The Hairy Bikers' Mediterranean Adventure
In southern France, near the border with Spain, we met Christine and Fabrice who grow wonderful cherries and apricots in their orchards near Céret. We cooked some great jam with them and then used it to make this traditional cake, which is like a Catalan version of a Swiss roll. It’s just what you need after a hard day picking fruit.
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You Will Need
First make the crème patissière. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla pod. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat and leave the milk to infuse until it’s back to room temperature.
Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until well combined and starting to turn pale, then whisk in the cornflour. Reheat the milk, then transfer it to a jug, discarding the vanilla pod. Rinse out the saucepan. Pour the milk into the egg and sugar mixture from a height, whisking constantly, then tip it back into the saucepan.
Add the alcohol and the almond extract, then stir over a low to medium heat until thickened. Transfer it to a bowl and cover with cling film, making sure the cling film sits on top of the surface of the crème patissière to stop it from forming a skin. When
the mixture has cooled down, put it in the fridge to chill.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Line a 30 x 20cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper.
For the sponge, sift the flour, ground almonds and baking powder into a bowl.
Add a pinch of salt. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl with an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale with an aerated, mousse-like texture – if you pull the whisk across the mixture it should leave a ribbon trail. Add the almond extract and the Grand Marnier or other eau de vie.
Add the flour and almond mixture to the bowl with the eggs and sugar and fold in very gently but thoroughly with a metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread with a palette knife to make sure it is even. Bake for 10–12 minutes until
lightly browned and springy to the touch. Remove the sponge from the oven and turn it out on to a rack. Peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
To assemble, transfer the sponge to a lightly moistened tea towel. Spread over the jam, then top with the crème patissière. Spread it evenly with a palette knife, leaving a wide (at least 5cm) border along the top (the filling will spill over otherwise) and a narrower one (2cm) on each side.
Carefully roll the sponge up from the bottom, pulling it up and over to try to stop the filling falling out. Don’t worry if the sponge cracks a little. Sprinkle with icing sugar and the toasted almonds.