Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?
It looks pretty fancy, too.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a bake-and-blog. To be honest, I feel a little uninspired. I feel like I’ve been doing this for years and I still have 37 recipes left, after this one. Why did I pick such a big book of Great British baking? Why couldn’t I have picked The Beginner’s Guide of 10 Go-To British Bakes.
Because I’m a fool, that’s why.
But I’m a fool who told herself she needed to finish this, so here I am.
Technically I should be in the savoury section but I’m trying to save money and all of the savoury recipes require purchases that I don’t feel like making just yet. This, though, had all fairly basic ingredients that wouldn’t break the bank.
Plus how hard could it be?
Yes it looks fancy but it’s essentially a giant meringue filled with whipped cream and berries.
How hard could it be?
Famous last words.
Step one involves preheating the oven. I didn’t do step one. I separated the eggs and added a teaspoon of lemon juice instead, as directed in step two.
Then I turned on my KitchenAid and started whisking it.
Then I preheated my oven.
Then I prepped the “Swiss roll tin.”
Which I now realize I read wrong.
It calls for a Swiss roll tin 20 x 30 cm, greased with oil and lined with baking paper cut to 24 x 34 cm.
I read a tin “24 x 34 cm” so I thought my baking sheet would do.
I now see my mistake.
But more on that later.
The “tin” was ready.
As the egg whites continued mixing, I mixed together the sugar and the corn flour.
Corn flour that I could’ve sworn I didn’t have and thought corn starch was the same so I bought corn starch and got home to find corn flour sitting, labelled, on my shelf.
Good news is now I can thicken up stews and gravies. Even though I never make stews or gravies.
The egg whites are supposed to be whisked “until the whites form stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl” and I assumed this was a stiff enough peak:
So I moved to the next step and started adding the corn flour and sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
I let the mixer run a little bit and then checked the stiff peaks, only to find that they were soft peaks.
So I mixed for more.
It didn’t really get much better but I thought it got good enough.
At this point, I was told to very gently and delicately fold in the ground hazelnuts.
Well I did not have ground hazelnuts and didn’t feel like going through the work so I used ground almonds instead.
I’m going rogue, guys.
I tried to fold in the almonds in as few strokes as possible before dropping the meringue mixture into the prepared tin, making sure to get the mixture into the corners.
Then I put it in the oven.
*30 minutes later*
Mary and Paul told me to turn the tin around at this point and then continue baking for 45 minutes.
*about 5 to 8 minutes later*
The meringue was baking faster than the recipe expected, so I pulled it out early and transferred it to a baking papered cooling rack.
*5 minutes later*
I left it for 5 minutes, as directed, but instead of just peeling the paper off, I thought I’d pre-roll it so that it would hold its shape when I put cream in the middle.
This is when I noticed something was off.
But I kept rolling., despite hearing a distinct “crack crack crack crack” noise.
And then I unrolled.
I immediately knew that this is not going to make a working roulade.
It would probably make a good Nailed It episode.
So I made a choice.
A risky choice.
I’d serve deconstructed almond and summer berry roulade to my co-workers.
The good news is it worked! And it was tasty.
The bad news is it doesn’t look great.
But really, who cares?
Oh, before I forget, I should admit something: I didn’t finish this recipe.
Assuming the meringue was baked in the correct tin and the meringue was thick enough and rolled no problem, and assuming I was able to spread the whipped cream and stuff it with berries, Mary and Paul wanted me to decorate it.
They wanted me to take raspberries and sugar and blitz them in a food processor press through a sieve to make a coulis.
Then they wanted me to wipe down strawberries, dip half of them in the coulis, set them on baking paper for four hours and wait for them to set. Then they wanted me to take the other half of the strawberries and dip them in melted white chocolate and do the same.
Then they wanted me to decorate the top and sides of the the successful roulade with these berries.
But, you know, I didn’t want to.
So I didn’t.
*the next day*
I took three containers to work. One with broken meringue bits, one with whipped cream and one with berries.
I set them out, accompanied by bowls and spoons and told people to help themselves.
A co-worker graciously told me that I did make something. I made Eton mess, which is still a British bake.
And people loved it all the same. Quite a hit, I’d say. It disappeared quickly and one person even used meringue bits to scrape up every last bit of whipped cream.
So I guess it worked.
Even though it really didn’t.