We can see the finish line for the snow in my neighborhood, and the first fresh hints of green are peeking out on the hillsides. If you’re lucky and from New England, you can travel south to remind yourself that warmer temperatures are not too far away. I was lucky enough to spend 3 days in New Orleans last week, and lo and behold, I seem to have brought the weather back with me. I also do a lot of my traveling to summer climes by researching recipes for the Summer issue of The Baking Sheet.
I’m lucky enough to have a healthy cookbook library at home, and a fiancée with his own railroad book collection that’s continually expanding.
We both use our libraries as a resource for our work, so there’s never any conflict about a new box from Amazon or the Colorado Railroad Museum auction showing up on the doorstep.
On a stroll though a book called The Book of New New England Cookery by two of my favorite food writers, Judith and Evan Jones, I found a recipe that captured my attention. It was one of Judith’s mother’s standby recipes called Phyllis’ Chocolate Roll. She lists only four ingredients: eggs, confectioners’ sugar, unsweetened cocoa and heavy cream. I immediately got a vision of a Vermont dairy farm, where the eggs and cream would be no further away than out the door, and cocoa and confectioners’ sugar would be pantry staples.
The page in question.
Since I was starving for summer, my imagined farmhouse tableau also included ripe raspberries in the dooryard, and I knew they’d be lovely in a food photograph, so in the manner of bakers everywhere a new dessert began to take shape in my mind. My fiancée is particularly fond of the combination of chocolate and raspberries, and I have a fondness for mascarpone.
Here’s the recipe I came up with:
Chocolate Raspberry Roll, with thanks to Phyllis
Yield: 8 servings.
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 1/2ounces) unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt (my addition)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/3 cup (2 ounces) chocolate chips
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
This recipe calls for 5 eggs; I’ve moved them over to one side of the egg carton, so I know that when they’re gone, I’ve got them all in the recipe. I used to count yolks, but that’s not always possible, if they break as you add them to the bowl.
Since this recipe calls for separating the eggs and beating the whites, take my advice. Separate the whites into a small bowl, as you add the yolks to the big mixing bowl. After each egg is separated, move the white into its own mixing bowl and separate the next one into the empty small bowl. You can’t whip egg whites that have bits of yolk (chefs call them goldfish) in them, and if you have four whites in a bowl and get yourself a big old goldfish, you’ve just wasted a LOT of eggs.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan, line with parchment paper, and butter the top of the paper.
Soft butter and a pastry brush make short work of this task.
Before any mixing action starts, it’s important to have your “landing” area ready. Dust a clean tea towel heavily with sifted confectioners’ sugar.
Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl, and beat until thick and lemon-colored.
Here you can see the yolks are thick, and the whisk is leaving tracks as it moves around in the mixing bowl.
The sugar and cocoa get pushed through a strainer to eliminate lumps.
Now they’re added to the eggs.
Time to whip the whites. Do this in a separate bowl with clean beaters or a whisk.
At first they look foamy as large air bubbles form.
Then they’ll get creamy and opaque, as the action of the whisk creates more and smaller bubbles.
When the whites mound in the bowl and leave tracks, you’re at soft peak.
Add a third of the whites to the chocolate mixture and fold it in to lighten it up. I use the mixer’s whisk to do this; for one thing, it’s one less utensil to wash. For another, the multiple tines of the whisk cut the whites into the heavy batter more efficiently than one flat spatula blade can.
The next third will be much easier to incorporate, and so will the last of the whites.
Pour the batter into the pan, spread it out evenly.
after the cake is baked, it will pull ever so slightly away from the edge of the pan.
This is where your advance preparation pays off.
Peel off the parchment,
spread the filling, and
place the berries. (They don’t need to be this regimented; a little more space between them is actually better).
Roll up the cake, using the towel to help you.
The last roll should be onto the serving plate, with the seam side down.
I’ve tucked some parchment paper around the cake to keep it clean, then I’m dusting the top with confectioners’ sugar.
The glaze ingredients go into the microwave to be melted together.
I’ve stirred everything to make it smooth, now it’s poured over the top.
Add the fresh raspberry garnish.
Gently remove the parchment paper. Now the beauty queen is ready for her closeup!
This recipe will make its print debut in the Summer issue of The Baking Sheet; hope you enjoy the sneak preview!