Christmas is a time of decadence and indulgence. Puddings lie at the very heart of this; so much so, that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them! Desserts form an integral part of the seasons’ rich culinary heritage, and on a low-carb diet, things are no different.
Traditional ‘festive fare’ must be hearty and plentiful. In this dish, rich flavours such as brandy & cocoa combine with fresh cream & dense ground-almonds to create a taste that’s the ultimate in luxury. The roulade-sponge has a ‘moreishly’ chewy texture, which is complimented perfectly by the smoothness of the cream filling. In short, the whole thing is delicious from start to finish!
Because there’s no sugar or flour in this dish; diabetics, gluten-intolerants and ketogenic-dieters needn’t miss out on the fun. They’ll be no impact to your blood-sugar, and those trying to lose weight needn’t deliberate before helping themselves. The keto-diet is an amazing thing – it’s hard to believe you can eat this and still slim down. Well take my word for it – you can!
To make the roulade base, separate 4 eggs, reserving the yolks for a future low-carb custard or delicious omelette. Tip the whites into a clean mixing-bowl and whisk with an electric-whisk unto they form delicious snowy clouds. These should be stiff enough to retain their shape when you turn the bowl upside down over your head! If not, have a quick shower and start again.
Slowly sprinkle in 8oz of xylitol granulated sweetener, whisking at intervals to incorporate it into the egg whites. This will leave you with a mix that’s robust, but has an opaque glossiness. Into this, fold 2oz of ground almonds, 1 small teaspoon of white-wine vinegar, and 1.5oz of cocoa powder. Why the vinegar? This leads to a lighter meringue, as the acid slows down coagulation of the egg-protein. What does that mean? The meringue structure is improved & collapses less slowly. This means you get more time to whisk in the air, and the the egg-white ‘supports’ the other ingredients better due to its increased strength. It really does make a difference. Trust me!
With a spatula, scoop the mix into a lined baking tray and flatten roughly, making sure the meringue gets into all the corners to give you a perfect rectangle. Put this into a medium oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the surface is slightly browned and feels ‘set’ to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool thoroughly to room temperature. If it’s not sufficiently cool, your cream will everywhere and that would be a waste of all your efforts!
Meanwhile, pour approximately 200ml of double-cream into a mixing-bowl and add a good glug of brandy. Sprinkle in two tablespoons of powdered table-sweetener and whisk until the cream is firm and spreadable. If you like, you can add a little finely grated orange zest, but that’s entirely a matter of preference.
Measure a piece of tin foil to just bigger than your roulade, place this over the top and invert the tray onto the foil, with an impressive ‘flip’. This is not for the faint-hearted! Do it in one go with a a staunch fortitude. If you fuss over it, or try to turn the dish slowly, there’s far more chance it will break or you’ll drop it. So have courage and do it in one! If anyone in the house has a drum, suggest they perform a drum-role whilst your psyching yourself up. It may help (it may not…!). Either way, you should end up with a neat rectangle on your tinfoil. Slowly peel off the back lining and you’re ready to spread your cream filling.
With a palette-knife, scrape on your brandy-cream and smooth it evenly across the surface. Then taking the back edge by each corner; roll the roulade towards you, folding the meringue onto itself inch by inch. With each fold, it’s best to press the roulade down slightly so that it sticks to itself. Eventually, you’ll end up with a fine ‘cigar-style’ swiss-roll. If there are cracks, do not worry, we’re icing the top so a little texture along the way can only add to its character. Transfer this to your serving-plate and pause to look on with pride.
In the same bowl you used to whip up your brandy cream, pour a further 100ml of double-cream into your bowl and add a tablespoon of powdered sweetener. Measure in the same quantity of cocoa-powder and whisk the lot, until you have a nice firm frosting. Spread this with your palette-knife across the top of the roulade, then sprinkle the top with flaked almonds and generous curls of orange zest.
In place of icing-sugar, a light dusting of powdered sweetener will add the final touch of festive cheer and magnificence. Voila – your roulade is ready for the table.
This dish is every bit as delicious as it looks. You’d never know it’s low carb! Be sure to keep reading for more festive recipes over the coming weeks! Check out The Low Carb Christmas for details.
Enjoy the festive season and thank you for reading,
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