Saturday, August 14, 2010

almond strawberry swiss roll

Whether you call it a swiss roll or a jelly roll, they are formed from a sponge cake base or as the French call it, a gĂ©noise (zhehn-WAHZ).  When flat, a filling is added (cream or jelly jam) and then it is rolled into a cylindrical form.  The outside may be kept au naturel, dusted with powdered sugar, cocoa, or frosted with ganache or whipped cream.

I've decided to go outside of my baking comfort zone and tackle the unknown.  That was when the swiss roll came to my attention.  Many people (online bloggers) have written/said they were intimidated by this dessert (including myself) because it appears complex, but as those who ventured to bake it have realized that it is rather simple to make with the aid of some techniques.  I'll share what I've researched and learned from trial and error, all of which is incorporated into the recipe directions.  So let's talk rolls!

Recipe adapted from JoyofBaking

Sponge Cake
3 tbsp cake flour
1/3 cup sliced almonds
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Strawberry Cream Filling
2 tbsp water
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 pint (8 oz) strawberries, chopped to bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

1) To prepare the cream filling, start off by putting the bowl and whisk into the refrigerator to chill.  In the meantime, combine the gelatin and water into a small bowl.  Place it in the microwave for 10 seconds to dissolve the solution.  Set aside.  Next, pour the whipping cream into the bowl and attach the whisk.  As soft peaks are forming, slowly add the sugar.  After stiff peaks have been achieved, fold in the strawberries.  Cover and place into the fridge.
2) Separate the eggs into two bowls.  In bowl 1, place 2 egg whites and into bowl 2, place 5 egg yolks and 2 egg whites.  Allow it to reach room temperature.

3) Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place the sliced almonds on baking sheet and toast for 4 mins or until lightly brown.  Remove from oven and transfer to another surface to cool.

4) After it has cooled, place almonds in a food processor
with one tablespoon of flour and process until finely ground.  Mix in remaining flour and set aside.

5) Increase the oven temperature to 450F.  Grease the jelly roll pan.  Line it with parchment paper.

6) In a mixer, beat the contents of bowl 1 until foamy and it becomes opaque.  Add tartar and one tablespoon of the sugar during the soft peak phase.  Whisk until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

7) Using the same mixing bowl, add the contents of bowl 2 and mix with remaining sugar.  Beat on high for approx. 5 mins until mixture nearly doubles, and becomes pale, thick and fluffy.  Then add in vanilla extract.

8) Fold in the flour, half at a time.  Now fold in the egg whites - not all at once.  Pour batter in the jelly roll pan and make sure the mixture is spread evenly.  Bake for 6-7 minutes until golden brown.  Cake should spring back when touched.

9) Allow it to cool for 2 mins before you flip the pan and remove the parchment paper.  Here you can roll up the cake with a powdered sugar dusted kitchen towel, or do what I did and roll in a new sheet of parchment paper.  Allow this to cool completely.

10) After it has cooled, unroll the cake.  Spread on the chilled berry cream filling, but only covering approximately 3/4 of the cake.  Make sure to leave the outside edges bare (approximately 1/2 inch).  The filling will naturally
spread out of the sides as it is rolled up again.

11) Roll up the cake in the same manner in which it was rolled earlier. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving dish and cover it with plastic wrap.  Allow it to set in the fridge for at least one hour before slicing.

12) Slice and eat.  Top it with additional strawberry cream filling (there will be extra) and with any remaining toasted sliced almonds (assuming you toasted more than 1/3 cup).

The number of steps can be daunting.  I'll admit that I got frustrated at times because not everything went as planned.  But I modified the techniques I used and made the corrections above, so hopefully if and when you try to make your own swiss roll, you can avoid any errors I made.