Chocolate Roulade

I know Christmas has already past, but I really wanted to make a delicious English dessert before the season is over completely! Traditionally Christmas desserts in England are strangely centered around dried fruit…. mince pies (which are made from currants, saltanas and raisins and NOT rotten meat like some Americans believe!) Christmas pudding (which is a steamed fruit cake) served with warm custard, and then iced fruit cake, are probably the three most popular desserts. I think most people eat them out of tradition though, because they’re really not that good…but there is one traditional dessert that English people make around this time of year that is purely divine.

“Chocolate Roulade.” I love the title, it makes it sound so beautiful and gourmet, just like it looks and tastes. When I tell Americans the name of it, they say: “Oh, so like a pumpkin roll?!” Yes. It’s kind of like that. But instead of canned pumpkin, it’s made from real chocolate, fresh oranges, and whipped cream. So really, it’s much better! ;-) This is by FAR my favourite English Christmas dessert (ha! my husband is right, I really DO have a favourite for everything!) But that is because it’s the ONLY good English Christmas dessert!

Here is the recipe. I have converted it to make it American friendly, but I have a link to the original recipe for my English friends. Just a heads up though, this was one of the worst recipes I have ever followed…. it doesn’t make any sense, and it made me mess up big time, so I have completely re-written it, and have a few important tips and tricks to share too!

6 oz plain chocolate/milk chocolate chips
6 large eggs, separated
6 oz golden caster sugar
Icing sugar, to dust

For the filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp strawberry jam
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 small orange

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a Swiss roll tin/Jelly roll pan with non-stick baking parchment, making sure the edges overlap each end of the pan
Melt the chocolate in a double-broiler with 1/2 cup of water. Stir until smooth then leave to cool slightly.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until very thick and pale.
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Mix the melted chocolate with the egg and sugar mixture until combined. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a large metal spoon. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into the prepared tin
 bake for 20–25 minutes or until just firm. Put a cooling rack over the tin and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave overnight (Or make early in the morning, and leave all day- about 8 hours).
This might seem like a really strange step… but this step makes the sponge look like it has the texture of a wooden log…. this dessert is also referred to as a “yule log” or “chocolate log.” Here is where the original recipe made me mess up BIG TIME!  (after all that work and 8 hours overnight, I was mad!) it said: “Dust a large piece of non-stick baking parchment with icing sugar. Flip the roulade, cooked side down, onto the parchment and peel off the lining paper. Spread the roulade with the whipped cream then dot evenly with the conserve. Here’s how it turned out:
I flipped it, peeled off the paper, then spread it with jam, and realized: “that’s the wrong side!” I then tried to scrape off the jam, and flip it over… and it got destroyed. I tried to save it again…. But the next problem was all me… I didn’t whip the cream until it was firm enough, so it didn’t hold its shape. It was just a disaster! But at least it tasted great… so then I got to work on attempt #2….. Here’s the way I would do it. It just makes more sense.

Leave the sponge in the pan, and dust with powdered sugar.

To make the filling, whip the cream until it holds its shape.
In a separate bowl, stir the orange zest and 1 tablespoon of juice into the conserve.
Spread the jam mixture on the sponge Top with cream
(P.S don’t spread & mix it too much because it will turn pink, just dot it on top, when you roll it, it will get spread around more).

Roll it up using the edge of your parchment paper. Keep it as tight as possible. Decorate with chocolate curls and serve in slices with chilled single cream.

This is such a beautifully elegant and heavenly dessert that it’s not just my favourite Christmas dessert, but one of my favourite desserts of all time. It just has all the right components to it: thick cream, and rich chocolate that’s cut by a hint of citrus and sweet strawberry, and it’s surprisingly light. Mmmm. It was a bit of pain to make, but i’m glad I had another attempt, because it turned out perfectly! I will never serve steamed fruit deserts at Christmas after trying this!!

P.S. You should have a go at making this for a special new year’s day dessert!

Love, Sarah