Cherry Chocolate Roulade - Alternative to Christmas Pudding

Saturday, 3 January 2009

We had my brother and his girlfriend over for Christmas this year and I spent some time planning the meal so that the shopping and cooking of it was as stress-free as possible. I decided against the traditional christmas pudding as I know that Al doesn't like it and I'm not a huge fan of having it straight after a big fat roast dinner. The house was already full of food and drink and so something a bit lighter than christmas pudding but still a bit special was necessary to round off the meal.

I eventually decided on a roulade. A roulade is made from a fat free sponge that is baked in a large, shallow pan. When cool, the filling is added (I chose whipped bream and a jar of cherries) and the sponge is rolled up like a swiss roll.

I'd never tried making this before (what is it with me and new recipes this christmas?) but I figured it wouldn't be too tough. I found a recipe that could be made ahead because, let's face it, who wants the hassle of dessert on Christmas day? The sponge was made on the 23rd December and filled on Christmas eve for us to enjoy on Christmas day.

And enjoy it we did! It was a bit of a hassle to roll but I think I should have maybe cooked it for a little bit longer. It was delicious though. Moist and chocolatey with a rich cream filling and juicy cherries. I'd definitely make this again but I'd probably make it for more people. I had to throw some of it away as it didn't all get eaten despite how yummy it was.

I used this recipe for the sponge cake and general idea. I left out the cherry conserve, swapped the kirsch for the syrup the cherries came in, didn't bother with the chocolate decorations and didn't dredge the finished product with icing sugar as it was already sweet enough.

For the sponge:
6 large eggs, separated
175g (6oz) caster sugar
200g (7oz) plain chocolate, melted
2-3 tbsp juice or syrup from the cherries

For the filling:
300ml double cream
1 jar or tin of cherries in juice or syrup
3-4 tbsp reserved juice or syrup.

1. Set the oven to gas mark 4 or 180°C.

2. To make the roulade, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, until the mixture leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted out from mixture. Fold chocolate into the egg-yolk mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into the egg-yolk mixture, then turn out into the Swiss roll tin. Use a palette knife to spread the mixture out to the edges, taking care not to knock out too much of the air. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins, until the mixture has set. Remove from oven and turn the roulade out on to a board that has a sheet of baking parchment on it. Leave the lining paper on the roulade sponge and then cover with a damp, clean tea-towel and leave to cool for at least 4 hrs, or overnight.

4. To make the filling, whisk the cream until it starts to form soft peaks and stir in the reserved syrup

5. Remove the tea towel and lining paper from the roulade sponge and brush the syrup over the surface. Then spread over the cream and then scatter over the cherries. Use the base sheet of baking parchment to help roll the roulade up from the longest side. Transfer roulade to a serving dish.


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