A Swiss roll tin is an incredibly useful little baking tin. The last thing I use it for is making Swiss roll but the name immediately conjures up its shape, size and depth (approximately 30 × 20 × 2cm deep). I have several, of various grades of aluminium and quality of non-stick coating. My favourite is made of anodized aluminium without a non-stick coating and that is ageing the best. As I tend to line it with foil whenever I’m roasting vegetables and with parchment if I’m baking, the non-stick aspect is irrelevant. I like the fact that it is so strong there is no risk of buckling even at very high temperatures.
Here’s an impressively delicious way of serving strawberries and cream rolled up in soft, springy meringue. Making it is great fun, a tad messy but quite magical. The meringue billows like a goose-down pillow during its brief high-temperature baking but quickly deflates as it cools, ending up like a pale puffy bath mat.
Once cooled, the meringue is spread with whipped cream stirred with chopped strawberries and then the fun begins. To make the rolling easier, the meringue is turned out on to a tea towel, avoiding the need to touch the squishy plump roll. It doesn’t matter how messy the result is because it can be tidied up by pushing extra strawberries into the ends. It’s served with a thick, smooth cooked strawberry sauce to swirl over the slices. This sort of meringue is silky soft and vaguely creamy, so quite different in taste and texture to crisp meringue nests or chewy pavlova. For the perfect summer meal, use the leftover yolks to make hollandaise sauce to serve with poached salmon and asparagus.
4 large egg whites
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar
300ml whipping cream
800g British strawberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
Line a Swiss roll tin about 30 × 20cm with baking parchment, leaving a 1cm collar. Spread the bouncy meringue smooth and even to the edge.
Bake for 8 minutes, until bouffant and lightly golden. Dust the surface of the deflating meringue with sifted icing sugar. Lay a clean tea towel over the top and deftly invert. Carefully remove the baking parchment and leave to cool.
Heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, using a scrupulously clean electric whisk and bowl. Mix together the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla. With the machine running, add 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time, adding the cornflour mix halfway through, until the mixture is glossy and stiff.
Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Set aside 8 perfect strawberries. Hull the rest. Halve half the berries and briefly soften in a pan over a low heat with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and the lime juice. Blitz, then pass through a sieve to catch the pips into a jug to cool. Chop the other half and fold into the cream.
Spread the strawberry-laced cream over the cooled meringue and use the tea towel to help roll the meringue forward, ending with the seam underneath. Use a metal spatula to carefully lift it on to a platter. Halve the perfect fruit and decorate the ends of the roulade.
Serve in thick slices, with a swirl of sauce.
Photograph by Chris Terry (c) Lindsey Bareham
(from her book The Trifle Bowl and Other Tales,
published by Bantan Press)
(c) Lindsey Bareham