At this time of year, many homes will be hosting communion or confirmation celebration parties. There certainly are an increasing amount of families now favouring to have a get together at home, as opposed to taking it to a hotel or restaurant. Entertaining for a crowd can be quite taxing, on the home cook, but with some well-chosen dishes, the stress shouldn't arise from the food side of it. As a rule, if I'm entertaining a crowd, I try to avoid any cooking after the guests have arrived, so anything that I'm serving will be ready from the night before. I generally go for two main dishes, mostly sticking to the beef or chicken scenario. Most curries, stews or lasagnes benefit greatly from sitting in the fridge overnight, making them a perfect choice for this sort of gathering. I find it nice to have some nibbles ready for when my guests arrive. A few bowls of olives, cheese, bread sticks and hummus will take the hunger pangs away from guests and gives an extra few minutes to preparing the feast. When it comes to dessert, most children will be very content with a bowl of ice-cream but, for a special occasion, a couple of luscious treats will give an ideal finish to any family party. A meringue roulade is one dessert that is very easy to make but it looks so impressive and tastes really fantastic. The meringue base can be made the day before, then assembled and refrigerated a few hours before serving. I like the combination of the tangy lemon curd and raspberries with the sweet meringue & cream but any soft fruit would work beautifully here.
|Here's Jack testing if the meringue is ready for the oven. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down, without the meringue moving!|
|This is a nice, easy dessert for the children to help make.|
Lemon Curd & Raspberry Meringue Roulade
4 egg whites
225g (8oz) caster sugar
For the filling
150mls (5fl oz) cream, lightly whipped
125g (4oz) fresh raspberries
2 tbsp lemon curd
Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C(fan)/390°F/gas mark 6. Line a Swiss roll tin with grease proof paper, folding over the sides of the tin. Brush lightly with vegetable oil.
- Place the egg whites in the spotlessly clean bowl of an electric food mixer or you could use a large bowl and a hand whisker. Whisk until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar all in one go (but if using a hand-held beater add the sugar in stages) and whisk at full speed for about 4–5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Smooth the meringue into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until faintly browned and firm to the touch.
- Allow the meringue to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a sheet of foil (slightly bigger than the roulade) and gently remove the foil from the base of the meringue. Allow to cool completely.
- For the filling, lightly whip the cream.
- Spread the lemon curd evenly over the meringue. Top with a layer of cream, leaving the long edge nearest to you free of a little filling. Cover the lemon curd and cream with the raspberries.
- Holding the foil closest to you, roll up the roulade away from you. Really you are just folding it over. Refrigerate and leave it in the foil until you are ready to serve.
- Just before serving, unwrap the roulade and gently push it onto a serving dish using a palette knife or cake slice, open side down. Dust with icing sugar and if you wish decorate with a few more raspberries.