the size you need . I used approx 5cm round.
  9. If you really want perfectly sized ones draw circles on the underside of your greaseproof paper using a plastic milk top or other round object to the size  you want them (no you can’t use dinner plates).
  10. Place in the middle of the oven for 40 mins until they can be lifted off the baking paper easily.
  11. Leave the meringues in the oven to cool if you like mallowy and chewy.  If you don’t like chewy take them out of the oven and leave to cool on the side.

 To serve

  1. Pair up similar sized meringues
  2. Whip 100ml double cream until thick.
    Pipe  cream onto the side of one meringue using a star nozzle
  3. Drizzle toffee fudge sauce over the top (Sainsburys – I take no credit) 
  4. Sandwich a similar sized meringue on the top. Serve and enjoy! 

 Tip: They will start to absorb the moisture from the cream after a few hours so make, serve and eat for best results.