Saturday, January 22, 2011

Swiss Roll

Having reasonably recently become more enthusiastic about baking and cooking in general, one of my favourite 'reality' programmes last year was The Great British Bake-Off. And for Christmas, I very kindly received the Great British Book of Baking which compiles lots of traditional British recipes with some of the more special bakes made by the contestants. The book covers biscuits and tea time treats, bread, tarts and flans, pies, cakes, puddings and fancy pastries. It is glorious! I have yet to read all the loveliness inside, but made a start last week by making Jasminder's chicken pie and promptly forgot to take a photo of it! Especially annoying as I had even gone to some effort with my presentation and cut out some pastry leaves to decorate the top with!

That recipe will hopefully see the light of day again some time - it was delicious.

This week I plan to have a go at making some parkin and today I tried my hand at a Swiss roll. I was a bit apprehensive about this - something about rolling up the sponge seemed very delicate and I think we all know that I am not!

But the recipe seems fairly straight forward (rolling aside) and it was. The rolling went okay and has given me the confidence that I should be able to make a better job of it next time. It wasn't awful, just a bit big and untidy. Far from the very neat Swiss roll pictured in the recipe book! Also I didn't have any raspberry or strawberry jam to hand and used some homemade damson instead. This worked okay, but was a bit too tart really so I'll try a sweeter jam next time. And I had forgotten how easily and quickly whipping cream whips - even by hand. The last cream I tried to whip was double cream and by comparison you really only have to show whipping cream the whisk and it's done!

3 medium eggs, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
75g plain flour
pinch of salt
6 tbspns raspberry or strawberry jam
200ml whipping cream
extra sugar for sprinkling

a 20cm x 30cm Swiss roll tin, greased with butter and lined with greaseproof paper

1. Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425F/gas 7. Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl or the bowl of a food mixer and whisk on high speed until the mixture is very thick, pale and mousse-like. This will take at least 5 minutes. To test whether the mixture is ready, lift out the whisk; if a very distinct ribbon-like trail of mixture falls back into the bowl, you can stop whisking.

2. Sift the flour and salt on to a sheet of greaseproof paper, then sift half of it a second time straight into the bowl. Use a large metal spoon and very gently fold in until you can no longer see any specks or streaks of flour, particularly checking the bottom of the bowl.

3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly (ha, ha! Mine wasn't!). Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and springy to touch - about 9-10 minutes. While the sponge is cooking, dust a sheet of greaseproof paper with caster sugar. As soon as the sponge is cooked, flip it out on to the paper and lift off the tin. Carefully peel off the lining paper. With a large sharp knife, make a shallow cut about 2cm in from one of the short sides, then gently roll up the sponge from the end with the cut, using the greaseproof paper to help you. The cut will make rolling easier. Set the rolled-up sponge on a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

4. When ready to fill, whip the cream. Unroll the sponge, trim off the edges, then spread with the jam. Top with the cream, spreading to within 3cm of the edges. Gently re-roll. Sprinkle with sugar to finish and eat immediately.

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