christmas dessert table

Raspberry + Almond Meringue Roulade

Christmas in my family was always a bit of a non-event. They were never the type to make a big deal of it. No Christmas tree to decorate, or twinkling of pretty Christmas lights in the lounge room. No carols either. There wasn’t the anticipation of a midnight visit from Santa and his reindeers, thus there was no cookies and milk ritual. We also didn’t have your typical family gathering, or do the typical Christmas ham for lunch.

That’s not to say we didn’t celebrate. Mum bought me lots of little presents, and I would often con her into giving them to me early. And we did have a special lunch, it was just small. Although there was no ham, turkey, or prawns on the barbie, we did have our own special tradition. It was delicious, and was made all the more special because it only occurred on Christmas. It was zupetta, which is a chicken, cheese and stale bread kind of soup/bake thing, as well as my nonna’s homemade pizza. The pizza was super simple, and looking back now I guess it is more like a focaccia than a pizza. It was a thick bready base with only tomato. And that is all. I don’t know how, being so simple, but it was sublime. As the years rolled by and my grandparents grew rather old, these traditions have slowly disappeared, much like the annual passata day and the making of homemade vino. My mum attempted to carry on the Christmas zupetta tradition, however a few years later discovered she couldn’t eat gluten. Alas nobody makes it anymore, and hundreds of years worth of family tradition has stopped with us.

almond raspberry meringue prep

There is a part of me that feels a bit sad for the erosion of our family traditions. But I suppose I am as responsible as anybody else for keeping them alive. When my son was born I took a new interest in Christmas. Instead of being a day that seemed to only highlight how dysfunctional my family is, it became a day that I looked forward to more than any other. I began to build my own traditions. We bought a tree to drag out of storage on the 1st December each year. We decorate it and I take the annual photo of Clancy standing in front of it. We leave a carrot out for Rudolf and a beer for Santa. And there are piles of presents that get ripped open every Christmas morning while I still wipe sleep from my eyes. I also make a couple of raspberry + almond meringue roulades. It only happens once a year, and is extremely special. Whilst I may not be keeping alive the only real Christmas traditions from my family, I  instead have created our own. One day my son will look back and have a bundle of reasons why Christmas is special. This roulade will be one of them.

raspberry almond roulade

Raspberry + Almond Meringue Roulade

Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater in Tender II

Serves 6 – 8

  • 6 egg whites
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large handful flaked almonds
  • 300ml double cream
  • 400g raspberries (I use a mix of fresh and frozen)


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and line a shallow baking dish with baking paper and little bit of oil.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the electric mixer still running, gradually add the sugar, whisking well between each addition. The trick is to make sure there are no sugar granules left before adding in the next addition.
  3. Once completed, fold in the cornflour and vinegar.
  4. Using a spatula, spread the meringue mix evenly onto the baking paper.
  5. Sprinkle flaked almonds over the meringue then bake for 10 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 180 degrees C and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until lovely and golden.
  6. Remove from oven and turn out on a fresh sheet of baking paper, almond side down. Leave to cool.
  7. Once cool, use a spatula to spread double cream over the meringue. Evenly sprinkle the raspberries on top then begin to roll into a roulade. Turn meringue so the longest edge is at the bottom. Carefully roll, from the bottom up. Grab a small handful of sugar and sprinkle on top.
  8. Serve straight away, or refrigerate overnight (covered) and serve the next day.

rasberry almond meringueraspberry meringue roulade dishes

Comments 3

  1. Isabel 30/12/2015

    Your photos are beautiful Jade – as is your pastel coloured table cloth. And, of course, your words. My family was and is also not very ‘Christmassy’, my parents will only have a tree if I go over, drag a pot plant inside and decorate it for them! But we have our own funny little traditions, like ‘pilaf’ which is a rice, currant and pine nut concoction that Mum has always made and her Mum before. On the meringue front, I thought about making a roulade this year but freaked out about the rolling, and made two pavlovas instead. But next time I will follow your lead and give it a try xx happy Christmas Jade

    • Jade 04/01/2016

      Hi Isabel!
      The roulade bit is not as scary as it sounds. Especially because it is a meringue, it is supposed to look a bit rustic ; )
      That table cloth is from Italy and was passed does to me from my grandmother. Apparently she has had it from the 60’s! Amazing.
      The pilaf sounds delicious, by the way. Did you have it again this year? Also, how was the trek?
      X Jade

  2. laurasmess 19/01/2016

    I’ve always been rather afraid of making sponge rolls and roulades, mostly due to the dreaded ‘cracking’. They’re so pretty to look at though, and I do enjoy eating them. This one looks divine, definitely worthy of being a Christmas centrepiece. It’s rather special to have dishes that are only made once a year (that makes me think about hot cross buns and their recent appearance in supermarkets, argh!).
    As for Christmas traditions, we’re all over the place at the moment. Until my grandparents passed away, we’d always reunite at their home in England for the Christmas period. I’d make pudding, we’d roast a turkey and drink whisky by the fire after sundown. I loved it and still feel sad that those days have passed – now I’m married, my grandparents’ home has been sold, my Dad lives between Asia and the UK and the rest of my family have sort of lost their Christmas purpose. Last Christmas, I joined in with Aaron’s family’s traditions which mostly consist of his mother’s trifle and some sort of seafood. It was lovely, but without pudding, pennies and frosted fingers, it didn’t feel like Christmas. I imagine that the arrival of our own children (like you with Clancy) will give us some extra motivation to create our own traditions. Thanks for sharing some of yours with us xxx

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