Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pavlova Roulade

I got the idea for this from some cooking show that we were watching and realized it could be a bit of a challenge. After all how often do you get to try to roll something like meringue up?
We needed a quick dessert to take to what was going to be a fun party, so what better than to try it? It's the kind of dessert that can be repaired with powdered sugar if necessary. It wasn't even necessary.
The basic idea is, make a meringue base (a flexible meringue not a fully dried meringue), place it in a sheet pan, bake it, turn it out, slather on whipped cream and berries, then roll it up, dust with powdered sugar and it's ready to go.

Ingredients (Meringue)
5 large egg whites at room temperature
8 oz Superfine (caster) sugar
1 tsp vinegar (light coloured)
1 tsp corn starch (cornflour)
pinch salt (not kosher salt), use a fine regular salt

If the eggs are refrigerated, remove from the refrigerator and allow to warm slightly (to a cool room temperature).
Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with foil, leaving about a 2 inch "collar". Grease the foil with cooking spray - or brush on a flavourless oil. Do not use butter here as it has a high moisture count and we don't need more mositure. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Place the egg whiles in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until the whites are broken apart and foamy. Now increase to full speed and whisk to the soft peak stage.
Stir in the salt, corn starch and light coloured vinegar - carefully so as not to deflate the foam.
Whisk on high while adding the sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy. About 3-4 minutes. It should now be at the stiff peaks stage.
Spread the meringue misture into the prepared foil lined pan.

Bake the meringue in the 350 oven on the lower rack (with no oven stone or pizza stone) for 20-25 minutes - until the exterior is brown and firm, but not hard. make sure you keep an eye on it and don't allow it to get dark. Your oven may read hotter or cooler than mine. If you have a fan-assisted oven then I suspect you will need to drop the temperature by 25 degrees, but I suggest that you experiment for yourselves.
When the meringue is "done", remove the pan from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and then turn out of the pan onto a sheet of parchment paper. Carefully peel the foil and allow the meringue base to cool.
Once the base has cooled, whip 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream + 1/4 t of vanilla and a pinch of sugar up to soft peaks. Take care not to over whip, you want it a bit floppy. Spread the cream on the meringue base, taking care to leave the long edge nearest you with a rim of about 1.5 inches with no cream. That's where the rolling will start.
Prepare some berries by hulling and halving them (strawberries) and washing them (any others). Sprinkle a few drops of creme de cassis or rose water over the berries. Spread the berries over the whipped cream.
Roll the meringue away from you, starting with the plain edge. The outside will crack a bit, but that is OK.
Once it is rolled, place on a serving platter, seam side down. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Scatter a few berries on the plate and serve.

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