My mom was not much of a baker. At our house, the year round cookies were chocolate chip (from the recipe on the bag of chips) and holidays meant decorated spritz cookies. Her cakes were from boxed mixes. (She still calls them “stupid cakes” because “any stupid fool can make one.”) That was pretty much her dessert repertoire. Mom did have one dessert that always wowed the crowd, Roulage Léontine, from Dione Lucas’s 1964 classic, The Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook. While I’ve updated the recipe and called it Chocolate Mocha Roulade, in my heart this is still the 1960’s-era dessert that my mom made when she really wanted to impress her dinner guests.
This post is, perhaps ironically (given that I celebrate Chanukah), part of Christmas Week. Be sure to enter the Christmas Week Giveaway for one of three Amazon Gift Cards for $500, $250, and $50! Details and a description of the event are at the end of this post.
The cookbook is organized as a set of menus. The roulage or roulade ( a more modern term) is part of Menu 27, which starts with an Omelette aux Fines Herbes, moves onto Poulet Majorca and Pommes de Terres Sauteé, and finishes with the roulage/roulade. The recommended wine for the meal was Portugese Lancers. Quite a throwback to be sure.
As I page through the book, I’m transported back to the days of Julia Child and the American fascination with classical Continental cuisine. In the intervening decades, Julia became an icon and Dione faded from our collective culinary consciousness. Still, I keep coming back to Dione and her roulage/roulade.
As to the recipe, I’ve toned the sweetness down by switching from sweet dark chocolate to a combination of bittersweet and semi-sweet, and by moving from a fairly sweet vanilla whipped cream to mocha filling. Still, it continues to be a glorious, flourless (gluten-free) fallen chocolate soufflé filled with flavored whipped cream.
Although Chocolate Mocha Roulade has more steps than most recipes on this blog, don’t be intimidated. With these tips and a can-do attitude, you’ll make an awesome holiday dessert.
How to turn eggs, chocolate, sugar, and whipping cream into an elegant, gluten-free Chocolate Mocha Roulade:
- Be organized. Mise en place (or everything in its place – setting out your ingredients beforehand and keeping the next step in mind as you move along) takes on new meaning when you are working with what is essentially a fallen chocolate soufflé.
- Tips on working with eggs. Start with cold eggs. They are easier to separate than room temperature ones. However, the warmer egg whites whip up better. So separate the eggs soon after taking them out of the refrigerator. Let the whites warm up while you work with the yolks and chocolate. When you separate each egg, let the white drip into a small container. Do not allow any yolk to get into the white. Pour that white into the larger bowl of whites. (Even a drop of yolk in the whites will prevent them from whipping.)
- Don’t overbeat. Be gentle as you whip the egg whites and cream. Resist the urge to overdo it. An extra minute of beating “just to be sure” can decimate fluffy egg whites or turn whipped cream practically into butter. The same goes for folding the egg whites and the chocolate. A few soft sweeps that melds the two almost-but-not-completely is better than a vigorous mixing that deflates the air you have so carefully whipped into the egg whites.
- Keep track of time. The chocolate soufflé should not be over-baked and needs the specified resting time (under paper towels) to remain moist for rolling. These steps take less than 45 minutes, but are essential. (You may notice that my roll is less than perfect. I attribute that to time spent futzing around with my camera during this critical period. Oh well, do as I say, not as I do in this case.)
- Be brave. As you flip the fallen chocolate soufflé and roll it, the operative words are “don’t hesitate.” Take a deep breath and just do it. If it doesn’t roll perfectly, sift a bit of cocoa over the cracks, then close your eyes and taste.
Welcome to Day 6 of Christmas Week. This annual event was started in 2012, and is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. This year we have over 35 bloggers sharing festive sweet recipes for the event. Plus we all chipped in for a huge Amazon Gift Card Giveaway so be sure to enter!
Recipes from Day 6 of Christmas Week! Please visit all our talented participants:
Red Velvet Swirl Fudge from Cravings of a Lunatic
Christmas Wreath Cupcakes from The Redhead Baker
Gingerbread Sugared Almonds from Crumb: A Food Blog
Fresh Cranberry Mini Scones from Farm Fresh Feasts
Chocolate Praline Pretzels from Food Lust People Love
Cranberry Tangerine Mojito from Mind Over Batter
Creamy Espresso Hot Chocolate from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Gingerbread Cookie Bars from From Gate to Plate
Stained Glass Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Macadamia Coconut Macaroons from Aloha Flavor
Peppermint Popcorn from Poet in the Pantry
Mexican Chocolate Panna Cotta from Cooking in Stilettos
Peppermint Mocha Truffles from Try Anything Once Culinary
Chocolate Mocha Roulade from Mother Would Know