Chocolate Roulade

Simply Food

By Wendy Monro

We have had a week of rain. I absolutely love it. Usually, it rains here and there and not very hard. Other times, we will get a downpour but it only lasts a few minutes. This week has been a steady stream of showers. It has been amazing keeping the fires going, eating soup, and sipping teas. The downside is that there is a community of people who live beneath Las Vegas in the drain tunnels.

Fortunately, it rarely rains here. So, these people are able to live down in the tunnels where they are sheltered from the hot summers. It is cool and dark down there. The homeless people who live in the tunnels turn them into actual homes. Some areas have beds, chairs, tables, dressers, etc… There is an entrance to one of these tunnels near my home. I see people walking in and out of them fairly often.

When it rains, their “homes” get devastated. Water comes rushing through and destroys these makeshift homes the people have created. Sometimes, people get caught off guard and some have been washed away with the rainwater. So, it is a precarious place to live to say the least.

As I have mentioned before, Daphne has been working with a group of people who ride bikes around and feed the homeless. This week, they are concentrating on the people who have been displaced from the tunnels due to all of the rain. On Saturday, Daphne chose to feed these people rather than join us in the march for women’s rights in downtown Las Vegas. After the march, Claud and I joined her in the park where these people were being fed to offer some of our help. We served a simple spaghetti dish with salad.

We met really nice people. One man gave me a lecture on not asking the government to help with anything concerning love. He offered his advice unsolicited. We weren’t even talking about anything. He said, “love is love and you shouldn’t have to ask any government to condone it.” I am pretty sure he was referring to gay marriage but I couldn’t really get any questions in, as he was very passionate with giving the speech. I just listened and smiled. I walked away liking the idea of love existing no matter who says so. Love is just love. Nobody can take love away.

Later that night, I wanted to make something else for these people to eat. I wanted to cook something special and full of love. Daphne and I talked about it and decided that they probably don’t get to have homemade baked goods very often. Daphne said that in the short time she has been helping, she has not seen anyone offering desserts. So, we thought we should make something amazing as a special treat. We started looking through cookbooks and thinking about desserts we have enjoyed in the past.

I remembered a dessert we ate the last time we spent Christmas in England. That year, 2015, we devoured a chocolate roulade. This was so good. It’s chocolate and cream. It’s decadent but not fancy. It’s sweet but just the right amount of sweet. I really loved it. After discussing cookies, cupcakes, cake, muffins, and pies, we chose the chocolate roulade.

Needless to say, with my baking abilities, I was nervous. I called my sister in law in England to find out how she made it. It took us about an hour to create and it looks pretty amazing. The great thing about chocolate roulade is that it isn’t supposed to look perfect. It is fine to have a few cracks. That is actually how it is supposed to look. That made my life a lot easier. I am no good at making baked goods look pretty.

Now, it is ready and waiting in the refrigerator. Daphne and I will go to the park with the others to serve dinner tonight. I am so excited to offer a dessert. I hope the people who eat this will feel the love that was poured into the middle of the roulade.

Chocolate Roulade:

Time: one hour

Serves: 8

6 ounces dark chocolate

6 eggs, separated

6 ounces sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

10 ounces heavy cream

icing sugar, to dust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch Swiss roll tin. Then, line it with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (a bowl over a pot of boiling water). Allow the chocolate to cool. Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until stiff. Place egg yolks in another bowl. Whisk in the sugar until thick and creamy. Pour in the chocolate and fold together. Stir in two spoonfuls of egg whites and fold them in. Continue this until all egg whites are folded in. Sift the cocoa over the top. Fold this in. Pour this into the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until it has risen and top is crisp. Whip the cream. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper. Dust this with icing sugar. Place the roulade onto the paper. Spread on the whipped cream leaving a little boarder. Cut along half way through the sponge. Roll this cut edge over tightly, using the paper to help. Dust on more icing sugar.