This Gingerbread Pear Roulade is both elegant to look at but more importantly it tastes incredible. The lightly spiced molasses ginger sponge is layered with a light whipped mascarpone cream and a ginger infused pear compote. With its elegant rolled shape it's smothered in more cream and crowned with delicate pear wafers. A showstopper to say the least.
I love gingerbread cookies but they are quintessentially eaten at Christmas time. And I love cake. So I set about combining the two to create a this Gingerbread Pear Roulade that would grace your Thanksgiving or Christmas table perfectly.
The sponge is light and fluffy, the cream smooth but not too sweet and the pear compote dances on you palette with the addition ground ginger. Have I sold you yet? Good... now let's get into the nitty gritty about this recipe.
First up, there are lots of steps to this recipe. Yes that’s true. But break it down into four components and it becomes less daunting. The sponge, the compote, the cream and the pear wafers.
The compote can be done the day before. Keep it in the fridge and bring it out when ready to use.
The wafers can be done whilst the roulade sponge is cooling.
And the cream can be whipped whilst the wafers are in the oven. Let’s be honest - the cream only takes a minute or two to do.
Not so bad when you look at it like this right?!
That Gingerbread Sponge
As most of you know, I’m not a fan of typical Christmas spices that go hand in hand with ginger.. cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice. Nah - not for me. So staying true to myself, I don’t add them into my recipes here. Not even in this one. And you know what, I believe you get a pure ginger flavour that when teamed with molasses is deep, rich and so flavourful.
So how do you make the sponge roll up like that?
The trick is to make the sponge super light and airy and this in turn gives it flexibility. When it's straight out of the oven it gets rolled in a tea towel whilst piping hot and then allowed to cool all rolled up. This basically trains the sponge to roll up. If you left it to cool in the pan, flat and then tried rolling, it would just crack in two. Disaster? Use my images below as a visual guide and notes below to help you along.
Follow along with these steps and you’ll have no problem.
1st: You make the batter by beating the egg yolks till creamy, then gradually add the brown sugar until combined. After that add the wet ingredients: molasses, golden syrup and melted butter, and beat in. Then add the dry ingredients (twice sifted): flour, cornflour, ground ginger, salt and baking powder which is folded in.
2nd: Now the batter is made is time to incorporate even more air into it. And we do that by whipping the egg whites until soft peaks form and then folding them ever so gently into the existing batter.
3rd: Pour the batter into a lined baking tray and bake until the sponge springs back.
4th: Prep your tea towel. Lay it flat out on your bench top and dust with icing sugar or cocoa or a combination of the two. Take the sponge out of the oven and turn it onto the tea towel setting the tray aside. Carefully peel off the baking paper. Then, whilst the sponge is still piping hot, roll the sponge and the tea towel together and set aside until the sponge has totally cooled.
5th: To construct, unroll the cooled sponge, spread mascarpone cream over the sponge, then a layer of pear compote and with the back of a spoon smooth flat. You’ll one of the short edges is lifted and rolled from being in the tea towel. Use this as the starting point and re-roll the sponge up and set onto your serving tray. Smother with more cream on top of the roll and scatter with the pecans. At this point i refrigerate it for 20 minutes so that the cream sets. It makes it easier to slice when serving. When ready to serve place the pear wafers on the top et voila you have one pretty as a picture Gingerbread Pear Roulade ready to slice.
The Pear Compote
Now, this pear compote is the perfect addition to this roulade. Sweet, juicy seasonal pears are balanced with the warming hum of ginger. My recipe makes two jars worth and for this roulade you’ll only use about half a jar. But its a deliberate move on my part as I believe if you’re going to go to the effort of making pear ginger compote, you may swell make more and have it for weeks to come. How else can you use it?
- Give it as a gift ... everyone loves a home-made edible gift
- Slather on hot buttery toast or crumpets
- Warm through and dollop on top of vanilla ice-cream
- Slather onto a crepe, sprinkle with walnuts and roll up
Do you see where I’m taking you with this...so many options! Well worth making the full batch. Get ahead, be organised and make it the day before, hell, make it the week before!
