I have been making this meringue roulade recipe for years now, another one of those handy standby desserts that I don’t need to refer to a recipe book for. It is very easy to make and extremely quick, so invaluable for those occasions when you need to whip something delicious up in a flash. It originates from a very old Mary Berry book, long before her present GBBO fame, Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book from 1995. Remarkably, although the book is nearly twenty years old, Mary appears to look younger now than on the cover all those years ago. I am thinking of asking her if she has a recipe for that winning formula as it is certainly working for her.
I have tweaked this on various occasions and at Christmas I do like to make it with clementines soaked in Grand Marnier but as I had some raspberries that needed using I stuck to the original which always works well. The one I made today is for my friend Sally who very kindly, in that sort of bonkers kind of way, has begun a little Christmas tradition of holding a party just before Christmas, not just for the parents but for the children as well. Madness comes to mind but it is lovely madness and I know we all appreciate her very generous hospitality.
A roulade on the table never fails to impress, bringing plenty of oohs and aahs from salivating guests as it looks so magnificent and for want of a better word, complicated, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It is very simple but presumably people get put off making it because it looks so impressive and may frighten cooks off. Many have asked perplexedly ‘How on earth do you get a meringue to roll up?’.
When I baked for a living, I used to spend many a Saturday morning chatting to customers about the whys and wherefores of pavlovas and it always amazed me that some of these super confident and very good cooks quivered at the thought of anything to do with a voluminous bowl of white fluffiness which seemed to turn them into a quivering Eton mess.
These are some tips that I imparted to them about making meringues.
This is one occasion when it is best not to use very fresh eggs, usually not so relevant if you purchase shop eggs, but for those people who keep their own hens or buy from the farm gate, although you will get a perfect poached egg with your fresh egg, they will not give you the same superb quality meringue. Leave the eggs for at least 3-4 days before using them for meringues, they will whip up into a much larger volume than fresh thicker egg whites.
Even a small amount of grease can ruin the meringue. This includes even the smallest drip of egg yolk so it makes sense to separate the eggs individually and not one after the other into the same bowl. If a mishap does occur and a drop of yolk inadvertently makes its way into the whites, scoop it out with the empty half shell, try not to use your fingers as they may have traces of grease on.
Do not use eggs that have been kept in the fridge, cold egg whites will not whip up as much as eggs kept at room temperature.
If possible, use a glass or stainless steel bowl, plastic bowls can retain traces of oil or grease.
And, not so pertinent for this time of the year but imagine having your hair done into a big bouffant then going outside on a very damp, humid day in the summer, it will soon go flat and limp. The same will happen to a meringue, they are nearly all air and a humid day can cause havoc with your dreamy creations.
When adding the sugar to the stiff egg whites, put in a tablespoon at a time and whisk well in between, it takes a bit of time but if it is added too quickly the sugar will seep out of the meringue when cooking.
So do have a go, there is really no mystery to them and they are always sure to impress. Not forgetting they are absolutely delicious and being so light are a perfect dessert after Christmas lunch. This roulade will easily serve eight people, another plus if you have guests, or are a little greedy.
- 5 egg whites
- 275g caster sugar
- 50g flaked almonds
- To fill
- 300ml double or whipping cream
- 300g raspberries
- Preheat oven to 200c
- Line a swiss roll tin (about 13in x 9in) will baking paper.
- Place another piece of baking paper the same size on the worktop ready for the cooked meringue.
- Separate the eggs and put the whites into a large bowl.
- Whisk until stiff.
- Add the sugar a few spoons at a time, don't rush.
- When all the sugar has been incorporated empty contents onto the prepared tin.
- Spread out evenly using a palette knife.
- Sprinkle over the almonds.
- Place in the oven and cook for 12 minutes until golden. (I find it best to hang around in the kitchen for this). Don't open the oven.
- Turn the oven down to 150c and cook for a further 15 mins.
- When ready, take out of the oven and turn the meringue over nut side down onto the other piece of baking paper.
- Carefully peel off the baking paper.
- Leave to cook.
- Whip the cream until softly stiff.
- Spread over the meringue and distribute the raspberries on top.
- Using the baking paper as a guide, roll up the meringue into a log (starting at a longer side).