Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Chestnut Cream and Chocolate Yule Log (Buche De Noel)

Buche De Noel (Chestnut and Chocolate Yule Log)
Buche De Noel (Chestnut and Chocolate Yule Log)
Last year's Yule log with some of my handmade icing

This is another one of my favourite. As much as I love the traditional Christmas cake, sometime I think it's much far too rich and heavy. Lots of my friends don't really like the dried fruits so this is a good alternative for Christmas entertaining. And the icing Christmas tree and holly figurine and the light dust of icing sugar just make this a truly special festive celebration treat.......let it snow....let it snow.....!


4 large eggs, at room temperature
145g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened pure cocoa powder
40g cornflour
75g plain flour
25g ground almonds
a large pinch of baking powder
3 tbsp almond-flavoured liqueur, such as Ameratto or Crème de Amandes, for brushing
Icing sugar, for dusting

For the chestnut filling:

210g unsweetened chestnut purée
2 1/2 tbsp almond-flavoured liqueur, such as Ameratto or Crème de Amandes
60g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml whipping cream

For the Chocolate Ganache:

185ml whipping cream
50g unsalted butter, room temperature, softened
300g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa content, roughly break into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a 25 x 30cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper.

Beat the eggs with a whisk for about 6-8 minutes until starting to become thick and creamy. If you're lucky enough to have an electric which, use that and it should takes about 2 minutes. Add a table spoon of sugar at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the sugar has completely dissolve - the mixture should not feel gritty. Beat in the vanilla.

Sift the cocoa, cornflour, plain flour, ground almonds and baking powder together twice. This give you a lighter sponge cake. Add half of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and carefully fold it in using a spatula, taking not to beat out all the air. Add the remaining flour mixture and fold it through again, be as gentle as you can. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepare tin and smooth over. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden all over and it should spring back when given a gentle poke. Or test it by inserting a knife and it should come out clean. Remove from oven and invert the cake into a clean tea towel that has been line with a baking paper and dusted with some icing sugar, this will help to prevent the cake from sticking to the paper. Peel off the baking paper used to lined the tin and discard. Brush the top of the cake with the almond liqueur. Using the tea towel to help you, carefully roll up the cake and the baking paper lengthwise. Place the roll up cake on a cake rack and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the chestnut purée, almond liqueur, sugars and vanilla until very smooth. Whip the cream to a firm peak, then fold into the chestnut mixture. Cover and chill until ready to use.

When the cake is completely cool, carefully unroll, discarding the baking paper and spread the chestnut cream thinly over the top. Roll up again, place the seam side down on a serving platter, and refrigerated until needed.

To make the ganache, heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until they are completely melted. Allow to cool slightly and then beat in the softened butter until the mixture is smooth and a consistent colour. Chill in the fridge for about an hour until a spreadable consistency.

When ready to ice the cake, cut , on a diagonal about a quarter of the cake from one end of the log. Spread a little of the ganache on the cut side of the small piece of cake and adhere it to one side of the log to make a small 'branch'. Spread the rest of the ganache over the entire cake, then run a fork over the top to create a bark-like effect, complete with knots. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This allow the cake to rest so it has the right consistency and flavour.

When ready to serve, liberally dust the cake with icing sugar, to represent snow and garnish as desired.

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