Saturday, 30 June 2012

R is for... raspberry and Ricotta roulade, roasted rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet and raspberry coulis

Raspberry and Ricotta roulade, roasted rhubarb and rhubarb sorbet with raspberry coulis

You can't beat a meringue roulade. It's light, fluffy, sweet, moreish and really bloomin' easy. If you are one of the deluded masses who think these crisp, white pillows with marshmallow insides, are so fiendishly complicated that they should be left to top patisserie chefs, get your whisk out and have a rethink. Meringue is easy. So easy, in fact, that it's always my dinner party pudding of choice when I can't really be bothered to make anything else. I'll make a pavlova when I want to make something fast, but have time on my side and I make a meringue roulade when I want an easy dish that's quick to the plate. If you're scared of rolling a roulade because you've heard they take immense skill and years of practice, take a word of advice from me. Ignore the scaremongers, they're talking nonsense. If you can roll up a sleeping bag, you can roll up a roulade. It's just a bit smaller and stickier. Delicious results with almost no effort? Sounds like a win-win to me. 

Raspberry and Ricotta Roulade

Raspberry and Ricotta roulade with raspberry coulis

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan) and line a 9 x 12 roulade tin with baking parchment

4 large egg whites
200g/8oz caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Half a tub of Ricotta
Half a small pot of double or whipping cream
A punnet of fresh raspberries

Whisk the egg whites with the salt to stiff peaks. Keep whisking and gradually, a little at a time, add the sugar. You should be left with a stiff, glossy meringue. Spread the meringue out gently in the roulade tray and pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden and crisp on the outside. Leave to cool completely in the tin - it doesn't take long. Then lay out a big sheet of baking parchment and upturn the roulade on to it. Peel off the used baking parchment. 

Whip the cream and whisk in the Ricotta. Spread the Ricotta cream over the roulade and then scatter over the raspberries. Using the baking parchment to help you, roll it up. Transfer it to a serving dish and sift over some icing sugar. Slice to serve.

Raspberry Coulis

I know strawberries are big business right now, and the nation is going mad for the Wimbledon berry of choice, but strawberries are not the only fruit. I, for one, think a sweet but slightly sharp and juicy raspberry is hard to beat. 

A punnet of raspberries
Icing sugar to taste
A squeeze of lemon

Pulse the raspberries with the sugar and lemon and then pass the whole lot through a fine sieve. Taste for sweetness, adding more if required. Drizzle a generous slurp over each slice of roulade.

Roasted Rhubarb

Roasted rhubarb

I am a real sucker for a stick of rhubarb. Fragrant and tart, soft and yielding. I like a fruit that's not too jammy, something with an edge of mouth-puckering sourness to counter the sweetness. I know others find the tartness too much, but I was brought up on gooseberry fool, rhubarb crumble and blackcurrant tarts, and find that level of "picked from the garden" sharpness comforting and homely. Rhubarb needn't be confined solely to crumbles though, it makes a delicious accompaniment to pork and the forced rhubarb of winter is excellent for flavouring gin to make pretty pink presents for Christmas. 

Rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3" pieces
1-2 tbsp caster sugar
The scraped out seeds of a vanilla pod
The zest and juice of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan)

Mix all the ingredients together and roast for 20 - 25 minutes. Leave to cool before serving.

Rhubarb Sorbet

Rhubarb sorbet

This rhubarb sorbet hits the spot - sweet, tart and refreshing. It is a recipe from the brilliant David Everitt-Matthias' Essence, one of my all time favourite cook books. I wasn't entirely sure if the rhubarb and raspberries would be fighting for attention on the same plate, but I actually thought they complemented each other beautifully to make a really fresh, pretty pud'.

1 kilo rhubarb, finely chopped
250g caster
30ml liquid glucose
100ml water
1.5 leaves of gelatine
Lemon juice, if needed

Put the rhubarb in a bowl, sprinkle over the caster sugar and cover in cling film before popping it in the fridge to macerate overnight. Strain off the juices and reserve for later. Chuck the rhubarb in a saucepan with the liquid glucose and water and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.

Soak the gelatine in cold water to soften for about 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess and add to the hot rhubarb, stirring it until it's completely dissolved. transfer the rhubarb into a blender to purée. Add the rhubarb juices and blend again. Taste for acidity, adding a squeeze of lemon if needed. Strain through a fine sieve and leave to cool. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturers instructions before scooping it into a Tupperware box and popping in the freezer. Move the sorbet to the fridge 10 minutes before serving to soften it slightly.

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