Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pecan Roulade w/ Praline Mousse

Pecan Roulade w/ Praline Mousse

Pecan Roulade w/ Praline Mousse

I looked through Susan Spicer's Crescent City Cooking in the library a few weeks ago but didn't check it out. Last week, it was featured on Leite's Culinaria, one of my favorite sites for recipes. This pecan roulade caught my eye; it looked sophisticated, delicious, and relatively easy to make. It's also gluten-free!

I was stressed about a school project, so naturally I felt like baking. I could make the caramel syrup a day before, make the cake right before my big presentation, and assemble the cake when I got home. By then the cake would be cool and all the mousse ingredients would be at room temperature.

The baking process was relatively easy; however, the original recipe said to cover the cake with a damp dish towel and my cooled cake was sticky, wet, and difficult to roll. Most roulade recipes suggest inverting the briefly cooled cake onto a clean dish towel and rolling it up to cool before filling. Next time i'd try this method.

This cake tastes strongly of pecans, caramel, and rum (I think it's fantastic). Most of the components can stand alone. I'd use the caramel mousse for filling layer cakes or cream puffs, and the caramel syrup would be great on ice cream or chilled and spread on toast. It's especially good with the cream cheese before you add the whipped cream and gelatin.

Pecan Roulade w/ Praline Mousse
adapted from Susan Spicer's Crescent City Cooking

For the cake:
7 oz pecans (about 1 cup), lightly toasted
1/2 tsp baking powder
7 eggs, separated (don't get any yolks in the whites!)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

For the praline syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
bourbon or rum to taste

For the praline mousse:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup reserved praline syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tbsp dark rum
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks
confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Make the cake:
1. Line an 18 x 12-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment or spray it with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Pulse the pecans in a food processor until you have a coarse meal. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the baking powder.

3. Whip the yolks with 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale. Stir into the nut mixture. Using a clean beater and a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Whip at high until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Stop the mixer and pull the beater out slowly: if the whites leave stiff peaks in the bowl, the mixture is ready (it should be stiff but not dry).

4. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture one half at a time. Avoid the urge to overmix. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

5. Bake until light golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately cover with a clean dish towel; cool completely.

Make the praline syrup:
1. Put the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over high heat. Stir to combine. Put the cream in another small saucepan and bring it just short of a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and then down to a steady simmer. When the liquid turns amber, swirl the pan. This will help it caramelize evenly. When it reaches a deep amber color, remove it from the heat and very carefully whisk in the cream. It will bubble up and steam, so watch those fingers! Return the pan to the heat and whisk to dissolve all the caramel. Refrigerate 1 cup of the praline syrup for the mousse filling. Add the vanilla and bourbon to the rest for your sauce.

Make the mousse:
1. Cream the cream cheese by hand or in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Slowly add the praline syrup, scraping the bowl frequently. Add the vanilla. Place the gelatin in a small bowl with about 1 tablespoon warm water. Add the rum to the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Fold a bit of the praline syrup into the gelatin, then fold the gelatin mixture back into the praline syrup. Fold in the whipped cream, one half at a time.

1. Run a paring knife around the outside of the cake to release it from the sides of the pan. Lift the edges carefully, feeling under the cake to loosen it. Sift a thin layer of confectioners' sugar onto the top of the cake. Lay a piece of parchment the size of the cake across the top, then turn the pan over to release the cake onto the parchment. With the cake lying on the counter, carefully peel the parchment that is now on the top off the cake.

2. Spread the mousse on the cake, stopping 1/2 inch from the long edge. Starting with the long edge closest to you, begin rolling the cake up jelly roll style, using the parchment for support. Tuck the rolling edge of the cake in as you go to make it a little tighter and neater. Place the cake back on the baking pan and refrigerate to firm it up.

3. To serve, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, cut the slices about 1 inch thick, and serve with a generous drizzle of the reserved praline syrup. Garnish with fresh strawberries or peaches, if desired.


Jennifer said...

Looks and sounds delicious! I made a pecan roulade for Christmas, but alas there was no rum involved.

Aran said...

I tell you, this has to be my favorite recipe that you have made so far. i'm not kidding. Roulade with praline mousse... are you kidding me? That's my name! Looks beautiful!

Brilynn said...

That does look pretty awesome! I haven't always been successful with roulades, I need to try making more of them.

Christina said...

I found your blog from a post on Canela & Comino. Wonderful blog! Your baking is varied and I like that you go through cookbooks.

This looks like an exceptional dessert and all the components surely taste perfectly together. The picture looks great with the strawberries.

Patricia Scarpin said...

It looks wonderful. And so tender!

Tartelette said...

Beautiful roulade! The praline mousse looks out of this world! I never deviate from the old method of pre-rolling the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, I'd be too afraid of cracks, but you did a great job with it!!

Aran said...

Lisa! Left you an award in my blog today. For all your great work

Elaina said...

This. Looks. So. Good. I miss you over here!

Gloria said...

I read your blog occasionally, had to try this one. Ouch! I was generous with the powdered sugar, so the rolling wasn't so bad, but my mousse was all over the place. Then my cake sortof disintegrated. Are the mousse ingredients to be room-temp, then the mousse chilled? I have not done mousse before. My cake was fine, probably would've survived ok if the mousse hadn't slopped everywhere. Right now most of it's in the fridge, we'll see how it cuts. Otherwise, loved the caramel, loved the cake batter/cake, the mousse is too sweet, and overall it's too sweet for me, which means it's probably perfect for the rest of the world. Thanks for a great recipe that was a challenge!

Lisa Campbell said...

Sorry to hear you had trouble, gloria.

I didn't have trouble with my mousse. I think the structure is dependent on how long you cook the caramel (mine was quite dark, definitely not pourable unless heated) how stiff you whip the chilled cream, and how quickly/gently you incorporate the ingredients.

I hope it turns out okay!