And almost Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza and bon week-end! I'm jumping in early (there won't be a Bulletin on Friday) because I've got some ideas that might make the weekend a bit more delicious - and maybe a bit easier on the cook.
Maybe some of us will be having holiday gatherings (if so, take a look at recipes I sent out this week for party starters). Maybe there'll be last-minute baking (again, I hope I can help – take a look at these cookie recipes). Or maybe you'll be making a holiday brunch. And if you are, I’ve got a great recipe for you: Smoked Salmon Roll-Up.
But let me back-up for a sec. As a born and bred New Yorker, I’m loyal to the traditional hometown brunch: Bagels and lox, aka smoked salmon. I love it so much that when I’m not in New York, when I can’t get to Russ & Daughters (yes, they ship, but I’m not such a good planner), I dream about ways to turn the classic combo into something brunchable. In fact, the tart on the cover of EVERYDAY DORIE was inspired by a visit to Russ & Daughters. Called Lower East Side Brunch Tart, it’s got “the works” – smoked salmon, red onion, capers, dill, tomatoes and cream cheese. All that’s missing is the bagel.
Grab the recipe for Lower East Side Brunch Tart
Then, when I was in Westbrook, CT and working on BAKING WITH DORIE, the urge to fiddle with that mix of ingredients struck again. That it became the filling for a rolled cake surprised even me. The sponge cake is the same as the one I use to make ice cream and jelly and whipped cream rolls – but I left out the sugar and tipped it savory by adding salt, lemon and poppy seeds. The filling is cream cheese and smoked salmon (of course), scallions, capers and chives. It’s chic. It’s also holiday-convenient: You can make both the cake and the filling a day ahead and just slather-and-roll and say ta-dah whenever you’re ready.
Skip down for the recipe.
Oh, and as someone commented, if you’re not crazy about dessert (I know that wouldn’t be any of us, but such humans exist and we love them even so), you can make this and call it a Yule Log. Good thinking!
Whatever you’re celebrating this weekend, I hope it will be joyous and sweet. I’ll see you back here on the other side of it.
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From BAKING WITH DORIE
Makes 8 to 10 servings
FOR THE CAKE
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder, or more to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder, or more to taste
1⁄2 cup (68 grams) all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup (32 grams) cornstarch, plus more for dusting
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Finely grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 lemon
FOR THE FILLING
8 ounces (226 grams; generous 1 cup) whipped cream cheese
4 ounces (113 grams) smoked salmon, finely chopped
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
About 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, or to taste
About 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, or to taste
About 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed, patted dry and chopped
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
TO FINISH (OPTIONAL)
Finely sliced cucumber (peeled or not)
Finely sliced radishes
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful of arugula if serving the cukes and radishes as a salad
A WORD ON WORKING AHEAD:
As fancy as this looks, it can easily be made ahead. You can prepare both the cake and the filling the day before.
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet that’s about 12 × 17 inches with baker’s spray, line it with parchment paper and spray the paper. Have a clean kitchen towel and a strainer at hand.
Stir the poppy seeds and garlic and onion powder together in a small bowl.
Sift the flour and cornstarch together onto a sheet of parchment paper (easy to use later as a funnel) or into a medium bowl.
Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl you can use with a hand mixer, and put the yolks in another large bowl. Whisk the yolks with the salt and lemon zest.
Beat the whites at medium-high speed until they hold firm peaks, taking care to stop before they separate into puffs. Spoon about
a quarter of the whites over the yolks, add the lemon juice and whisk to blend—you’re using the whites here to lighten the yolks, so there’s no need to be gentle. Sprinkle the poppy seed mixture over the yolks, scrape the remainder of the whites into the bowl and top with the dry ingredients. Working with a flexible spatula, gingerly fold everything together, turning the bowl as you fold and being on the lookout for pockets of flour—they have a habit of hiding at the bottom of the bowl. The mixture will deflate—it’s inevitable—so just carry on.
Scrape the batter out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it evenly across the entire surface.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cake has puffed (it will puff unevenly) and the top feels dry to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and immediately, while the cake is still hot, lay the kitchen towel out on a work surface and dust it with cornstarch—shake the cornstarch through the strainer onto the towel. Run a table knife around the edges of the baking sheet to loosen the cake and turn it out onto the towel. Lift off the baking sheet and very carefully peel away the parchment. If necessary, turn the towel so that a short side of the cake is parallel to you (if you prefer a longer, more slender cake, you can roll it up starting from a long side), and roll the cake up as tightly as possible in the towel. Twist the ends of the towel to compress the cake, then allow to cool to room temperature. (The cake can be made up to 1 day ahead and left, rolled up, at room temperature.)
TO MAKE THE FILLING: Stir all of the ingredients except the lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a bowl until well blended. Taste and add as much juice, salt and pepper as you’d like. (The filling can be refrigerated, covered, overnight.)
TO ASSEMBLE THE ROLL-UP: Unroll the cake—you can leave it on the towel—and spread the filling evenly over it, leaving just a thin strip bare at the far end.
Using the towel and your hands, roll the cake up as neatly and carefully as you can, finishing with the seam on the bottom (or as close to the bottom as you can manage). Slice off—and nibble on—the ragged ends.
TO FINISH THE ROLL-UP (OPTIONAL): If you’d like to top the roll-up, toss the cucumber and radish slices with a squirt of lemon juice, season with a little salt and pepper and arrange in an attractive pattern down the length of the roll. Alternatively, add some arugula to the mix and serve as a salad alongside the roll-up.
The roll-up is ready to serve now, or you can refrigerate it and serve chilled—it’s good both ways.
STORING: The roll-up can be wrapped in plastic and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Once again, you can watch me make it for Food 52 right here: