One of the many things that I love about summer is the fruit that grows during it. Although the weather has hardly been very summer like the past few weeks (not only have the leaves on the trees started turning shades of red and orange, but I was walking through a park last week which was strewn with leaves, all very autumnal) but my strawberry plants are still producing tasty fruit, and so I was inspired to make this.
Having never made meringue, or a roulade before it was something of an experiment, and took three goes to get right, purely because I had no idea how long, or what temperature at which to bake the meringue. Turns out you bake it on a higher temperature for not so long when making a roulade but on a lower temperature for a long time when making it for other uses.
Anyway, here’s how I made my successful one:
- Take 5 egg whites and whisk until stiff. Do not attempt to do this with a fork as I did last week when making something else, it takes a very long time! A balloon whisk shouldn’t take too long, or an electric whisk if you rather. If you’ve never separated an egg before, it’s not as tricky as people think. Simply crack the egg in half, let the white fall into a bowl, and then move the yolk between the halves of the egg shells so that the rest of the white comes out but the yolk remains in the shell. If this all sounds a bit delicate I did read somewhere you can crack the egg onto a plate, cover the yolk with a cup and then tip it so the white drips out. I’ve never tried this but it’s an alternative.
- Add 250g caster sugar gradually, continuing to whisk until all the sugar is combined and the mixture is stiff. It should look very pure white, and have a lovely sheen to it.
- Line your baking tray with baking paper (no need to grease!) and pour in the mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible. Pop it in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 4 for about 18 minutes, until the top is slightly crisp to the touch.
- Leave to cool completely.
- In the meantime, and if your arm isn’t aching too much from the egg whisking, whip some double cream. It’s up to you how much you use, but I used a 300ml tub and there was just about enough for the filling and top.
- Wash your fruit, and chop the strawberries into reasonably small chunks for the middle, and in halves for the top.
- Once the meringue is completely cool place it top down on another piece of baking paper, and gently peel off the baking paper. Spread some of the whipped cream and scatter the fruit. Use the baking paper to help as you roll it into a roulade.
- It will be tasty and can be left as it is, but if you want to be particularly indulgent then spread the remaining cream on top and cover with more fruit.
Not as complicated as you would imagine, happy eating!