"A gourmand is one who is able to keep eating when no longer hungry, and a gourmand without a rich sense of the comic is a pathetic piggy indeed."
-- Jim Harrison
The Seven Deadly Sins: we all have at least one, don’t we? What is yours? Let’s see…
Greed? Well, haven’t we all wished for just a bit more, whether it be money, fame or a bigger slice of the pie? Haven’t you ever sidled ever so discreetly up to the buffet table and refilled your plate, taken an extra dessert or grabbed that second, third or fourth glass of champagne while no one was looking?
Envy? Hmmm, the neighbor’s new car, your sister’s wedding gifts, your colleagues suddenly larger breasts? Come on, fess up!
Sloth? Ah, those lazy Sundays in bed, something popped into the microwave or a quick call to the local pizzeria? Who doesn’t wake up every couple of mornings, knock the alarm clock off the nightstand and bury their head further down under the covers? Weekends spent with our legs up as the dog scratches at the door, the kids clamor in asking what’s for lunch and the spouse is mowing the yard, unable to move farther than the sofa or the nearest lounge chair, joined rapidly by said spouse, deciding that the best move is none at all.
Wrath? Lust? Pride? There is always some clever tv psychologist who will try and convince us that any and all of the above are normal and even, in slight doses, healthy. Well, kept under control, who’s to say they aren’t? We all have the monster on our shoulder to battle with as we see fit.
And my sin (although I do pray that it is not deadly) must be Gluttony. Food is my pleasure, my weakness. Thomas Aquinas wrote that Gluttony is "...not (about) any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire...leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists." Yipes! I have always considered myself a highly moral person, but, put like this, I guess old Thomas was right. Reason does leave me every so often. This does stir up youthful memories of sneaking into Grandma’s kitchen at night with my brother, grabbing handfuls of marshmallows and candy bars and scurrying back into the room we shared, our Gluttony momentarily making us risk untold punishment if discovered, yet never daring to turn on the lights knowing full well that the light would be visible to the adults through the crack in the door. (Then promptly dropping all of the goodies in the dark, all joy of the purloined treasure rolling under the beds).
Ditto at Girl Scout Camp, sneaking into the kitchen to steal back the candy taken out of our luggage and locked up by the camp counselors, risking public banishment from camp. Or eating too much candy at Halloween only because we could, or filling up our plates at the cake table even before the main meal had been served at any number of Bar Mitzvah luncheons or wedding parties. Spending our allowance at the corner drug store instead of saving it up for something more sensible.
Well, even as I grew up into adulthood, Gluttony has never left me. While the men in my house turn down dessert, have no desire to snack, leave pans of brownies untouched for days at a time, I find myself dashing into the kitchen every ten minutes or so to shove a hunk or a chunk of something sweet or savory into my mouth, praying that the old adage “if you eat it standing up it has no calories” is true after all. My purse is always filled with chocolate bars and lollipops, the car always stocked with boxes of cookies whether for an hour’s drive or driving crosscountry. There is Gluttony in my cooking, too, making enough food for 10 when we will only be 6, or making two desserts “just in case”, and finding a reason to taste them both.
So when I have decided that I have been eating too much, baking too much, putting back on those few pounds that I had so struggled to lose, when hubby and I decide that it is diet time, once again, well, then what do I do but bake? And bake some more.
And my punishment? The complaints, the dirty looks, the groans, the platters of goodies left untouched, the accusations (“Stop shoving food down our throats!” “Whatever your friends on-line tell you to cook, you cook, and then we have to eat it!”).
I had a craving for a Chocolate Roll, and I had a craving for cherries and cream. And of course, not wanting my family to go hungry or, heaven forbid, go sweet-free, I simply had an uncontrollable urge to bake this dessert. And then eat large slices of it thinking, as I shoveled it as delicately as was possible under the circumstances, that maybe, just maybe, after all, I am a Glutton for Punishment!
COCOA SOUFFLE ROLL filled with PERFECT WHIPPED CREAM and CHERRIES
From Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible
This is easy to put together, light as a feather with a beautiful chocolate flavor. Perfect filled with simple or lightly flavored (mocha, coffee, fruit or chestnut) whipped cream, a whipped ganache for a richer, more elegant dessert, or generously spread with your favorite jelly or jam. This cake roll is made without flour, so it is perfect during Passover or for those looking for a gluten-free dessert.
1/3 cup + 1 Tbs (35 g) unsifted cocoa powder
¼ liquid cup (60 ml) boiling water
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs (30 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup (35 g) finely ground toasted almonds, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 17 x 12” (@ 45 x 30 cm) jelly-roll pan, line it with nonstick liner or foil, and grease again.
If filling the chocolate roll with the Perfect Whipped Cream, put all of the ingredients listed below into a large glass bowl, cover with a plate or plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator, along with the beaters, to chill.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup (all but 1 Tbs) of the cocoa powder with the boiling water until the cocoa is completely dissolved and smooth. Stir in the butter until it is melted and then the vanilla. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 6 egg yolks with ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar and beat, using an electric mixer, for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the chocolate mixture, and the ground almonds if using, and beat until incorporated and well-blended, scraping down the sides as necessary.
In a large copper of plastic bowl (preferably not glass), beat the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually, as you continue beating, add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
With a large whisk, slotted spoon or spatula, fold about 1/3 of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it before folding in the rest of the whites in 2 or 3 additions. Fold in the whites gently but until completely blended in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 18 minutes. The cake will have puffed, faded in color and lost its shine and the surface will spring back when lightly touched.
Wet a clean dishtowel and ring it out well. Take the cake out of the oven and, leaving it in the pan, place it on a cooling rack to cool. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder evenly all over the cake and cover with the damp dish towel. Allow to cool for several minutes.
Prepare the PERFECT WHIPPED CREAM or other filling :
1 liquid cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 Tbs sugar
½ tsp vanilla
a cup or so of jarred cherries, drained
Remove the chilled bowl and ingredients from the fridge and beat until stiff peaks form.
To make the filled chocolate roll :
Holding onto the liner overhang, lift the cake out of the pan and remove the dish towel. Spread evenly with the whipped cream and then dot with the cherries. Gently roll up the cake, using the liner to lift, peeling away the liner as you go.
Carefully lift the cake onto a serving platter and push off of the last bit of liner. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. When ready to serve, sprinkle with either cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
Using one whole recipe of the whipped cream made rolling up and moving the cake onto the platter extremely difficult and it slithered around and spread out. But what the heck, it was so delicious! I could’ve added more cherries, as well. The cake is truly light and airy, yet fabulously delicious, just the right combination of chocolate and cream. We love this spread with cherry jelly as a wonderful breakfast cake (during Passover), or spread with my favorite coffee-flavored whipped cream.