28 February 2012

Hazelnut Mocha Roulade

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Coo-coo for hazelnuts?  I am.

Roulades, Le Gateau Roulé, Swiss Rolls or whatever you want to call them, are easy and totally underutilized if you ask me.  Bake a thin, rectangle cake, slather it with something yummy, roll it up, glaze it or simply dust it with powdered sugar, slice and chow down.  The combinations are limitless.  I'm definitely going to add a few of these to the Fresh from the oven menu this year.

Haselnussrouladen mit Mokkacreme--this version comes from the Rick Rodgers Kaffeehaus book, of course.  It's an airy hazelnut sponge cake filled with an espresso flavored chocolate ganache garnished with whole hazelnuts.

The most challenging part of this recipe is getting the skins off the hazelnuts (blanching) after they've been toasted.  Just understand that some of the skin will always remain.  It's maddening, but true.  Funny how I know this, but still refuse to accept it when the nuts aren't perfectly naked.

I know of 3 ways to "blanch" hazelnuts:

1)  Toast them in a 350 degree oven until they almost look overdone.  The skins really protect them so it can take a bit to get the flesh golden.  Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel, cover them and wait a few minutes so they can steam a little, then rub them like crazy until the skins flake away from the nut.

2)  Toast them just like in method #1, transfer them to a fine mesh strainer suspended over a bowl or the sink to catch the skins and rub the nuts against the mesh to remove the skins.  I usually resort to this method for those stubborn hazelnuts that keep their coats on even after the towel treatment.

3)  This involves 2 quarts of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.  Bring the mixture to a boil, add the nuts, leave them for 5 minutes then drain them in a colander.  Rinse them with cool water and peel.  Once the skins are removed, toast the nuts in the oven until brown.  Don't panic or get creeped-out when the water turns black.  That's supposed to happen.  This isn't my preferred method because the nuts never seem to totally dry out afterward and I rarely plan far enough ahead to give the nuts adequate time to dry before I need them.  It does work though.

Now on to the cake.

What Happened:
Easy enough to put together.  In fact, you can get the cake mixed and baked inside of 25 minutes.  While the cake roll cools, whip up the mocha ganache.  By the time you finish that, the cake should be cool and you can unroll, slather and re-roll.

Things I Would Change:
I like a variety of texture in my desserts.  As written, this is a one-texture cake.  The one whole hazelnut on top of each slice isn't enough for me.  Not enough hazelnuttiness or crunch.
  • I suggest adding 1/2 cup of chopped toasted hazelnuts to be sprinkled over the whipped ganache before it's rolled up inside the cake.  I like the idea of boosting the nut flavor and it should add some texture too.
  • Use a combo of milk and dark chocolate for the ganache.  I think using only the darker chocolate let the ganache overpower the subtle hazelnut flavor.
There are other things you can do too, from glazing the roll with chocolate and finishing with a sprinkle of hazelnut, to skipping the ganache altogether and just filling with a hazelnut whipped cream.  Just let your love of hazelnut guide you!!

The Results:
Yummy deliciousness plain and simple which is just the way I like it.

Hazelnut Mocha Roulade
adapted from Rick Rodgers Kaffeehaus
serves 10

½ c    hazelnuts, peeled & toasted
½ c    cake flour
pinch  salt
6        eggs, room temp
2/3 c  sugar
3 T     vegetable oil
          powdered sugar for garnish

1 ½ c  cream
2 t       espresso powder dissolved in 1 T boiling water
2T       powdered sugar
3 oz    semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz    milk chocolate, finely chopped
½ c     toasted, peeled hazelnuts, chopped (optional)

          toasted and peeled hazelnuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (rack in center).

Butter a jelly roll pan, line bottom with parchment, coat with flour and tap out excess.

In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts, flour and salt until nuts are finely ground almost to a powder.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in mixer bowl. Place over a bowl of simmering water, whisk until eggs are warm to the touch & sugar is dissolved.

Attach bowl with eggs to a stand mixer and beat with whisk on med-high until the mixture is very light and tripled in volume (3 mins). In 2 additions, fold in the nut mixture.

Transfer a large dollop of batter to a medium bowl and whisk in the oil. Fold this mixture into the batter. Pour into the pan and smooth with a spatula.

Bake until the cake springs back – about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to release.

Sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake (to prevent sticking). Place a clean towel (or parchment paper) over the cake. Invert the cake onto a large wire rack to unmold.

Carefully peel off the baked on parchment. Using the towel (parchment sheet) as an aide, roll the cake, starting at a long end, into a thick cylinder. Wrap the cake in the towel (paper) and cool completely on the rack.

Bring cream to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the dissolved espresso and the powdered sugar. Pour hot cream over chocolate, let stand then whisk until the chocolate is smooth.

Place mocha cream in an ice bath, stirring occasionally until cold but not set. Using a handheld mixer with the bowl still in ice, beat the mocha cream on medium speed just until fluffy and stiff enough to spread.

Transfer 1/2 c cream to a pastry bag fitted with open star tip. Unroll the cake, spread remaining cream on the cake leaving ½-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle nuts over the cream (if using). Roll up the cake, sift powdered sugar over the roll to cover cracks.

Pipe a rotating spiral of the whipped ganache along the center of the roulade. Place whole hazelnuts in the resulting rosettes. Refrigerate to set.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds lovely. Thanks for posting up this recipe.