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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

chocolate chestnut swiss roll.

I wanted to use up my chestnut pastry cream and marron glaces (sort of) from my mont blancs so I made a swiss roll. And since chocolate goes so well with chestnuts, it's only logical to make a chocolate one.

Swiss rolls are quite prone to failure. Horrible cracks that streak across the surface like fissures. Edible, but not too pretty to look at. It's that infuriating fear that ironically, compelled me to take another swing at it. I made a swiss roll before, and it nearly broke cleanly into two halves.

This time, I succeeded in not having the swiss roll crack but I didn't feel 100% victorious. It looked really flattened and squashed instead of the circular shape I was hoping to achieve. Then again, it is a flourless cake so it wouldn't be as structurally sound as one with flour. But, I don't know if it is supposed to be so spineless. At the very least, this one was easy to roll.

Being a flourless swiss roll, it had some amazing qualities to it. The sponge was spongy (ha!), soft, moist and ethereally light all at once. The chocolate flavour isn't as strong as regular cakes, say my favourite chocolate cake, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's stronger than regular chocolate swiss roll sponges.

I think I'm ready for another shot at swiss roll. Swiss roll, I'm taking you down.

Chocolate Chestnut Swiss Roll
cake recipe adapted from The Cake Bible

For the cake:
1/9 cup (1tbsp + 2 1/3 tsp) unsifted cocoa powder and 1 more tsp for dusting
20ml boiling water
1/3 tsp vanilla
2 tsp unsalted butter, softened
33g + 11g sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line a 11 x 7 inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the 1/9 cup of cocoa powder with the boiling water until the cocoa has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter until it has melted and then the vanilla. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the 2 egg yolks with 33g sugar and beat using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until incorporated.

In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks begin to form. Add the remaining sugar bit by bit and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it up. I find using a whisk much easier than using a spatula at this point. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently until the batter is homogenous.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. The cake will have faded in colour and lost its shine. The surface should also spring back when lightly pressed.

Take the cake out of the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of cocoa powder evenly over the cake and cover with a damp dish towel. Allow to cool completely.

For the chestnut cream:

1/4 recipe of chestnut pastry cream
1/2 cup cream, whipped

Fold the whipped cream into the chestnut pastry cream. You may have a little extra leftover but that's okay. Just grab a spoon and attack.

Assembly: Invert the cake on a large piece of parchment paper. Peel the old piece of parchment paper off the cake. Make three shallow slits near the ends of the short side of the cake. This will make it much easier to roll it up. Spread the filling evenly on the cake, leaving at 1 inch border from the sides. I advise you to leave a larger border towards the opposite end of the cake, the side which would be the seam after rolling it up, just in case that there's too much filling in the middle. Sprinkle some chopped candied chestnuts if desired. Roll up the cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the filling to firm up.

If you have extra pastry cream, you can use it to pipe decorations on top. Garnish with marron glaces if you like.

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