Dessert The Winter Chills And Berry It
No matter the occasion or the poshness of the menu, my eyes inadvertently always seek out the desserts. You might think I'm the spitting image of Queen Victoria and suggest I don't succumb to the desires of my sweet tooth. I’ll skimp on starters and nibble on lettuce leaves but, don’t deny me dessert. We all enjoy the sweeter things in life.
Here, as promised, are my new favourite desserts. They are both Yotam Ottolenghi recipes from his book Plenty More. I have adapted them slightly, using ingredients we have readily available.
SPRING MERINGUE ROULADE WITH FRESH BERRIES
FILLING AND FINISHING
Preheat the oven to 160°C regular oven or 140°C for a thermofan oven
Line a baking tray with baking paper. A dab of meringue will prevent the paper from curling up on the underside of each corner of the paper.
Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until they firm up. Start adding spoonfuls of sugar while continuously beating. The meringue should become glossy and soft peaks will form. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the vanilla essence, vinegar and cornflour. Spread the meringue onto the lined baking tray. Smooth as much as possible. Bake for 30 minutes. The top of the meringue will be crisp, while the inside remains soft and spongy.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool down completely.
In a bowl, mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the whipping cream and whisk with an electric whisk until smooth and thickened.
Carefully tip the meringue onto a clean sheet of baking paper. The upper side is now facing the paper.
Spread the 2/3 cream covering the underside of the meringue but do leave the edges clean (the cream will spread when it’s being rolled.) Spread half the berries on top. Fold the beginning of the roll with your fingers and then continue moving along the length of the meringue, using the baking paper as a guide.
Spread the remaining cream on top of the log, garnish with the remaining berries, nuts and a few scrapings of lemon zest or orange blossoms.
This can be done 30 minutes before serving. Chill. Dust the log with some icing sugar just before serving.
TIP: I have made this meringue using 125ml lemon curd, 500ml whipped cream and 30ml lemon juice folded together as a filling. Delicious.
Enjoy all the oohs and aahs.
FROZEN BERRIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Prepare the chocolate the day before you need it. The chocolate ganache needs to cool down completely.
Almond biscotti biscuits to serve.
(For those who prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate, I’m sure an exception can be made.)
Place the grated chocolate in a small heat resistant bowl. Heat 160ml cream to boiling point. Pour over the grated chocolate. Stir until smooth. Cover with cling wrap, cool down and refrigerate overnight.
On the day: whip the remaining cream in a large mixing bowl until light but not stiff. Add the chilled chocolate. Whisk again but do not overwork the cream. The cream might split.
Using a rolling pin, bash the frozen berries until they’re slightly crushed. If they’re not in a plastic bag, place them in a plastic bag before striking. In a bowl, place the berries, icing sugar and Gin. Stir through.
Swirl the berries through the cream. Do not mix ONLY SWIRL lightly. Pour the mousse into a large glass bowl and refrigerate it until needed. Garnish with a few berries and some grated chocolate.
Serve the biscotti with this dessert.
TIP: I’ll dip some fresh strawberries in chocolate and serve those with this mousse next time.
There were no leftovers for me to savour while doing the dishes after our guests had left. Both recipes will undoubtedly be on my Spring and Summer menus