Peach & Rhubarb Roulade for a summer supper with friends

My desserts are slowly and surely improving although amongst friends I’m still known for a few of my previous Bridget Jones catastrophes, not quite as bad as purple soup, but I’ve had to make a few creative saves to salvage some recipes gone astray. The most frustrating thing is that desserts are the “piece de resistance” in my family with my nanna at the helm specialising in everything from queen’s puddings, to syllabub to gooseberry fool to creme caramel and my favourite her meringue roulade. My aunty has picked up the mantle and helped make the desserts for my wedding with individual millefeuilles, syllabubs and eclairs. My stepsister has mastered the knack of a good french apple tart and banoffee pie and on the other side of the family my aunties have cornered the market in pavlova’s and lemon meringues. Add in the fact that my mother-in-law used to make all the desserts in her restaurant here in Milan. No pressure!

Last night we had some friends over for dinner so I decided to brave my nanna’s two-some; a meringue roulade and with the remaining egg yolks a creme caramel.

The roulade is technically more marsh mallow then meringue in that it only needs to be baked for c. 20 mins so that it remains soft and malleable ready to be rolled once cooked. My nanna stressed to me the need for super clean dishes in the preparation of the meringue mix as any impurity can effect the outcome so before starting I diligently rewashed my mixing bowl and utensils. I then set about following her instructions in a bid for the perfect roulade.

Ingredients: 4 Egg whites, 6oz / 170g caster sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, chopped almonds to decorate, additional sugar to sprinkle, 125ml single cream (whipped) + fruit of your choice (Berries, peaches, rhubarb).

Preparation: 15 mins + 20 mins cooking + cooling time + 10 mins decorating

1. Whisk the egg whites with c. 1/4 of the sugar until stiff and glossy.

2. Gently fold in the remaining sugar using a metal spoon.

3. Spoon the mix onto a flat baking tray prepared with greaseproof paper and sprinkle with the cinnamon and a tsp of additional sugar.

4. Bake in the centre of a hot oven at 190C for c. 20 minutes or until slightly golden and firm.

5. Once slightly cooled peel the meringue off the greaseproof paper and leave to cool completely.

6. For the filling, I layered on my rhubarb which I had cooked earlier (Simmer in a splash of water with brown sugar for c. 5 minutes until nicely softened).

7. whip the fresh cream until nice and firm and spread evenly across the meringue. I also used a little bit of mascarpone in my roulade so you can play with different creams and yoghurts to achieve the taste you want.

8 .Lastly I spread thinly sliced peach across the cream.

9. Now for the tricky bit…rolling! I think I over estimated my filling so as I started to roll a fair bit shot out of both ends but with a bit of patience I managed to complete my roll, plate up and pop my roulade in the fridge to chill and set.

10. Before serving, sprinkle with the chopped almonds.

11. Serve sliced.

So how did our guests enjoy my roulade? Let’s just say that I introduced it as another experiment so expectations were set low and the only comment muttered was “another English bomb!” but after having tasted my roulade things changed somewhat and they were all pleasantly surprised by how light it was and better yet they liked the combination of peach and rhubarb. That’s all I need to class it as a success!

You’ll have to wait for my next post to see how the Creme Caramel turned out!

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