Brazo de gitano

Brazo de gitano

By
From
Catalonia
Serves
6
Photographer
Laura Edwards

Brazo de Gitano or ‘Gipsy’s Arm’ is derived from the Swiss roll. This history of this dessert is said to stretch back to medieval times when it was brought to Spain by an Italian monk from Egypt. It’s one of my most favourite desserts.

Persimmon fruit are more popularly called kaki in Catalonia and although they are very popular at every single market, I do love to see them at La Boquería – there’s something about the way they’re presented and organised.

Feel free to substitute the compote for any jam or sweet filling.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 large free-range eggs, separated
100g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
300ml double cream
icing sugar, to dust

for the compote

Quantity Ingredient
5 persimmons, flesh mashed
1 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 33 x 22 cm Swiss roll tin.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla paste until really pale and fluffy and holding a ribbon shape for a few seconds when you stop whisking.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and fold into the egg yolks. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Carefully fold them into the batter then spoon into the tin and spread out with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 10–12 minutes until just cooked. Put a clean tea towel on the worktop and cover with a piece of baking paper. Sprinkle the paper with sugar. Turn the still-warm sponge out onto the sugared paper and peel off the baking paper from the bottom.
  5. While still warm, roll up the sponge using the tea towel to help you, and making sure the paper rolls on the inside of the sponge. Set aside to cool.
  6. To make the compote, put the fruit, ginger and sugar in a pan and cook together until the fruit has broken down. Whiz using a stick blender until smooth. Add the lemon juice and cool completely.
  7. When ready to serve, unroll the sponge and remove the paper. Lightly whip the cream until just holding its shape and spread all over the sponge. Spoon the compote over the top and roll up again. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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