Tuesday, December 20, 2005

a tale of two roulades

I made two roulades this weekend.

(Sorry about the crappy cell phone photo...)

I've only made a roulade once before, years ago, from an otherwise pretty bad vegetarian cookbook. But it was time to do so again. A roulade is just a souffle, baked flat on a baking sheet, allowed to cool, then covered with a filling, rolled up and sliced. (A souffle is a baked dish that's made fluffy with beaten egg whites.) As you can make both savory and sweet souffles, you can make both savory and sweet roulades.

The first roulade (right) was from a very good vegetarian cookbook, Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Here's the basic idea. Make a souffle batter with egg yolks, milk, and parmesan cheese, then fold in egg whites beaten to stiff peaks and bake 15 minutes in a hot oven. Let cool. Put some saffron in a bit of boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes, then add mayonaisse and stir. Roast and peel some red peppers. Put the saffron mayo and red peppers on the fallen souffle sheet and roll up tightly. Serve at room temperature with a simple tomato sauce. It wasn't bad, although it could have been better. There was too much mayo, not enough red peppers, and the tomato sauce was uninspiring. Ah, well, it looked good though...

The second roulade (left) was from the New Joy of Cooking. It was actually a bit simpler. Make a souffle batter with egg yolks, melted chocolate, and a bit of coffee. Fold in egg whites and bake, then let cool. Make whipped cream for the filling. Roll up, chill, and slice. I then made a clear syrup by boiling together sugar, a bit of corn starch, clear vanilla, and water, until it was getting thick. You can't see the syrup in the picture, but it adds a bit of extra sweetness and vanilla flavor. Again, pretty good, but it could have been better. The recipe called for 6 oz of bittersweet chocolate and 3/4 c sugar. I used 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate and 1 c sugar. The sugar amount was fine, but it probably could have used 4 oz of chocolate, as it wasn't as dark and rich as I'd hoped. It also looked good, though!

And I just ran across the reason why you're supposed to add cream of tartar to eggs when you beat them. Cream of tartar is acidic, and the acid helps the eggs stay whipped and not fall. You can also use a little bit of lemon juice or vinegar, but you'll taste them in the end, which might be a problem for some things. I didn't use any acid, and my eggs turned out fine, but I was using a stand mixer, which probably is better at mixing in air than a hand whisk or mixer would be. Who knows.

In any case, I liked making the roulades. They're relatively easy, they look impressive, and there's lots of things you can do with them.


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