I’m baking for the King of the Mountains today, the polka dot jersey. Joaquim Rodriguez is wearing it at the moment. He has the same number of points as Romain Bardet who won the stage to St-Jean-de-Maurienne yesterday (which included the spectacular Lacets de Monvernier) but is leading the competition based on some kind of countback system. There are two more mountain stages to go, so the competition may not be decided until the top of Alpe d’Huez on Saturday. It could be either or neither of them if the main contenders for yellow race for a win.
Anyway, it was difficult to find a polka dot cake in my books. I’ve settled on the hazelnut and summer berry roulade from the Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking. Admittedly, the polka dots may not be very precise, being made up of raspberries and chopped strawberries in the roulade filling, but the roulade is red and white, and it does look pretty good.
There are a couple of challenges here; the roulade itself – the last one I made had me swearing and stamping with both feet when the filling came out and it broke in half as I lifted it onto my cake plate (have a look at my post about the red velvet roulade), and tempered chocolate (I haven’t had the best luck with chocolate decorations either).
I’m blogging and baking at the same time again this week and, as I write, I have the hazelnut meringue (which forms the outside of the roulade) in the oven. I started by lining a baking tray with baking paper. Now, the recipe says that it has to be baking paper, definitely NOT (capitals copied) greaseproof. I have no idea why, but perhaps I’ll find out given that the paper I’m using says that it is both greaseproof and baking paper. I never knew that the choice of greaseproof or baking paper could be such a minefield.
Once I’d decided to go with the greaseproof and baking paper, rather than popping to Tesco for some non-greaseproof baking paper I whisked egg whites and lemon juice to stiff peaks. Then I added caster sugar which I had mixed with cornflour. I haven’t had the cornflour out of the cupboard since my dad made some bubble mixture with it for the children last summer (he seemed to think it would make giant bubbles – it didn’t, it just left floury stains on the washing that was on the line). It (the cornflour) was a couple of weeks out of date. Again, I considered a trip to Tesco for some more, but it was raining, and if I wasn’t going to leave the house for non-greaseproof baking paper, I certainly wasn’t going for a box of cornflour. If this roulade turns out OK it will be some sort of miracle.
Once the mixture was stiff and glossy, as required by the recipe, I gently folded in some ground toasted hazelnuts (I didn’t toast my own this time – I bought them ready roasted and chopped, then ground them up in a spice grinder). I spread the mixture onto my lined tray and put it into the oven at 130° fan for 45 minutes.
I’ve just taken it out. The meringue was supposed to be “risen, golden and firm to the touch”. I wouldn’t describe it as golden but it does look like the meringue in the picture in the book so I’m not too worried. I’ve turned it out onto a sheet of baking paper and taken the tin and the lining paper off. Now it has to cool completely while I whip some cream.
I’ve just put the roulade into the fridge to firm up. The recipe says that, if you can, you should leave it for at least four hours. Once the meringue was completely cold, I spread whipped cream over it. I was careful not to overfill it this time. I didn’t want the cream to ooze out as soon as I started to roll it up. I scattered raspberries and strawberries over the top of the cream, and used the baking paper to roll the meringue into a roulade from one of the long sides.
I’m going to decorate the roulade with strawberries dipped in tempered white chocolate. At least that’s what I’m aiming for. I may well end up with strawberries dipped in untempered chocolate or even no strawberries at all since I will, obviously, have to eat any mistakes.
As you can see, I’ve had a go at the tempering and, to be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s worked or not. I have several chocolate covered strawberries that look good enough to decorate the roulade, but I’m not sure that the chocolate is as shiny and smooth as it’s supposed to be. The instructions for tempering chocolate are in the Baker’s Guide at the front of the Big Book of Baking. There is only one set of instructions, so I assume that the method is the same for milk, dark and white chocolate. You have to melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water, then increase the temperature of the water until the chocolate reaches 45°C. You then take the chocolate off the heat and put the bowl into a pan of cold water until it cools to 27°C. Then you heat it up again to 29-30°. The only thermometer I have that I can use in a pan is my sugar thermometer. This was OK for the top temperature but I had to use a bit of guess-work when the chocolate cooled. As I say, I have strawberries that I can decorate the roulade with, I’m just not sure whether they’re tempered correctly.
Here is my King of the Mountains, hazelnut and summer berry roulade.
You know what? If I could take better pictures, I think it would look as good as the one in the Big Book of Baking. I haven’t tasted it yet. I’m taking it to my parents’ for lunch tomorrow. It is pretty long though, a small slice or two off the ends may be required in order to get it into my cake box…