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!

Stand up meringue snowmen


My piping disaster (keep on reading to see more!)

When I read Rising to the Berry’s post about making chocolate éclairs (recipe 123 as she bakes her way through the Mary Berry Bible – what a star!).  It made me smile when she spoke about piping of them. 

“I piped the rather runny mixture onto several baking trays. The éclair shapes were so thin, they reminded me of pencils! I was concerned about the size but hoped they would spread when cooking. I put them into the oven and willed them to grow. They did indeed grow but not very much!”

Please Shrink!
I could identify with Annalise’s post after this weekend I tried to get rid of some left over meringue mixture by piping festive snowmen  My snowmen had ended up with little tails from my rubbish piping skills in rather unusual places despite my pathetic attempts to flatten them.  So instead of willing my baking to grow in the oven like Annalise I was willing mine to shrink. I prayed for about 30 mins or so loitering with intent around the oven hoping the snowmens tails would deflate. Of course the tails did not shrink at all in fact if anything I am sure they grew (must have been the heat!).

Introducing Stand up Snowmen
When my son came in he asked excitedly if he could use the snowmen on his gingerbread house for a baking competition.  Normally I would be delighted but this time it was a little embarrassing to explain why this was not such a good idea!  I guess I could cut their tails off if needed (ouch!). For your eyes and amusement here is my sad piping disaster that created stand up snowmen.  I’ll leave you all to draw your own conclusions as to why they might be happy as my mind is as pure as white icing sugar…but I can see these appearing on dodgy Christmas cards next year!

Snow awful! Comedy stand up snowmen…

Which bit would you bite first?
I guess the thing that tickled me the most was placing one of these on my friends keyboard in the morning as I knew it would amuse her.  We drew sweepstakes in the office to see which bit she would bite off first.  As she left the office at break time when she thought nobody was looking she rather discretly gave the tail a little nip and the poor stand up snowmen was no more.  I won that bet!  Which bit would you bite first?

Snowmen showing offf (no business like snow business)

 
Sadly this clearly tells me I am not ready to enter the Great British Bake off.  Can you imagine Mary Berry’s face if I presented her with these! Allthough the lovely man at Love Productions thought it was the funniest disaster he had seen.  Ta ta for now x

How to deal with snowmen tails

Make Vanilla Sugar not Trash


Image of vanilla sugar

Don

The humble vanilla bean / pod

The vanilla bean in magnificent it its dark dreary half shrivelled disguise of a pod nestling its tiny seeds away from prying eyes. The pod looks like something you would throw out in disgust after finding it hidden beneath your fridge not an aromatic flavouring to add depth and flavour to your golden cakes. When the vanilla bean has served it’s purpose it can live on and make a delicious vanilla sugar that you normally find in quality baking shops or gourmet restaurants. Of course they charge a fortune for it in the shops and yet you can make this in a blink of any eye. It also gives you advantage when people ask you how you make your cakes so tasty you can say

“I always use a gourmet vanilla sugar”

This will produce a look of awe from your friends and perhaps a scattering of understanding nodding even though they may not know what it is; it sounds impressive. If you are lucky most will not dare to ask what vanilla sugar is for not wanting to look dumb. For those that do – there is no harm in sharing your secret if you wish.

Homemade Vanilla Sugar = You are a Baking Queen :)

All you need to do is:

1 x air tight storage jar (Kilner are good)

1 x vanilla pod / bean emptied of seeds (after being added to your cakes)

Cut the vanilla bean / pod into several pieces – not too small that you forget to fish them out when you bake with the sugar – it’s not good to chomp on one of these pods as they do not taste nice raw. Add your used pods to a storage jar / airtight container. Pour caster sugar over the top – I use golden caster sugar for my vanilla cakes as it make them taste smoother and more like a vanilla ice cream and gives your cake the slight twist in flavour to a normal victoria sponge for example. Place the vanilla sugar wannabee mixture in a dark cupboard ( the baking one is a good idea so you don’t forget where you put it!)

After a few days or as long as you want, the flavour will intensify the longer you leave it. Use it in reciepes that call for vanilla extract and sugar such as cakes, creme brulee etc. Why not have a teaspoon in your coffee – because your worth it and you can!

Enjoy x
Look at the choc & toffee cookie  recipe or toffee fudge meringue to see where I have used this wonderful sugar.
Next on my list will be making some vanilla extract as I want high quality and low price = win win!

Toffee fudge meringue

Image


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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.