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Praline Roll


To prepare Jelly Roll pan and Waxed paper
4 teaspoons butter, softened

5 eggs, separated
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons tepid water (95 degrees)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon (scant) baking powder

* Flavoring
Chocolate: 4 to 6 ounces of melted cooled semisweet chocolate
Coffee: 2 to 3 tablespoons instant coffee (powder or crystals) dissolved in a few tablespoons of hot water
Orange or Lemon: Grated peel of 1 large orange or lemon with a little juice
Liqueur: 2 to 3 tablespoons of kirsch, rum or orange liqueur
Praline: 1 to 2 cups praline powder**

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons water
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring

Praline chips** (optional)
Praline can be frozen indefinitely or stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (do not refrigerate as it will become too sticky).
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups whole unblanched almonds


Preparation and Short Cut Suggestions
Please read the entire recipe through once. Think it through, about how you'll do each step, to avoid surprises. I do one shortcut, as a heads up here. I beat the egg whites for the cake section of the recipe first. Then I set them aside and quickly beat up the yolks etc for the cake mixture and when I'm ready, whalaa, the whites are right there! I try to do this on a clear day, not a rainy one, to guarantee the whites stay nice and stiff to be folded into the yolk mixture. [Have I lost you yet?! You'll understand once you read the recipe.]

I also simplify the praline chips for the crunchies to top the cake. I simply put 1/4 cup sugar into a saucepan, add 1/2 cup sliced almonds and heat, stirring, until lightly browned. Turn out onto a plate and separate slightly while hot so they don't clump together. You can then, when ready to sprinkle them on the cake, either crunch them more, leave as is or pulverize them, if you like.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat 12 x 18-inch jelly roll pan with 2 teaspoons butter. Line with waxed paper cut long enough to extend over edges. Butter paper. Dust with flour, shaking out excess.

Beat egg yolks with electric mixer until pale yellow. Gradually add sugar, beating constantly until mixture is almost white and forms a ribbon when dropped from beaters, about 5 minutes. Blend in water. Sift flour, cornstarch and baking powder together. Beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/4 of whites into yolk mixture to loosen. Fold in remaining whites. Sift dry ingredients over batter. Fold to blend thoroughly. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Bake until top of cake springs back when touched with fingertip, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set pan on cooling rack. Dust top of cake lightly with sugar. Cover with damp towel and cool about 15 minutes. Lightly dust 2 long overlapping sheets of waxed paper with sugar. Carefully turn cake over onto paper and let cool while preparing buttercream.
Cake can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated. Assemble 1 day before serving.

Combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and continue cooking until syrup registers 238 degrees (soft-ball stage) on candy thermometer. Combine yolks and eggs in large mixing bowl and whisk until thick and mixture forms a ribbon when dropped from whisk, about 5 minutes. When syrup is ready, gradually drizzle into eggs, beating constantly until all syrup is absorbed. Continue beating until mixture has cooled to room temperature. Gradually beat in butter 2 tablespoons at a time, making sure each piece is completely blended before adding next (do not panic if buttercream separates toward the end; this is normal; the last few pieces of butter will bring it back together into a smooth cream). Add vanilla and Flavoring and blend well.
Buttercream can be prepared ahead and stored in refrigerator up to 2 weeks, or frozen up to 4 months. Bring to room temperature and beat thoroughly until spreading consistency before using.

**Praline Chips or Powder
Generously butter or oil baking sheet or 12x18-inch jelly roll pan. Combine sugar, water and cream of tartar in heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved, washing down any crystals that form on sides of pan with small pastry brush dipped repeatedly in warm water. Cover pan and continue cooking 1 minute so steam will dissolve any remaining crystals. Add nuts and cook without stirring until nuts are brown and syrup has caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes (mixture is ready to be removed from heat when you can hear nuts cracking and caramel bubbles become larger and slower). Immediately pour syrup onto prepared sheet. Let cool several minutes. Carefully remove brittle from pan. If desired, break off "clean" brittle (no nuts, just caramel) into Praline Chips. Break remaining brittle into pieces and grind in batches in processor, blender or food mill until desired texture.

To assemble
Spread half of buttercream over top of cake. Gently roll up and transfer to serving platter. Spread remaining buttercream over entire surface of roll (reserve some to pipe down center from pastry bag fitted with decorative tip, if desired). Press Praline Chips over roll. Chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving, for the buttercream frosting to soften. I assemble the cake and refrigerate it up to 2 days or freeze it up to 2 months. As a finishing touch, I snip a blossom or two from the garden to place alongside the cake. You can anticipate 12 servings, maybe 14 for ladies only.

Last week we were invited to a party where the hostess requested this very dessert! Makes you wonder if they want you or the finishing touch to the party more!! Put the best construction on everything...and have so much fun with this delightful dessert. It accompanies a light meal best, because of its richness.
You serve a winner with this dessert!

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