Sunday, November 8, 2009

shared experiment

We have been taught since we were knee-high that it is “good to share”. There is a joy to receive but as we’ve learned it is a joy to give as well. And I am so thankful for friends that are willing to be “guinea pigs” so to speak and share with me all of these cooking endeavors I am exploring.

The credit for today’s experiment goes to Nigel Slater, in whose cookbook Kitchen Diaries I found this particular recipe for Passion Fruit Roulade. It is a pretty straight forward recipe, the only ingredient that might be a challenge to find is the passion fruit. But in Southern California right now I can find them at my farmer’s market, but probably only for a couple more weeks. In the recipe Nigel calls for lemon or orange curd which you can buy already prepared, which is completely fine. But I have a recipe I am particularly fond of for lemon curd, so I made mine from scratch. I tweaked the recipe slightly to make it a lemon-orange curd to take it a little sweeter, since the passion fruit is on the tart side. I think the combination is a winner.


Passion Fruit Roulade
the cake:
6 large eggs
½ cup superfine sugar
2 lemons
2 heaped tablespoons all purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
For the filling:
1 cup lemon or orange curd (for homemade version see below)
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
8-12 passion fruits, ripe and wrinkled
Superfine sugar to finish

You will need a jelly roll pan measuring approximately 14x12, with shallow sides. It doesn’t matter if it is just a few inches out either way.
Set the oven to 400°F. Line the pan with a piece of parchment, making sure it comes up the sides.
Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into a food mixer and the whites into a bowl large enough in which to beat them. Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk until thick, pale and creamy.

Grate the zest from both the lemons, taking care not to include the bitter white pith underneath, and squeeze the juice of one of them. Beat the egg whites until they are thick and capable of standing in a soft peak, and then fold the juice and zest into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, followed by the sifted flour and then the egg whites. Add the egg whites slowly, firmly but gently, so the air is not knocked out of them as you mix them in. It is crucial not to over-mix. Scoop the mixture into the lined pan, smoothing it gently out to the edges.

Bake for about ten minutes, until the top is very lightly colored and it feels softly set. Let is cool for a few minutes.

Put a piece of wax paper on a work surface, cover lightly with superfine sugar, and then turn the roulade out on to it. The cake should be crust side down. I find this easiest to do if you are fairly forthright about it, just tipping the roulade out of its pan in one swift movement. Carefully peel away the paper and cover the roulade with a clean moist dish towel. It will be fine like this for an hour or two (I have even left them like this overnight and they have come to no harm).

When you are ready to roll the cake, remove the towel and spread the lemon or orange curd over the surface, then whip the cream until it will stand in soft peaks and spread it over the curd. Cut eight of the passion fruits in half and spread the juice and seeds over the cream. Now take one short end of the wax paper and use it to help you roll up the roulade. It the surface cracks, no worries just dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into thick slices, use the remaining passion fruit juice and seeds squeezed over each slice.

Enough for 10

Lemon-Orange Curd
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup orange juice
Grated zest of 1 orange
½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces

Choose a saucepan that will hold the bowl from your mixer (or a heatproof mixing bowl) in a double-boiler arrangement. Fill the pan with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer.

Put the eggs and sugar in the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip at high speed until very light and fluffy. (or put in the mixing bowl and use a hand-held mixer.) Still whisking, add the lemon and orange juice and grated zest. Set the bowl in the saucepan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly by hand, until it is smooth, thick and custard like. Be patient; this can take a while. Transfer the bowl to the counter and whisk in the butter piece by piece. Press plastic wrap against the top, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and set. The curd can be made up to a week in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once the curd is set, it should not be stirred again.

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