The Flourless Chocolate Roll is a time-tested dessert classic, one first made famous in the 1950s by the late cookbook author and cooking teacher Dione Lucas.
Lucas, who had the first TV cooking show, had several versions of this dessert roll, which she called a roulage. The term roulage was actually a misnomer, however; the correct French term is roulade.
A roulade, or spongecake roll, is baked on a jellyroll pan, then filled and rolled up lengthwise. Because this version contains no flour, the chocolate roll is very rich with a particularly light, melt-in-your-mouth quality.
Here is my adaptation of the recipe, updated for extra fast preparation in the processor. The machine not only simplifies melting the chocolate, it whips both egg whites and cream, provided you don't mind washing out the container once or twice. Alternately, egg whites may be beaten with conventional beaters.
The food processor quick-melting method for chocolate eliminates the need for a double boiler. Chunks of semisweet chocolate are ground to small beads with the metal blade and melted in moments by pouring a hot mixture of coffee and dissolved sugar into the machine with the motor running. Beaten egg whites are then folded directly into the chocolate base, and the sponge layer is ready to bake.
The trickiest part of preparing this dessert is rolling the somewhat brittle cooled chocolate layer. The layer cracks very easily, and it is quite normal to have cracks or breaks along the sides and top.
Since the layer is fragile and tender, gently push the pieces back together and reinforce the roll shape with the aid of wax paper. Unsightly fissures are easily covered with a last minute dusting of cocoa. FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE ROLL
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken in 1/2-inch pieces
6 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/4 cup hot, strong coffee
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
Dash cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Cut wax paper to fit bottom of 15x10-inch jellyroll pan. Oil sides and bottom of pan. Place wax paper in pan, oil paper, then set aside.
Insert metal blade in dry food processor container. Process chocolate to fine bead consistency. Add egg yolks. Stir coffee with granulated sugar until sugar dissolves. With motor running, pour hot coffee into machine in thin stream to melt chocolate. Set mixture aside.
Wash and dry processor container and blade. Mix egg whites, water and cream of tartar in measuring cup. With motor running, pour egg whites into machine. Process until whites hold firm peaks, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
Add whites to bowl with chocolate mixture and thoroughly fold together. Transfer to jellyroll pan, then smooth top. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cover with damp, lightweight towel and cool to room temperature.
Wipe container and blade dry. Freeze 5 minutes. Add half of cream, vanilla and powdered sugar to container. With motor running, pour remaining cream into machine within 10 seconds. Process until cream whips to firm peaks. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
Place 2 sheets wax paper, overlapping lengthwise, on work surface. Dust paper with half of cocoa. Sprinkle remaining cocoa on top of chocolate layer in pan. Invert layer on coated wax paper. Spoon cream evenly onto layer, leaving border at ends and side.
Spread cream evenly on layer. Roll layer lengthwise, enclosing cream by lifting wax paper gently. Layer may crack so adjust as necessary to keep rolled (not flattened) shape. Trim ends to make neat by cutting diagonally.
Using wax paper to lift and manipulate roll, turn roll seam-side down onto serving board or platter. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Dust top with cocoa to cover additional cracks. Makes 8 servings.