Round and Round: a roll cake

As Christmas approaches, I just love to bake more and more festive desserts. Croquembouche, bouche de noel, roll cakes, Mont Blanc, I just love making festive things. So I figured, why not combine Mont Blanc and bouche de noel, and do a roll cake? I’ve been seeing a ton of chestnuts in the grocery store, and I wanted to feature two kinds, the brown ones often eaten in France, and the yellow ones eaten in Japan.

Makes 1 small roll cake, about 6-8 servings:
For the chestnut chiffon:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups light brown sugar
3 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/4 cup brown butter
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup roasted brown chestnuts, peeled and chopped

Whip egg whites with 1/2 cup brown sugar until stiff peaks form. Whip the egg yolks with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and stream in the brown butter slowly, until the egg yolks are whipped to ribbon stage. Sift the flours with baking powder and salt. Fold together the three mixtures and pour onto a lined sheet tray. Sprinkle on the roasted chestnuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes. Allow the cake to cool slightly before removing from the sheet tray and rolling lengthwise into a log(this part is the most integral in making a roll cake!). Allow the cake to continue cooling at room temperature like this while you work on your other garnishes.

For the chestnut cream:
1/2 cup roasted brown chestnuts, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons brown butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt

Simmer down the ingredients together until chestnuts are soft enough to break apart with a spoon. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth and creamy, passing through a sieve to remove any final lumps. Transfer then to a lined piping bag and place in the freezer until firm, 20-30 minutes.

For the Chantilly cream:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons syrup from the yellow Japanese chestnuts
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup roasted brown chestnuts, peeled and chopped

Whip heavy cream, syrup, and salt to stiff peaks. Carefully unroll the cake and spread on the cream, and sprinkle in the roasted chestnuts. Re-roll and allow the cake to sit in the refrigerator to continue setting.

To garnish:
Yellow Japanese chestnuts in syrup, syrup removed
Baked meringue

Once the cake is fully set, carefully unroll and cut off the ends. Pipe on the chestnut cream, and top with your yellow chestnuts. Grate a small piece of baked meringue over the top to finish the cake off. Slice the cake into individual pieces to finish.


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