Posts tagged ‘baking recipes’

Mont Blanc roulade 1

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Apparently created at the time of the Duchy of Savoy, Mont Blanc (the dessert) is a little cone of chestnut cream vermicelli and crème Chantilly over a base of meringue, inspired by the shape and colour of Mont Blanc (the Alpine mountain). As if the idea of a snow-capped peak were not wintery enough, I though that the earthy chestnut and fluffy meringue flavours of the Mont Blanc would make a lovely Christmas log. Enter the sugar-capped Mont Blanc meringue roulade with chestnut and whipped cream filling. Is there anything more Christmassy than that?

Although Christmas is all about indulgence, you do not want to use too much sugar in this recipe. The sugar in the meringue and the one used to make chestnut spread will be enough as sweeteners, so you won’t need to add more sugar to the chestnut filling or the whipped cream.

Chestnut puree and whole roasted and peeled chestnuts are generally available in supermarkets and health shops in the UK around Christmas, as they are used for stuffing and soups. If you cannot find chestnut puree you can make it by blending roasted and peeled chestnut, adding a little water if necessary. Chestnut spread (crème de marrons), made with sugar and vanilla, may be more difficult to find in small supermarkets, but it is easily available online. The original Mont Blanc recipe calls for some rum to give a deeper note to the chestnuts. If you don’t have it, you can use some whiskey cream or just skip the alcohol.

If you have never made meringue before, have a look at my post on French meringue for some basic tips. Compared to a classic dry meringue, a meringue roulade needs more sugar for elasticity and it is baked at a higher temperature. The rolling needs a firm hand: here’s how Baking Queen Mary Berry does it.


PS: The lovely golden birds on the photos are by Danish designer Jette Frölich.


Mont Blanc roulade 4

Ingredients (for 10 slices)

For the roulade

  • 5 egg whites
  • 275g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

For the chestnut filling

  • 400g unsweetened chestnut puree
  • 400g chestnut spread (crème de marrons)
  • 150g whole roasted and peeled chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons rum (optional)

300ml fresh double cream

Icing sugar, for dusting

Mont Blanc roulade 2


How to make it

1. Pre-heat the oven 200°C/180°Fan/Gas 6. Line a large swiss roll tin (about 37×27 cm) with greased non-stick baking paper (note: this last step is not necessary if you are using a silicon tray).

2. In a squeaky clean, large bowl, start whisking 5 egg whites with an electric mixer on full speed. When they get foamy, add ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. Keep whisking and gradually add 275g caster sugar, one spoonful at a time: one third at the soft peaks stage; another third at the firm peaks stage; and the last third at the stiff peaks stage. Whisk until very, very stiff and glossy.

3. Spread the meringue mixture into the prepared tin in a uniform layer. Place the tin in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 8 minutes until very golden. Then lower the temperature to 160°/140°Fan/Gas 3 and bake for a further 15 minutes until crisp and firm to the touch.

4. Remove the meringue from the oven and turn it upside down on to a clean towel or a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Remove the paper from the base of the cooked meringue and allow to cool completely.

5. While the meringue cools down, prepare the chestnut filling by mixing 400g chestnut puree, 400g chestnut spread, 150g whole roasted and peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped, and 2 tablespoons of rum (optional).

6. Whip 300ml fresh double cream.

7. Spread evenly the chestnut filling and then the whipped cream over the meringue.

8. To form a roulade, roll up the meringue firmly from the long end, using the towel or baking paper to help you. Make sure to keep the roll very tight.

9. Wrap in non-stick baking paper or foil and chill before serving. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Mont Blanc roulade 3


Soda bread web 3
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I love The Great British Bake Off (who doesn’t?). So I was very excited to be one of the production guests in this week’s An Extra Slice. Week three is bread week, so I had to bake a loaf – not just a normal one, one good enough to be on TV!

Despite the pressure, however, this girl is not for novelty shapes and bright colours, no matter what. I went for simple, elegant rosemary soda bread, decorated with a sunflower carving.

Soda bread is a quick bread. Unlike other types of bread, it does not include yeast and does not need proving. It does not need kneading either; in fact, kneading can make the final loaf quite heavy, so try handling it as little as possible. Without yeast and without proving, soda bread rises in the oven, thanks to the reaction between bicarbonate of soda (which is alkaline) and buttermilk (which is acidic).

The traditional deep cuts help the heat to get to the middle and the loaf to bake evenly. Carving a stylised flower shape on the top, rather than the usual cross, is a way to make the final result prettier and more personal.

As a homage to The Great British Bake Off, this recipe is based on Paul Hollywood’s. This version includes rosemary, but you can try other flavours (mint, feta cheese and beetroot is Ben’s favourite).

Soda bread web 1


Ingredients (for one loaf)

400ml buttermilk
250g wholemeal flour
250g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
20g fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt

How to make it

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix 250g wholemeal flour, 250g plain white flour, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add 20g fresh rosemary, finely chopped, and mix again.
  3. Stir in 400ml buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape it quickly into a loaf. Do not knead it, or the bread will be heavy.
  4. Put the dough on the baking tray. With deep cuts through the dough, carve a flower or your favourite shape on the top. Dust with a little white plain flour.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is cooked through – it should be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Leave it to cool on a wire rack.


Soda bread web 2

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Before starting: ingredients

All-in-one cakes

Creamed cakes


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Biscuits and small bakes


Savoury bakes

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