The Pear Wafers
How pretty do they look, right? Totally optional for you to add these but they look gorgeous and they transformed the roulade from wow to WOW.
Make them whilst the sponge is cooling. Cut the pears wafer thin and coat in sugar on both sides. Lay them flat on a lined baking tray and 120C for 15 mins and then flip them over and bake again for another 10-15 mins. Keep an eye of then and as soon as you see that sugar turning slightly golden, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. They don't take long and in next to no time you’ll have thin, crispy, sweet pear wafers.
For more seasonal recipes make sure to check out these fab recipes:
Gingerbread Pear Roulade
Ginger pear compote
- 450 g 10 pears, peeled cored and diced
- 150 g 1 Braeburn apples, , peeled cored and finely diced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 120 ml water
- 300 g caster sugar
- 2 balls stem ginger, chopped
- 5 large eggs, room temperature and separated
- 110 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 2 tbsp cornflour (corn starch)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ fine salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 135 g light brown sugar
- 85 g molasses
- 85 g golden syrup
- 30 g unsalted butter, melted
- 250 g mascarpone, room temperature
- 200 ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 60 g granulated sugar
- 2 pears , thinly sliced
- 60 g pecans, chopped, optional
- Place a couple of saucers in the freezer and sterilise your jars. Do this by washing the jars and lids thoroughly in warm, soapy water and then placing them in a low heat oven until required.
- Place the pears, apples, lemon zest and juice, ground ginger and water into a heavy-based saucepan and over medium heat and cook for 15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Add the caster sugar and stem ginger, and continue to heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn the heat to high and cook at a rapid boil for 20-30 minutes, frequently stirring to prevent the bottom from sticking, until the fruit has thickened.
- Remove from the heat and place a small dollop onto the cold saucer. Push your finger through the dollop, and if it stays separate, the compote is ready. If it isn't ready, then return the pan to the heat for another five minutes before testing. Ladle immediately into sterilised jars leaving 2cm from the top and seal immediately with a screw-top lid. Cool completely before using on. NOTE: this recipe makes more than is needed.
- Pre-heat oven to 165°C (325°F) and line and grease a 33cmx23cm (13inx9in) baking pan with parchment paper and grease the paper too. Sift the flour, cornflour, ground ginger, salt and baking powder twice and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks on medium speed until creamy and slightly thickened. Slowly add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until thick and incorporated.
- Add the wet ingredients: molasses, golden syrup and melted butter and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients: sifted flour, cornflour, ground ginger, salt and baking powder and fold through until just combined.
- In a separate bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add a quarter to the batter and fold through using a large spatular, then fold through the remaining whites. Pour into the prepared baking pan and smooth.
- Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed.
- Whilst waiting for the sponge to bake, lay a tea towel flat on a table and dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar (or a combination of the two). Once you have removed the baking tray from the oven, flip the sponge onto the tea towel and then carefully remove the baking paper. (refer to my images above). Whilst still hot, roll the teatowel with the sponge into a tight roll and set it aside to cool completely.
- Keeping the temprature of the oven the same, slices the pears finely. Press each slice into the caster sugar making sure to shake any excess off.
- Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Flip each slice over and bake for another 15minutes. Kep and eagle eye on them and remove when the sugar on the pear starts to caramelise and turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool until crisp.
- Place the mascarpone cream into a bowl and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Combine the two along with the vanilla bean paste and beat until just combined.
- Once the sponge has fully chilled then spread two thirds of the mascarpone cream over the sponge and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Then spread ½ a cup of pear compote onto the cream and sread out. Add more if needed. At one of the short ends of the spong, it will already be lifted from rolling in the tea towel. Re-roll the sponge starting at this end and place on your serving plate.
- Spoon remaining mascarpone cream on top, sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until cream has set a bit. This makes it easier to cut. Place pear wafers on the top and serve.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.