meringue challenges

So,

it’s that time of the month again. Daring Bakers day.

Word of warning – this is a long post. If you are not a fan of my ramblings I suggest you scroll down for the recipe and pictures, or even turn away now and save yourself 5 minutes of your life.

This month’s Daring Bakers Challenge… erm, I read it and wasn’t impressed. It is becoming a sort of trend with me but to be honest, the Filipino dessert didn’t look more challenging than say, making meringue. And I can think of ways I’d prefer to present a cake that includes meringue. I don’t know if that breaks the DB rules, but I see DB as more of a means to learning new things rather than just following the recipe posted; as analytical learning in a way. You may disagree.

I guess I am just against the idea of hiding meringue behind a cloak of buttercream – to me it seems wrong. Meringue is light and fluffy and looks absolutely beautiful, so to conceal that by decorating it with a frosting, I don’t know; why would you? I bought all the ingredients (which included an ungodly amount of egg whites) and everything. But I just kept postponing it and not feeling terribly excited about the whole thing.

apricot meringue roulade

If you met me IRL, and especially at my job, you would realise that truth in what I do matters a lot to me. It is an essential ingredient in my work, and my passion for it depends entirely on that (I’m an architect by the way). I guess it’s a weird concept to explain, but essentially, a building should tell the truth about what it is. A building that’s made in timber is fundamentally different from a building that is made of bricks, and the way in which it is designed and built should reflect those differences. It should speak the language of the materials.

I didn’t realise up until this point that I extend this belief to my baking. To me a meringue cake is just not an iced layer cake; and even if it would be delicious and I am missing an opportunity,  I am perfectly comfortable with that.

So in the end I decided to not do it. I put my ingredients to what was to me a more experimental use, one which showed meringue in all its glory and made it the protagonist of a delicious-looking dessert  (in spite of what the photographs may tell you).

So yeah, deal with it. I’m not making this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. And to add insult to injury, I will post the blog-checking lines, and the meringue dessert that I made, which was to me an actual challenge. Consider it part of the challenge, disregard it – entirely your decision, as this is mine.

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

in a garden

I got the recipe for my meringue roulade from a Bonne Maman cookbook. Bonne Maman are a conserve making company (I think? they may make biscuits as well?). They have a recipe book, called the Bonne Maman Seasonal Cookbook, currently on offer in the UK. Essentially, if you buy three jam jars and send them the codes on the lids, they will send you a book in the post.

TOTALLY. WORTH. IT. Seriously. If you like jams, or even if like me you just tolerate them, go and buy some Bonne Maman jars of jam this instant – if you do though, make sure they have the promotion label on top.

The book arrived just a couple of days after I sent in the codes, much to my surprise. For some reason I never expected it to arrive.

The roulade recipe caught my eye instantly. One of the jars of jam I bought was apricot, simply because I needed it for my Christmas baking; I expected to have a lot leftover and was worried it might linger in my fridge for a long time, as A is more of a fan of the berry jams.

As I had ridiculous amounts of egg whites (yes I bought the pasteurised kind as I couldn’t bring myself to using up 15 egg yolks), it just seemed like it was meant to be.

Now, back story to roulades. Every year my mother makes buche de noël for Christmas; two to be precise. I remember growing up and watching her carefully rolling the cake with great precision while still warm, to avoid any cracks. My mother is an absolute master at this.

I had read more than one roulade recipe that say you should let the cake cool before you roll it. This always puzzled me, as my mother did it differently with great success. It wasn’t until lovely Mary Berry (I am becoming a huge fan of hers) said in the Great British Bake Off that there is a fundamental difference between a swiss roll and a roulade, which means the first must be rolled out while still warm, or it will crack, and the second can only be rolled out when cold or it will crack – she explained the reason for that but I can’t remember what it is – possibly flour making the swiss roll less elastic? something like that anyway . This may be common knowledge but was precious information for me.

Armed with this, I went for it, and made the recipe in the book. It came out really nicely, the meringue was great and then the filling: the filling is incredible. For someone such as myself, who isn’t a great fan of jams (I will never eat them by choice really), this was a revelation – fresh and rich at the same time, not too sweet and perfectly contrasting with the meringue. My jar of apricot jam, that I feared would be forever abandoned in the back of the fridge, is nearly finished. I may have to get a new one to be able to do my Chrismas cake decorating. I think it could work rather nicely with other jams, or perhaps even lemon curd. I will try them all.

mmmmmmeringue

So yes. A success. Roulade, which I saw as a big challenge, is a challenge no more. I would say that is pretty daring, even if it’s not the Filipino dessert.

Apricot Meringue Roulade
From Bonne Maman – The Seasonal Cookbook (very slightly adapted by me)
For the roulade
5 egg whites (I used 150ml pasteurised egg whites)
275 caster sugar, plus extra for rolling (I used golden caster)
50 g flaked almonds
Icing sugar to dust (I didn’t use any)
For the filling
300 ml double cream
4-5 tablespoons of Bonne Maman Apricot Compote
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (200 if you’re using fan assisted). Line a large baking sheet with non stick baking parchment. (they say baking sheet but I would imagine they mean tray? I used a large tray)
Whisk egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then slowly add the sugar while whisking continuously, until stiff and glossy. spread on the baking sheet  and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then turn the temperature down to 170 degrees C (150 fan) for about 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Turn out onto a clean tea towel sprinklered with some caster sugar and remove the parchment paper.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and spread on the meringue. Lightly spread the compote and roll the cake along the longest edge using the tea towel to help you.
Chill and serve dusted with icing sugar.

I used Mary Berry’s method for rolling mine – snap the end when starting to roll so that the spiral is tighter.  I also think that the chilling made it much nicer.

The pictures were taken when more than half of it had been eaten, it was so nice.

Oh and as a general disclaimer, I bought and paid for the jam myself and Bonne Maman are in no way remunerating me for this post. I’m pretty sure they’re not even aware of it.

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One Response to meringue challenges

  1. Nancy says:

    This looks AWESOME!! And you know how much I love any meringue based desert, so I reckon you definitely went with the right choice.
    I totally boycotted this months DB challenge, it just wasnt inspiring enough.
    If you love Bonne Maman’s compote, try their Confiture de Caramel. Seriously AMAZING!!

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