I visited my family in South Carolina recently. Anyone who has read my Carrot Cake post will already know that I didn’t go back for the food. I love my family, bless their hearts, but that inherited knack for “Southern cooking” never dipped its toe into my gene pool.
After two days of eating bad take-out fried chicken and a weird “strawberry-jello pie” (thanks, Nanny) with family, I ran away to find some good food.
My own limited talent for cooking was born solely from exposure, exploration and experimentation. My first taste of tiramisu, for instance, was in Greenville on a date at Trattoria Giorgio. I don’t remember the date, but I still remember the dessert. My love affair with food has been the longest relationship of my life…
I ran away on Sunday morning – that’s Brunch Day in the South – and headed downtown. Greenville has become so charming in the last 10 years or so… outdoor cafes defy the heat by settling in around old growth oaks whose roots crack the sidewalks. Southerners sip Bloody Marys and Mimosas under the shade umbrellas, fanning themselves with menus. I can’t help but feel a little like an outsider now, having settled so far away. I listened to the melodious buzz of Southern voices surrounding me and I felt my accent turn up a notch.
The brunch buffet was comforting, but it didn’t amaze me. Actually, the gravy and biscuits might have been out-of-this-world, but I’m an odd-bird Southerner who doesn’t eat pork so I had to skip the sausage gravy. I just had a croissant, some fruit, and a coffee but I was happy enough. It wasn’t until I went back for dessert that I was “tickled pink”, as they say.
On this particular Sunday, Soby’s Raspberry Roulade was my lifesaver. After my fried meat overdose, this light and airy treat reminded me of all that is right with the South. It was subtle, with just a bite of tart. Yielding and sharp. I could have eaten the whole thing. I relished it. I analyzed it. I made plans to recreate it. The one thing I neglected to do was take a picture of it.
It was dusted with a crisp sugar coating (was it vanilla sugar?). It was filled with whipped cream (was it chantilly?) and raspberry (was it jam?). I’ve been thinking about this roulade for almost 3 weeks now. It’s time to do something.
I’ll be combining several simple recipes to see if I can recreate this remarkable roulade, or at least come close. But, first, one thing I swear to you – no jello.
- 20 g butter to grease the pan
- 125 g flour, sifted (Softasilk)
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 125 g superfine sugar
- 30 g melted butter, cooled
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 11 x 14 shallow baking pan.
Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a bowl for about 10-12 minutes until the mix trails in ribbons. Dust with flour and gently fold to incorporate. Be sure to mix thoroughly without over mixing. Lastly, gently incorporate the melted butter.
Set the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then flip the cake out. The crust of my cake was crispy and delicious but I was concerned about this cake’s ability to roll without cracking. Using a long, serrated knife, I sliced off the thin bottom layer to make it more malleable.
I used a raspberry fruit spread for the filling. From what I could tell in the store, this spread looked to have fewer seeds than the others.
Next, Chantilly cream.
- 500 ml heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 50 g confectioner’s sugar
Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the cream. Put the cream in a chilled metal bowl with the sugar and whip with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes at medium speed. Increase to high speed and whip until a ribbon consistency is achieved.
Layer the cream on the raspberry filling. Spread evenly with a palate knife.
Transfer to waxed or parchment paper and trim what will be your inside edge.
I rolled from the short edge, but I have seen roulades rolled from the long edge as well. I don’t know which is best. Obviously, rolling from the long side will give you a longer roll, but smaller slices. I went for shorter and thicker.
Fold the parchment over the roll and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
After the roulade has set, place on a cutting board and peel away the wrap. With a clean, serrated knife, trim the two ends to reveal clean edges.
I dusted the top with vanilla sugar and toasted it lightly with a torch for a slightly crispy texture. Cut into slices with a serrated knife (wiping clean after each cut), and serve with fresh berries.
Bon appetit, ya’ll.