My no 2 son is 10, and is the only one of my three children genuinely interested in food and cooking. This is gloriously inspiring, as he wants to taste new things, try new combinations and make complicated things himself. We are really enjoying Australian Junior Masterchef at the moment, and he is desperate to take part.
Yesterday as it is half term, we had time to do something quite elaborate.
A flourless roulade quite a tough call even for experienced cooks, but before we knew where we were, he was separating eggs and wielding the electric beaters.
Here is the recipe. I made some chestnut jam for him by cooking one of those rather tasteless tins of whole chestnuts with sugar and vanilla. But he did the rest.
For the roulade:
Heat the oven to 180 C Gas Mark 4. Line a swiss roll tin with baking paper.
150g plain dark chocolate
3 tbspn hot water or coffee
Caster sugar to finish
Pour the hot coffee or water over the broken up chocolate and microwave for about 40 secs to melt. Stir until smooth. Separate the eggs, and beat the yolks with the sugar until thick and pale yellow. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff and glossy.
Add the egg mixture to the chocolate, and beat, then fold the egg whites in carefully trying not to knock out the air. Pour the mixture into the tin, and tap gently on the surface to flatten. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, pressing the centre with your finger to check it is cooked. It should bounce gently back.
Take out of the oven, and leave to cool in the tin. then turn out gently onto a piece of baking paper that you have strewn with either caster sugar or icing sugar. Peel off the baking paper from the tin and trim any harder edges with a sharp knife.
We beat some of the chestnut jam into cream until thick and used that for a filling, but you could just use plain cream, or all a layer of raspberries.
Spread your filling over the roulade and begin carefully to roll up, using the paper to help you. Then wrap the paper right round the roulade firmly and put it in the fridge to set properly. To serve, slice and lay on a plate. We did a bit of sprinkling with cocoa and icing sugar, but a raspberry coulis would be nice too.
Junior Masterchef here he comes!