Kinglake Raspberries & Chocolate Roulade

We spent Boxing Day indoors this year; no shopping madness, no post-christmas meals, no entertaining. I thought I got my wish for a really and quiet lazy day but by nightfall J and I were absolutely bored and restless so we decided to hit the great outdoors the next day and indulge in some therapeutic berry picking at Kinglake Raspberries just about half an hour from our place. “Kinglake Raspberries is a 25 hectare Raspberry Farm nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range just northeast of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia)”. The  location and contact details are:

Address: Kinglake Raspberries, Tooheys Road, Pheasant Creek, Vic. 3757 (view map)
pH: 03 5786 5360
website: www.kinglake-raspberries.com.au

Do visit their website for Opening Times, seasonal pickings and products on offer.

We were at the farm back in April of this year but the crop was a bit sad then and I remember having to squint our way through the rows of bushes for decent berries. But not this time! Woohooo! Apparently, the raspberries are larger in Summer , between December and January but the crop harvest period is longer in mid-autumn; albeit a smaller crop. There is NO entrance fee; you get a Pick-Your-Own basket which can hold up to 1 kg of raspberries, proceed to the expansive farm for picking and when you’re done, just pay for the weight of berries picked. Currently, as of December 2010, the price stands at $16 per 1kg of Pick-Your-Own raspberries and $22 for pre-picked ones. This is almost more than half of what you’re paying at supermarkets! Oh, and their home-made raspberry ice-cream rocks!!     

 Our irresistable luscious raspberry pickings

My mind ran amok with ideas just staring at that pile of crimson red beauties and I couldn’t wait to turn them into berrylicious treats so the next few posts will center around the Great Raspberry! First up is a gorgeous chocolate and raspberry roulade I made immediately after returning from our berry excursion.  I chose to make this because it was quick and simple, yet delicious. The chocolate sponge, inspired by a Chocolate Chestnut Roulade recipe in Barbara Maher’s “Great Cakes”, contains no flour and called for very finely chopped unblanched almonds but I added almond meal instead so the resulting sponge texture is tender and a delight to eat. For the filling, I opted for quick and easy chantilly cream and those freshly picked raspberries (washed and patted-dry before use) and the flavour? Chocolaty, sweet, creamy, sour! Yummy. This roulade tastes even more divine chilled overnight.

Chocolate & Raspberry Roulade
(chocolate sponge recipe adapted from “Great Cakes” by Barbara Maher)

chocolate sponge cake
90 g plain chocolate ( I used belgian dark couverture chocolate)
4 eggs, separated
30 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon icing sugar
45 g unblanched almonds, very finely chopped (I used almond meal)
45 g butter, melted and cooled

for filling and assembling
250 g raspberries, washed and patted-dry
300 ml thickened cream
25 – 30 g icing sugar, sifted (adjust sweetness as desired)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon icing sugar (extra)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC; grease and line a 36 x 25 x 1cm Swiss Roll tin.
  2. For the cake, melt the chocolate (in a double boiler or a bowl resting on a pot of simmering water; make sure base of bowl doesn’t touch the water); leave to cool.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together to the ribbon stage (until thick and leaves a visible trail for 4 – 5 seconds when you lift the whisk; if you try drawing a figure 8, it should remain visible for a few seconds)
  4. In another (clean and dry) bowl, whisk the egg whites into soft peaks; sift over the icing sugar and whisk until they form slightly stiffer peaks.
  5. Stir the chocolate, almonds/almond meal and butter into the egg yolk mixture; gently fold in the egg whites, taking care not to knock out the air.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until soft and springy to the touch (I baked mine for 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and cover with silicone paper and a damp tea towel. Leave to cool.
  7. Prepare the chantilly cream by beating the thickened cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract to stiff peaks (do not overbeat or else the cream will split)
  8. Sift the cocoa and extra icing sugar on to more silicone paper. Uncover the roulade and turn it out on to the paper; peel off the lining paper and spread over the chantilly cream to within 1 cm of the edge. Scatter the raspberries on top of the cream; roll up from one short edge, then place seam side down on a plate.
  9. To serve, simply cut into slices and enjoy with more fresh raspberries. Alternatively, you can wrap the roulade in cling wrap and chill it overnight prior to serving (I think it tasted even better the next day)
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