coffee & blackcurrant roulade

Coffee & Blackcurrant Roulade

This is one of those desserts that cause a hush to settle over the table, broken only by the clinking of cutlery on plates as each person tries to scrape up every last blackcurrant and drop of thick cream.  Coffee and blackcurrant are unlikely but perfect partners, sharing a dark fruitiness and depth.

Another, even easier version of this dessert would be to serve it as an affogato.  Make a firmer meringue, using ground instant coffee folded into the meringue mix instead of espresso, bake in generous heaps in a low oven and then crush into small bowls with spoonfuls of soft blackcurrants, a mound of ice cream, and a drizzling of steaming hot espresso over the lot.

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4 large egg whites
200g caster or soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp very strong espresso, cooled

200g blackcurrants
50g caster or granulated sugar
300ml double cream

50g icing sugar

1   Line a large roasting dish or deep baking tray with greaseproof paper.  Preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan).

2   In a very clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites just until they’re completely foamy and hold in mounds as the whisk is lifted out.   Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking thoroughly between each addition.  Adding the sugar all at once or before the previous addition has been incorporated may cause the meringue to collapse, so do be patient here.

3   Once all the sugar has been added keep whisking.  You’ll feel the meringue become thicker, you’ll see it grow glossy and smooth, but don’t stop until the point when, as you slowly lift your whisk away from the meringue,  the mixture holds in a firm, well-defined, straight peak.  At this point you can very, very gently fold in the coffee – the mixture will deflate a little, but never mind – and spoon into the line tin, gently smoothing the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.

4   While the meringue is baking, heat the blackcurrants in a saucepan over a low heat with the sugar, just until the sugar has dissolved and the blackcurrants begin to release their juices.  Set aside to cool.  Whip the cream until very thick but not too firm.

5   Once the meringue is baked, sprinkle the remaining sugar onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and turn the meringue out onto it so that it’s upside-down.  Peel the paper off of the underside of the meringue and let cool.  Once cool, spread with the cream and spoon over the blackcurrants.  Roll up, starting from one of the short edges.  Don’t worry if the meringue cracks or it some of the cream and blackcurrant juice oozes out – this is a beautiful dessert but not one to get precious over.

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