There’s life after summer holidays. And there’s no need to make it harder than what’s absolutely necessary. So today this is my little tribute to make amends wherever possible. There are few things that have the power to transport us back to our school days like ‘Phoskitos*’ have, gastronomically speaking. Truth be told, there were often more of those other types of treats, namely ‘Pantera Rosa*’ (‘Pink Panther’ in Spanish), ‘Trigretón*’ (something resembling ‘Big Tiger’), and a few more. But undeniably, in this particular case, Phoskitos (such is these chocolate & cream rolls’ trade name in Spain) meant quite a party whenever they fell into our hands, hands that we repeatedly licked until dinnertime! Of course, homemade Phoskitos, like so many other things, will never be an exact replica of the store-bought version, but therein lie their charm and greatness.
Now and then, you may have witnessed how some kids usually make funny faces (yet sometimes not) at a homemade treat that is commonly consumed in its processed version. So much so that they even put it aside and dismiss it entirely without as much as batting an eyelid should it not be wrapped in a fancy and familiar package, with no less than fancy letters all over it. I do witness this scene quite often and, initially, I can hardly believe it. We all know that, apart from appearance, taste will never be exactly same. Not to mention, the texture. Processed baked goods have a perfect look —after all, they are mass-produced by highly sophisticated machines in a matter of minutes—, and their flavour is quite a party to our most naughty taste buds.
However, after giving the previous scene a second thought, I must admit I perfectly identify with that feeling. Besides the fact that I have never had very much of a sweet tooth (incredible but it is true!), as a little girl I wasn’t what you’d call the biggest eater in town either. I could happily spend the day with just a few fries and a yoghurt in my stomach. And it has been in the course of time that I have learned to appreciate almost any type of food and to take an interest in new flavours. And to value real food. So fear not! That spiel was not intended in a ‘kids-don’t-get-enough-healthy-food-these-days’ kind of way. This sort of statements is, generally, unfounded; it is all a question of who we are the moment we take a look.
Even so, regardless of the nostalgic note, I must admit that, for some time now, even before I decided to start this blog, I’m finding it hard to buy processed baked goods. Some of the most popular products are almost a heroic deed to replicate at home, but there are others that are so easy to make that it is absolutely worth the effort. And these homemade Phoskitos are a good example; with just a bunch of most pantry regulars —flour, eggs, sugar, and chocolate—, and in not much more than an hour (well, in whatever time our favourite TV show is on), we can enjoy a dainty morsel, free from unnecessary, unhealthy ingredients. And we also aren’t going to spend the day baking these beauties, so get down to work…
So, who wants to join the fun?
* ‘Phoskitos’, ‘Pantera Rosa’ and ‘Trigretón’ are well-known Spanish treats, highly appreciated among children particularly.
- 4 eggs (L)†
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 g) sugar
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
- ½ cup (55 g) icing or confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ¾ oz (250 g) baking chocolate (dark or milk chocolate, to taste)
- 1 oz (25 g) cocoa butter††
- Preheat oven (electric) to 340ºF /170ºC.
- Cover a sheet pan (about 14x18-inches / 36 x 46 cm) with parchment paper and set aside.
- Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in a large bowl and the egg whites in another large bowl. Cover and bring to room temperature.
- Beat the yolks with half the sugar (¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon) vigorously until thick, pale yellow and fluffy. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle the remaining sugar (¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon) gradually, one tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Fold in the whites mixture into the yolks mixture gently with a rubber spatula until totally combined. Add the whites in three times, folding them in as gently as you can, so that they keep their volume.
- Now sift flour and sugar into the egg mixture and fold in until completely incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet making sure is evenly spread. You can use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. You can also shake the pan gently back and forth, left to right, until the batter surface smoothes perfectly.
- With a toothpick, get rid of any eventual air bubbles that may have arisen on the surface.
- Place the sheet pan in the centre of the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until just dry.
- Immediately, upon removing the cake from the oven, invert it onto a clean parchment paper, remove carefully the one we already used for baking and roll up the sponge snugly over the new parchment paper.
- Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Whisk whipping cream, sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract at high speed until stiff peaks form and a spreadable consistency is obtained. Do not over whisk or it will curdle and you will end up making butter.
- Use it immediately.
- In a heatproof bowl, melt chopped chocolate and cocoa butter, either in the microwave —on lower to medium heat, stirring in short intervals (10-20 seconds)—, or bain-marie, whatever suits you the best, but don’t forget to stir and stir so that chocolate doesn’t burn.
- Remove the bowl from heat just when everything is almost melted and stir until it melts completely and both ingredients are totally combined; it should look velvety smooth and shinny. (If our chocolate coating is still too runny, let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens.)
- Once our cake is completely cool, unroll the sponge taking care not to break it and spread with the filling evenly with an offset spatula.
- Roll it up again, this time without any parchment paper.
- Wrap it up in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Cut off both ends to level the cut and divide the roll into 10-12, 5-inch slices.
- Place every slice on a cooling rack and coat with the chocolate coating. It is advisable to place a plate under the cooling rack to collect the excess chocolate; we will need it too.
- Chill in the refrigerator so the chocolate coating can set before serving (if it is not too hot outside, we can let it set at room temperature.)
Keep refrigerated (especially in case of high temperatures) and covered for 3 days.
- ††In the event you don’t have cocoa butter on tap, you can use ¼ cup (55 g) unsalted butter plus ¼ cup (60 ml) water instead. Final consistency will slightly vary.
- It is very important that the cake cools while it’s still all rolled up, otherwise it will break when trying to roll it (if it were cold).
- Don’t even think of getting rid of the scraps, you’ll need them as they will give you the necessary energy to coat your Phoskitos without giving in to temptation...