Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lemon Curd Swiss Roll

The daffodils are starting to open and the evenings finally beginning to lengthen; I think that spring may have finally arrived. When I venture outdoors, I can hear the bleating of some of this year’s new-born lambs. It sounds clichéd but there is definitely an air of hope. I love this time of year and enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to cook dishes and prepare meals that reflect the freshness and vitality of the new season.
 
For me, there is something very spring-like about the taste of lemon and although lemons are available to buy all year round, they are at their peak, in terms of flavour, in late winter/early spring. I love the tangy freshness they impart to a whole range of dishes. I have spoken before about the seasoning properties of lemon juice and how a few squeezes can enliven the taste of many foods. I look upon lemons as an essential ingredient in the kitchen and always have a bowl-full of them to hand.
 
Given my great love for lemons, it is hardly surprising that I especially love lemon cakes and desserts. I regularly make lemon Victoria sponge cakes filled with homemade lemon curd and I am also partial to lemon mousses, soufflés, cheesecakes and of course lemon meringue pie. If the choice on a menu is between a lemon or chocolate dessert, I will always plump for the lemon option. Don’t misunderstand me… I also love anything that includes chocolate; it’s just that I prefer lemon.
 
This lemon swiss-roll recipe is loosely based on the recipe given in the wonderful Peyton & Byrne British Baking book, but as usual, I couldn’t resist tweaking the original slightly. In any event, if you are keen on baking, I strongly recommend that you try to get your hands on a copy of this book. Everything that I have made using the recipes contained within its pages tastes fabulous and has been devoured and much appreciated by the critics par excellence who are my friends and family. I have also made variations using bitter Seville oranges and pink grapefruit – but to be honest my favourite is this version.

The great thing about this recipe is that the swiss-roll can be served either as a tempting treat to have with a good cup of tea or a mug of coffee or as a dessert with a little extra whipped cream, if you like, served on the side. Either way, it is extremely tasty and something that I found irresistible.

Ingredients:

For preparing the swiss-roll tin:
A large knob of butter, melted
2tblsp self-raising flour for dusting the tin
For the swiss-roll:
3 large eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2tsp lemon juice
100g self-raising flour, sifted
For the filling:
150ml single cream, lightly whipped
150g lemon curd
Some icing sugar for dusting 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the base and side of a 32cm x 24cm swiss-roll tin and line with non-stick baking parchment. Brush a little more of the melted butter over the parchment and sprinkle with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.
3. Place the egg yolks and 140g of the caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and lemon zest together until they are a pale and creamy colour and have almost doubled in volume. Mix in the lemon juice and gently fold in the sifted flour. Set aside.
4. Clean, wash and thoroughly dry the whisk attachments from the hand-held electric mixer. Place the egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl and using the hand-held mixer, whisk them until they are starting to form gentle peaks. Add 35g caster sugar and mix for another minute of so until it is fully incorporated. This is your meringue.
5. Stir a couple of large tablespoons of the meringue into the egg-yolk mixture and mix through to loosen the mixture slightly. Add the rest of the meringue and fold in to the egg-yolk mixture trying to avoid knocking too much air out of the meringue. Once mixed, pour this batter into the prepared tin, smoothing out the mixture evenly (and gently) with an offset palette knife. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the cake has risen, feels springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow cool for about 5 minutes.
6. Turn the swiss-roll out onto clean cling-film which you have sprinkled with icing sugar. Carefully peel away the parchment paper and roll up the sponge from the short end, incorporating the cling film in each turn. Set aside to cool. When the sponge is completely cooled, carefully unroll it and spread the lemon curd evenly over it, followed by a layer of the cream. Use the cling film to help you roll out the swiss-roll again, but this time don’t allow any of it to become incorporated. Wrap in clean cling-film and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it.
7. When you are ready to serve the swiss-roll, carefully unwrap it from the cling-film and either sprinkle the top with some icing sugar or put 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon curd into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle and pipe in random stripes over the swiss-roll.
8. Serve cut into slices.

Serves 8-10.