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Caramel & Almond Meringue Roulade, Revised

Meringue wrapped around a tangy mascarpone frosting with bittersweet caramel and toasted almond praline. Original recipe by JOANNE YOLLES for the LCBO's Food & Drink Magazine.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, British, Canadian
Keyword #almond meringue, #caramel, #meringue, #yulelog
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Almond Praline

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup sugar (preferably caster sugar)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup water

Caramel Sauce

  • cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Aloud Meringue

  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1⅛ cup sugar
  • tsp cornstarch
  • ¾ cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs), at room temperature
  • 1 tsp  vinegar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup Icing sugar for decoration

Caramel Filling

  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder (optional)

Instructions

Almond Praline

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (150°C)
  • Place flaked almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the almonds develop a light golden color.
  • Lined a rimmed baking sheet (if using the same one, remove almonds to a bowl (or plate) with parchment paper and paint with a thin layer of neutral flavoured vegetable oil.
  • Place sugar, salt and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring it over medium heat. Swirl the pan regularly to distribute the heat and prevent burning. Once the sugar dissolves and turns into a beautiful golden colour, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add sliced almonds and fold in gently with a spatula.
    Working quickly, spread them across the greased baking sheet until fairly uniform. Let cool for an hour.
  • Once cool, roughly break apart the praline and place it in a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have smallish crumbs. Measure out about 1 cup/150grams of the mixture and set aside until time to use.
  • This step can be done up to a week ahead.

Caramel Sauce

  • Place the sugar in a small saucepan and add the water. Place over high heat and cover the pot with a lid. As soon as the sugar is completely dissolved and boiling, remove the lid.
  • Continue boiling until the syrup caramelizes and turns a golden amber colour, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
    Recipes for caramel always say not to stir but if you notice it getting too dark in one area (as can happen with gas or an uneven element), swirl very gently, getting as little as possible on the sides of the pot.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add 1 cup (250 mL) of the whipping cream (the mixture will bubble up), whisking until smooth. Pour the hot caramel into a heatproof glass measuring cup and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.
    You can make the sauce a couple of days ahead.

Almond Meringue

  • For the almond meringue, set the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
    Line a 12 x 17-inch (30 x43‑cm) sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, 2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar, and the cornstarch.
  • Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin mixing the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating to soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 cup (250 mL) sugar in a slow stream.
  • Once all the sugar is added, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Continue beating until the whites form stiff shiny peaks. Add the vinegar and almond extract and mix just to combine.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently but thoroughly fold the ground-almond mixture into the meringue, one-third at a time.
  • Spread the meringue in the pan, levelling the top. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and very lightly press them in with your hand.
  • Place in the oven, and immediately reduce the temperature to 275°F (140°C).
    Bake until the meringue is set and light golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Sift icing sugar over a clean sheet of parchment paper and turn the meringue out onto the paper, almond-side down. Carefully remove the parchment liner.

Caramel Filling

  • To finish the caramel filling, place 1 cup (250 mL) of the cooled caramel, the remaining 1 cup (250 mL) of whipping cream, and the mascarpone in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat together until stiff.
  • If you like coffee, cream and caramel, add 1 tbsp espresso powder with the other ingredients. (HINT: it's amazing!)

Tie it all together!

  • Spread the cream evenly over the meringue. Starting at the long side farthest away from you, roll up the meringue, using the paper as a lever. The meringue will crack.
    Wrap the roulade in foil and refrigerate until serving time.
  • To serve, drizzle remaining caramel sauce all over and sprinkle with almond praline. Slice and devour.

Notes

TIPS:
Avoid making almond praline on humid days.
Caster sugar works best in this recipe, but granulated is fine, too. Granulated can easily become caster sugar with a few blitzing pulses in the food processor. 
Nuts.com has superfine almond flour which makes for a lighter meringue. But the No Frills brand works as well.