Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rhubarb Roulade (Page 720)

  • Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Recipe Rating: B+

Like I said, I couldn't imagine having a birthday without a birthday cake, so I made myself this cake last night so that I could have a big slice of birthday cake today! I chose this one because I saw some rhubarb at the store the other day, and figured I better make this recipe while I could get my hands on that sometimes elusive vegetable. This cake was pretty good. It was a simple sponge cake, baked in a jelly roll pan, then covered in yummy rhubarb filling and rolled up. Once it was cool the whole thing got heavily sprinkled with some powdered sugar. The end result was beautiful when sliced and pretty tasty. The rhubarb filling didn't have quite as much flavor as I had expected. It may have benefited from a pinch of salt or two. The cake was light and spongy, as it should be, but also not terribly flavorful. More vanilla almost certainly would have improved it. All that said, it was a perfectly good birthday treat and I very much enjoyed the big slice I had with lunch!

Here is the recipe.

Making a roulade was one of the many techniques we were responsible for in culinary school. As I was making this I realized though that I had never made a dessert roulade. Roulades come in many varieties -- from this typical jelly-roll style roulade to Matambre (flank steak rolled around bacon and veggies) to Braciole (steak or pork wrapped around parmesan, etc...) to various types of sushi. So when in culinary school I needed to learn to make a roulade. It was clear to everyone involved (me, the chefs, my class...) that cake-baking was not my weakest area. Anything involving meat, however, was a big challenge for me at that time. So my roulade assignment was not a lovely rhubarb-filled jelly-roll, but rather one of the oddest and least appealing dishes I have ever made. Imagine this: instead of delicious cake, the outside of my roulade was sliced swordfish steaks. Instead of yummy rhubarb filling, the filling in my roulade was pureed white-fleshed fish, studded with chunks of shrimp. Sounds foul, no? Then the whole thing got rolled up and poached. Now, this was a terrible recipe. Even before I made it the chef admitted that it was not her favorite concoction. One problem was that it was very hard to get all the components to the right degree of doneness all together. Overcooked swordfish is gross, but so is raw shrimp! When the swordfish was perfectly poached we sliced it, only to find that the shrimp in the middle were still translucent. Ick. But we had already sliced it, so we did the only quick fix we could think of and broiled the slices under the salamander just until the shrimp cooked through. Doneness wasn't the only issue. It also just tasted bad! It sounds foul, and it was! I have had a certain skepticism about roulades ever since. When I took my first bite of this rhubarb roulade, I was shocked when it was actually quite tasty! Happy birthday to me!


Anonymous said...

Yeah! Happy birthday, and many more!

Teena said...