Cocoa Bean Almond Roulade

I’m always pleased with Alice Medrich’s recipes. This roulade is not an exception. The flavor, texture and presentation are all marvelous. The dessert can be made in advance and, definitely, it’s worth to be served during holidays. I adapted the recipe for a larger pan and made some substitutions.

Makes one roulade, about 10 to 12 servings.

For the roulade:

  • 2 cups toasted unblanched whole almonds
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • ½ cup cocoa nibs
  • 8 large egg whites
  • Scant ¼ tsp cream of tartar

For the filling:

  • ½ cup cherry confiture, pulsed in a mini processor or put through a sieve (use a good brand, preferably French)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp cocoa nibs, coarsely chopped into smaller bits
  • Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Make the roulade:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 13×18-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.

Combine the almonds, flour, and 2/3 cup of the sugar in a food processor and pulse to a medium-fine texture. Add the nibs and pulse to a fine meal. Set aside.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed and gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, then beat until the meringue forms stiff but not dry peaks. Pour the nut mixture over the meringue, and fold it in with a large rubber spatula just until evenly dispersed. Spread the batter evenly in the lined pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springy to the touch. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. (The cake can be prepared up to 2 days ahead; cover the pan with parchment and then tightly with foil, store at room temperature.)

Make the filling:

Bring the cream and nibs to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.
Strain the cream into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard the nibs. Chill the cream for at least 6 hours; it must be cold in order to whip properly.
When ready to use, whip the cream until it thickens.

Assemble the roulade:

Using a fine-mesh sieve, shake a very light dusting of powdered sugar over the cake. Run a small knife around the edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Cover with a sheet of foil. Holding the foil and pan edges together at both ends, invert the pan onto the counter. Remove the pan and peel off the parchment liner. You might need to trim the edges of the cake if they appear dry.

Spread a very thin layer of fruit spread evenly over the cake. Spread the whipped cream over the jam. Starting at one short edge, roll the cake up like a jelly roll.
Don’t panic if the cake cracks. Continue rolling, and the cake will come together and will hold its shape. Wrap the roll in the foil and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The roulade can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

To serve, unwrap the roulade and transfer to a serving platter. Sift additional powdered sugar over the top, if desired.