Has everyone been watching the new series of the Bake Off? It has to be the TV highlight of the Autumn. I love it. Even in its 5th series it is still essential viewing. Every now and then I think that I should apply, but as soon as I see the look of fear hit the contestants eyes when the technical challenge is announced I know I’m better on my couch then in the tent! I have so much admiration for the contestants for baking under the stress of TV cameras, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
So, instead of baking my first ever Swiss roll under the inscrutable eyes of the judges, I decided to do it at home and then tell you all about it. I think it went well! Swiss roll is really fun to make. I’ve made a chocolate roulade type thing once before but never just good old sponge and jam.
As I mentioned the other day, the recipe for this Swiss roll came from the Home Sweet Home cookbook but I added a couple of little twists. Firstly I added some ground up pistachios, I thought they would make great decoration but unfortunately I only had enough to use in the sponge. They added a little to the flavour and gave a denser texture to the sponge. The jam was really the selling point though – my mums homemade blackberry jam. I don’t know that I had ever tried blackberry jam before this season but it is delicious. Deep purple with bursts of still in tact blackberries, it’s not as super sweet as raspberry and strawberry can be. It really complimented the slightly savoury flavour of the pistachios.
The recipes calls for rolling up the swiss roll in a tea towel straight from the oven. All seemed to be going well until I unrolled it and the split straight in half! Luckily I was still able to roll it up using the jam as glue and hide the split on the bottom. No harm done!
The very light and rollable texture of Swiss roll comes from separating the eggs. Yolks are beaten with the sugar for flavour and richness and the whites are whipped to soft peaks to incorporate lots of air then folded in at the end.
Sifting the flour is key. You don’t want lumps of flour in your roll.
Mix looks a little stiff once the flour has been added but start by added a spoonful of egg white to loosen the batter before adding the rest.
I added my egg white in three stages to make things easier. As soon as there are no streaks of white egg you are done.
Baked and risen.
This is the scary part. Whilst the sponge is still warm use a tea towel to wrap it in to a roll. This SHOULD avoid cracking and make rolling easier once the sponge is cool.
Mine cracked. It wasn’t a major disaster though, I just slathered on the jam and rolled it up again hiding the crack underneath!
See, you’d never know.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 180g golden caster sugar, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 120g plain flour
- 20g ground pistachios (optional)
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- icing sugar for dusting
- blackberry jam (or whatever jam you like best)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 deg fan). Line a Swiss roll tin, about 30cm x 20cm, with greaseproof paper and set aside.
- In a mixer or with a whisk, beat the egg whites until they are at the stiff peak stage. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat together the egg yolks until pale in colour. Slowly add in the sugar and beat until light and the sugar has dissolved. Mix in the vanilla.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt (and pistachios if using). Fold in to the egg yolk mixture. The batter will seen quite thick at this point.
- Fold in a tablespoon of the egg whites to loosen the batter. Add the remaining egg whites in thirds and mix until just incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared tray and use a spatula to flatten. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden on top and springy to touch.
- Sprinkle a clean tea towel with caster sugar. Remove the sponge from the tray and invert on to the tea towel. Roll up with the tea towel tightly and allow to cool.
- Gentle unroll the cooled Swiss roll and spread a generous layer of jam over the sponge. Roll up with the seam (and any cracks) at the bottom.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve.
- The Swiss roll is best eaten the day it is made.