Fruit-filled meringue roulade:

Fruit-filled meringue roulade:

PICTURE 30

Oooh lovely!  One of my all-time favourites!

This Super-Scrummy and totally impressive pud resembles a Pavlova, but it’s all rolled up!  You can use any fruit that you like but it lends itself to soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries (especially the free ones that you can get out of the hedgerow – see Tricks’n’Tips).

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      1 hour.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         4-6  (It’s supposed to be 8, but that would be super-mean!)

Rating:         3:  Moderate – The difficult-ish bit is rolling it up.

Find:

  • 5 large egg whites (to separate eggs, see Tricks’n’Tips)
  • 1 pint pot of double cream
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2tsp cornflour, ready sieved
  • A little white/red wine vinegar
  • Icing sugar, to facilitate rolling and for decoration
  • 250g raspberries and / or other soft-ish fruits

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 160°C, gas mark 3 at least ten minutes before you need to use it, because it is very important to have it to temperature before the meringue goes in.
  • Line a low-sided oven tin (the sort you need for doing a Swiss roll….hey, that’s a point, why is a Swiss roll called a Swiss roll? Must look into it!) with baking or silicone paper, leaving a 5cm (2”) hanging over the edge to get hold of after it’s cooked.
  • Put the egg whites and just a tiny splash of vinegar into a mixing bowl. Use a balloon whisk and lots of energy, or an electric whisk to do the hard work for you.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then carefully and slowly whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, until the meringue mixture is quite stiff and glossy. Now you can whisk in the cornflour.
  • Plop the resulting white stuff into the lined tin with a spatula (or, if you have one, a palette knife…. Ok, if you don’t know what a palette knife is, you probably haven’t got one….just carry on with the spatula) and spread it evenly to the edges, as flat as you can, but don’t overwork it as you need to keep the air in the mixture. When it’s flat, just make a few peaks for decoration.
  • Pop it in the oven and cook for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes (use your eyes!), then take it out, stand it on something that will allow air above and below the tin (a ventilated heat mat or a cooling rack of some sort – the top of a gas cooker will do fine) and allow it to cool.
  • Turn the meringue out (so that the moist, paper-clad underside is facing upwards) onto another sheet of baking paper (or greaseproof) that has been sprinkled with sieved icing sugar.
  • Carefully peel off the baking paper from the underside. You’ll soon discover the best way of peeling it off without tearing the meringue.
  • Whip up the double cream to soft peaks and spread evenly over the meringue, leaving about 2cm (2”) on the long side away from you.
  • Artistically chuck the fruit evenly over the cream then carefully roll it up using the paper to persuade it to roll – it will be DISASTROUS if you try to roll it with your fingers.
  • Pop it on a serving platter with a twee doily below it. The join should be underneath.  Scatter the rest of the fruit (with equal flair and panache) all around the platter.
  • Slice it with a knife that has been in a jug of boiling water, to aid cutting this fragile delight. Then savour every delicious mouthful!

Tarte Tatin:

Tarte Tatin:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      probably about 40 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         6-8

Rating:         4:  Tricky (but worth it)

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down French apple tart, attributed to a couple of daft old sisters in rural France who we’re told got it wrong.  Whether that’s true or not who cares, it tastes great.

Find:

  • 8 eating apples (not cooking apples)
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 pack of puff pastry (around 300grams or more – you can freeze what’s left over for next time.) Ready rolled is most convenient.
  • A vanilla pod or Ground Cinnamon – not both. You can have it flavoured with one or the other.
  • A large round, deep-sided tart tin (borrow one from that lively little miss you’ve spotted around the corner…)
  • A metal oven (baking) tray
  • Crème Fraiche to serve with it.

Method:

  • You’ll need super-clean mitts fer this – wash ‘em again now.
  • The butter should be a room temperature; leave it out to soften.
  • Peel and core the apples: Peel the skin away, cut into 4 vertically, then each one again.  Only remove the pippy area, not much more at all.  Cut each one again (I know that they are getting thin – we need them thin.) to give 16 slices per apple.  We need about 100 slices for this.

Waddaya mean you’ve changed your mind?  It’s too late to back out now; just do it and stop moaning. 

I know you’d rather be down the pub, but you said you’d do it and do it you will…… nag, nag, nag…..

  • Ok, now for the messy bit. Slice the butter into thin slices and spread them around the tin, all over the base and up the sides.  Use your fingers and just mould them into place.  Don’t lick your fingers.  Wipe them with kitchen roll.
  • If you are using the vanilla pod: Take the vanilla pod, slit it down the centre with the tip of a sharp knife and, turning the knife sideways on to the pod, scrape all of the seeds out in one motion.  Spread these seeds all over the butter, evenly.  Don’t throw the pod away – see Tricks’n’Tips….
  • If you are using cinnamon: Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the butter layer. You won’t know how much, and I can’t really tell you – it is experience that will let you know.  You are just about to gain experience.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the butter and vanilla seeds/ground cinnamon. Now lay the apple slices, one overlapping the other in the form of a circular wedge, all the way around the edge, then the middle, then all over to make it level.  You’ll need to pack ’em in tightly.
  • Put the tart tin on the baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven, gas mk 3, for 20 minutes. This will start to cook the apples.
  • Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to the size of the tart tin (you will, of course, know the size already…..) – see Tricks’n’Tips for rolling out pastry.
  • Take out the tart tin and lay the pastry on top, trimming the edge with a knife. Press the pastry onto the apples.  Brush (or spread with a clean finger) milk onto the surface of the pastry.  When it comes out, that will be the bottom so it doesn’t need anything fancy.
  • Put the tin and baking tray back in, turn up to gas mk 6/200C and go have a beer for 15 minutes.
  • Take the tart tin out, press the pastry down with the fingers so that the pastry gets as saturated as possible with the free liquid and then leave to rest for 20-30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.
  • Cut to portions and serve with Crème Fraiche.

‘Marquise’ of Chocolate:

‘Marquise’ of Chocolate:

Prep:           40 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         6

Rating:         4:  Tricky

Lesley Waters did a nice Marquise on t’telly.   There is a recipe on BBC Food.  Have a look.

It’s a bit like this one – but hers is gonna be far more poshified than mine.

For about 6 servings, find:-