Looking for a dessert to celebrate Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 11) or perhaps Lag B’Omer (May 18)? Try this soufflé-like chocolate and coffee roll developed by the chefs of the ground force command of the Israel Defense Forces.
Yes, the chefs of the IDF — once known for concoctions of sausages, beans and canned beef — have gone gourmet, competing in cook-offs and developing recipes for special events as well as feeding the troops dishes that reflect the flavors and bounty of the region.
It is also fitting to choose a recipe from the IDF for Lag B’Omer, since it is said that it was on the 18th day of Iyar in 1948 that the order was issued to create the IDF. The holiday marks a break in the semi-mourning traditions during the counting of the Omer and is now the day when the efforts of IDF reserve personnel are officially saluted.
Special thanks to the IDF North American media desk and chefs Command Sgt. Maj. Ronen Dodzedeh, Sgt. 1st Class Meir Vaknin, and Staff Sgt. Ronen Rubinoff for sharing the recipe for Chocolate-Coffee Roulade. I’ve adapted the recipe for American kitchens.
The roulade is an intense but not-too-sweet chocolate dessert. It can be served chilled or frozen. If desired, you can skip the chocolate topping and simply sprinkle with cocoa or confectioner’s sugar before serving. I like to serve slices placed flat on a plate drizzled with warm chocolate or fudge sauce and topped with additional chopped nuts.
1 tsp. butter
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa, divided
5 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. plus 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plus 1⁄3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 cup plus 1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. finely powdered instant coffee or espresso
2⁄3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pistachios or slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan or rimmed baking tray, approximately 10-by-16 inches, with parchment paper. Grease with butter. Sift (or push through a strainer) all the cocoa. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. cocoa on greased paper. Take a second baking tray or sheet the same size or larger (it does not have to be rimmed) and line with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. of cocoa powder.
Whisk yolks with 1 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl. Sift (or push through strainer) the cornstarch, combining with remaining cocoa. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high, whip egg whites with salt until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until stiff but still moist. Peaks should stay erect when beaters are raised but not look dry or weep liquid.
Gently fold a third of the yolks into the whites. Repeat twice. Gently fold a third of the cocoa mixture into eggs. Repeat twice.
Distribute batter by large spoonfuls in the rimmed, greased pan. Spread evenly. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the cakes springs back fully when pressed down. Remove from oven. Immediately invert over second prepared pan. Remove top baking pan and paper and let cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Whip 1 cup cream with coffee, remaining sugar and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla in large bowl of electric mixer on high until it holds soft peaks when beaters are lifted. Spread cream on top of cake, leaving a 1⁄2-inch margin. Using parchment paper to help, roll about 2 to 3 inches of the long edge of the cake closest to you over the filling. Continue rolling until the cake is fully rolled (some cracking is normal). Wrap loosely in the parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours.
Melt remaining cream with chocolate until smooth, stirring occasionally. Spoon over top of roll. Garnish with nuts if desired. Refrigerate until serving. Slice with a warm knife.
Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. She blogs at www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.