Amidst other things, exotic ingredients are ridiculously expensive in this country. A tiny block of good quality parmesan costs anywhere between Rs 400-500 and this is not good news for me considering I love using unadulterated, original ingredients. So every time a friend visits from the States or someone is travelling to Europe, I ask them to bring me something. My friends Aneesh and Neha were kind enough to bring me Kirsch or Kirshwasser, a cherry brandy that is not easily accessible in India. Thanks to them, one exotic ingredient has been knocked off my wish list – thousand more to go (really). I use it like it is liquid gold, you get the drift.
In the patisserie world, Kirsch is pivotal – it’s used to macerate fruits, added to whipped cream, douse cakes and fill chocolates. Other than sweets, Kirsch is also consumed neat in Europe and I think cherries are quintessentially Christmas.
Roulade is essentially nothing but a Swiss Roll. This dish is a bit unconventional from your traditional yule logs or bûche de Noël. A flourless chocolate sponge is baked in a jelly roll pan and is placed over a parchment paper dusted with cocoa powder.
The macerated cherries are added to the whipped cream and spread over the baked sponge. The sponge is carefully rolled to form a log. The cocoa over the log lends a very rustic appearance to the roulade.
You can create a little fondant holly to place over the log; et voila, there’s your yuletide dessert for a dinner party done in under an hour.
For the sponge
- 150 g, dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids)
- 4 eggs, separated
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
For the filling
- 100 ml whipping cream
- 300 g cherries, fresh or tinned
- 2 tbsp kirsch
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 11X15 Swiss/Jelly roll tin with parchment paper. Set aside. Macerate the cherries in kirsch. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Beat the egg yolks with sugar until it doubles up in volume (5-8 minutes).
- Add the melted chocolate to the egg yolk mixture. Fold well. Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks (5 minutes).
- Add a spoonful of egg whites to the chocolate and yolk mixture. Fold gingerly, you don’t want to knock out the air. Follow with rest of the egg whites.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes.
- Dust cocoa powder over a clean parchment paper. Topple the baked sponge over the cocoa powder. Cover with a tea towel and allow to cool.
- Whip the cream until stiff. Add the macerated cherries along with the kirsch into the cream.
- Spread the cream over the cooled sponge. Roll the sponge deftly, using the baking parchment. The sponge will have a crack or two, because of the lack of flour, so don’t be alarmed. Cut off the ends for a neat look. Cool before serving.