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June 3, 2011 10:11 pm

Swish roll

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Fruit and chocolate combinations are often a bad idea but Roulé Marquise is the best exception
Roulé Marquise, a Swiss roll with raspberries and cream

Roulé Marquise, a Swiss roll with raspberries and cream

It is often maintained that fruit and chocolate combinations are a bad idea. Of course, white chocolate does not count because it tends to go well with fruit, it is not really chocolate at all and you can eat it with marmalade for all I care. But chocolate and orange can also work quite well – we all like Jaffa Cakes, and then there are “Pamelas”, little strips of candied grapefruit peel dipped in dark chocolate and served with coffee.

Rules are made to be broken and the fruit and chocolate one begins to look decidedly fragile. There are too many exceptions. Black Forest gâteau, when made properly and laden with cherries and Kirschwasser, can be sublime but the best exception of all is the Roulé Marquise, a chocolate Swiss roll filled with cream and raspberries. I can remember telling one chef about it and his recoiling in horror: an understandable response. Somebody must like chocolates filled with “raspberry cream”, but I could never understand such a bizarre taste.

Part of the secret of the Roulé Marquise is that it is made with no flour apart from a tiny amount of fécule – potato flour and thus gluten-free – to keep the thing together. It relies only on cocoa powder for its chocolate content. The result is an exceptionally light sponge which is then rolled up with whipped cream studded with raspberries. The lightness of the cake is a brilliant foil to the raspberries. I learnt to make it 30 years ago when I worked at Le Gavroche. Since Albert Roux would never sell a cake that was a day old, the staff got to know the cake well.

Whatever Albert’s precepts, I always thought the cake improved on the second day and would recommend making it in advance for a dinner party, as long as it is kept in the fridge.

Rowley Leigh is the chef at Le Café Anglais


Rowley’s drinking choice

High sugar levels are required to cope with both fruit and chocolate but complexity is not required. A Muscat de Beaumes de Venise or a Muscat de Rivesaltes would be perfect.


Roulé Marquise

Not difficult to make but a certain deft touch is required when turning and rolling the sponge. It is important to take it out of the oven when it is just cooked and not a moment after. Serves at least eight.


4 egg whites

4 egg yolks

125g icing sugar

50g cocoa powder

15g fécule (potato flour)

250ml double cream

3 punnets raspberries

150g redcurrant jelly or raspberry jam

Framboise eau de vie or Grand Marnier (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190C (375 F, Mark 5). Line a large flat baking tray (approximately 350mm x 250mm) with buttered greaseproof paper. Sieve the icing sugar and put half in the bowl of an electric mixer with the egg yolks. Whisk these until they puff up and become very pale. Pour this mixture into another bowl and proceed to whisk the egg whites to a stiff meringue. Fold the two mixtures together. Sieve the fécule and the cocoa powder and sprinkle over and then fold into the mixture.

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet, using a spatula to make sure it is evenly covered. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake is just set. It should be just firm to the touch but not springy and a skewer should come out still slightly moist. Remove from the oven and here comes the tricky bit: the cautious should cover the cake with a clean dishcloth, cover this with another baking tray and turn the two over: you then simply lift away the tray and then peel off the greaseproof paper. The more ambitious simply lift up the baking sheet at the corners and, with a deft flick, upturn the cake on to the cloth. Take your pick: you should end up with a great rectangle of perfectly moist chocolate sponge.

Melt the jelly or jam with a little water. Add the eau de vie and proceed to brush this mixture all over the surface of the sponge. Whip the cream so it will just hold in firm peaks and spread this mixture over the cake leaving a 3cm border all the way round. Spread three-quarters of the raspberries throughout the cream, trying to distribute them evenly. Tricky bit part two: with the long edge of the cake nearest to you, roll up the cake away from you into a Swiss roll. This is best done by folding over the first little bit and then pulling tight the two ends of the cloth and then lifting them up and away from you until the roll is completed.

Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour, cut in slices and serve with the remaining raspberries and some Melba sauce.


Melba sauce

There are more complicated ways of making Melba sauce but I find this simple system works well.

1 punnet of raspberries

2 tablespoons of sugar

Juice of a lemon

Put the raspberries in a bowl, toss them in the sugar and add the lemon juice.

Leave the mixture for half an hour or more and push the result through a sieve.

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