Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Marcus!

Guess whose birthday was a few days ago! (Don't say anything if you read the title.) Yes indeed, it's Marcus' birthday! And to celebrate not yet being so old he gets asked how many years young he is, we are making...

The Marvelous Peanut Butter and Jelly Roll Scroll
1 scant cup powdered sugar
3 eggs
½ generous cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
About 12 oz peanut butter
About ¼-½ cups jelly

Heat oven to 425°. Prepare a 10"x14"* pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper (it's all right if it comes up the sides) and spraying it thoroughly. Put the powdered sugar into a pan and bake it one shelf above the centre for six minutes until it is really piping hot. Whilst waiting for the sugar, break the eggs into a roomy bowl. Measure the flour, stir in the baking powder and salt in the measuring cup. Set aside.
When the powdered sugar is ready and scalding hot, shoot it onto the eggs and beat immediately on high speed. Continue until the mixture turns into a pale off-white foam whilst also doubling in bulk.
Shake the flour very lightly over the surface and take up a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. With it fold and turn your mixture with an occasional cutting movement with the soft rubber spatula until every scrap of flour has disappeared.
Turn the mixture into your prepared tin and spread it with the spatula even into the corners (it'll be very thin). Bake for 8-9 minutes, no longer.
While it's in the oven, put the peanut butter over medium-low heat and stir until it thins a little, but not quite until it's runny. Put the jelly into a bowl and stir it to break it up. Spread it around the bowl so it comes closer to room temperature.
Cool the cake and turn it out onto floured parchment paper§. Cut away the long edges if you want it the ends to look nice; the edges will probably crack when rolled if you don't. Pour the peanut butter out over it (try to get it all over rather than pouring it all in the center- it'll be easier to spread) and then spread it out. Drop spots of jelly all over the peanut butter and carefully spread them on top. Be sure both the peanut butter and the jelly get to the edges so that the end slices have filling as well as the middle.
Carefully roll the cake up. It won't crack, but you want to be careful not to squish the filling. Refrigerate until the peanut butter and jelly are firm again.

*Ours was actually 10"x15".
I didn't think an extra inch of pan length would make a difference, but it was already kinda crispy at the ends after 8 minutes.
Why not do two things at once and scatter powdered sugar out instead?
§Just turn it onto newspaper. We'd have baked it on newspaper except we were worried about ink bleed.

Adapted from Fanny Cradock by way of Source

Yes indeed, we're using one of Fanny Cradock's recipes. If you haven't heard of her, you should totally watch this (I've wanted to do reaction videos of people watching her specials for some time). This recipe seemed straightforward, though I have no idea why the heck I was supposed to preheat the powdered sugar.
One pot of sugar, ready to go into the oven.

And, proving that even the gods believe in birthday presents, I didn't burn Marcus' forearm with the edge of the pot when I dumped the powdered sugar onto the eggs as he ran the mixer.
As you can see, he was moving it all over the bowl rather quickly.

The whole time we were making this, we were thinking of when Cecilia Gimenez (that's the lady who "restored" that Jesus painting in Spain) made an "appearance" on Saturday Night Live to say that her painted vision of Jesus was exactly how he appeared to her in a dream. "And poor Jesus, Jesus have broken his arm and it was wrap up in a little jelly roll scroll there!"
My favorite restoration in the history of art.

"Eh... are you sure this is enough?"

We ended up with a really thin, oddly flexible cake which looked like when you served it, you'd beg for forgiveness and say it's not your fault, it's the first time you tried this, it's not that bad, is it? (As a special Book of Cookrye bonus, imagine you just heard all that through someone's bedroom door.) We put it in the freezer because patience does not happen when you're making a peanut butter and jelly roll.

And now... and now... this is it!
"Hang on, I want to get one of those food-porn shots!" -Marcus

Splot. Splot. Splot.

I don't know if this looks extremely wrong or extremely right.

I... oh God. I know I'll be sorry tomorrow.

We put it in the freezer to firm back up really fast, but after 3 minutes we gave in and decided the ends were probably good enough to slice even if the middle was still a little runny. Would you have had the patience if you knew this was waiting for you?

Since it's Marcus' birthday, he got to go first:

"This is so good."

On that tear-choked endorsement, I cut a slice a lot thicker than it should have been.
Were I still into titling photographs, this would be The Ecstasy In the Kitchen.
He told me to hold it because the camera froze up. It didn't matter; I was semiparalyzed because this was so good.
In case you doubt how delicious this was, here's how much was left after 30 minutes:
This was delicious enough to wrap Jesus' broken arm in.

Since a lot of the reason this was so good was that we used some prickly-pear/raspberry jelly Marcus' sister gave him, we wanted to take a photograph endorsing it in the style of those old kitchen ads where it looks like they put vibrators up those ladies' skirts to really make them smile about a new refrigerator. And so, to conclude, here is Marcus' interpretation of being in a in a photoshoot where they do just that.

Happy Birthday, Marcus!

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