Meal Type: Dessert
Cook time: 30 mins
Servings: 1 Large Yule Log
This traditional French Christmas dessert is a very rich and decadent treat. This version is filled and topped with a gorgeous chocolate and chestnut ganache – so easy to make! Antonia uses a flourless sponge for this recipe so it is a handy one for any gluten-free guests.
"I have decorated this very simply with a sprig of holly. In France, you often see the ‘bûche de Nöel’ decorated with little mushrooms and toadstools made out of marzipan or fondant icing." Antonia
- 6 Large free range eggs, separated
- 150g Golden caster sugar
- 50g Good quality cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. Cinnamon
For the filling
- 200g Dark chocolate
- 400 ml. Double cream
- 200g Chestnut purée
- 50g Icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
You will need...
- Half size fits on runners baking tray
- Mixing bowl, whisk, spatula
- A clean tea towel
- A find mesh cooling rack
- A sheet of greaseproof baking parchment
- Line your shallow baking tin with your greaseproof paper – you will need to cut a diagonal slit in each corner to fit the tin neatly. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. Sieve over the cocoa powder and whisk to combine.
- In a scrupulously clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks (be careful not to over-whisk though – they shouldn’t become dry).
- Take a large spoonful of the egg white and stir it into the chocolatey mixture to loosen it somewhat. Gradually fold in the reminder of the egg white using a large metal spoon, being careful not to knock out too much air. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin. Place a grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven and the cold shelf on the second runners. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the sponge round halfway. It should be coming away from the edges and springy on top when cooked.
- Before removing from the oven, lay a clean tea towel on top of a cooling rack and a layer of greaseproof paper on top. Turn the warm sponge out on top of the paper. Cool for a minute or two and then carefully peel back a little of the greaseproof paper that was lining the tin (now facing upwards). With a sharp knife, cut a line 1 cm in from the long edge but don’t cut right through to the bottom. This will help with rolling.
- Whilst still warm and using the towel and paper to help, roll the sponge up tightly, starting from the long edge with the cut and keeping the greaseproof paper inside so that it doesn’t stick to itself when you unroll to fill. Leave rolled up on the wire rack to cool.
- Make the filling. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl with 200ml of the cream. Place the bowl on a grid shelf in the simmering oven for 20 minutes, stirring regularly until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth, glossy ganache.
- Beat together the chestnut purée and sieved icing sugar – I like to do this in a mini processor to ensure it is very smooth. Add the chestnut mixture to the chocolate and mix to combine. Set aside to cool in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes – it needs to be a spreading consistency.
- Whip the remaining double cream (200 ml.) into soft peaks. Carefully unroll the sponge and spread with a third of the chocolate chestnut mixture. Top with the whipped cream and carefully roll back up. Cut a piece off the end of the ‘log’ on a diagonal and stick onto the side to create a branch (see photograph). Cover the log in a thin layer of the chocolate chestnut ganache, swirling with the knife to create the look of bark. You can also use the tines of a fork, if preferred.
- Decorate with a sprig of holly (or a selection of favourite Christmas ornaments) and, just before serving, dust with a snowy shower of icing sugar!
Although I usually opt to use silicone baking sheets for Aga baking, here it is best to use greaseproof paper as it is thinner when you come to roll up the sponge.
↺ It is important to remember to turn the sponge around halfway through baking as the roasting oven is hotter at the back and on the left. Rotating will ensure an even bake.
Whilst I usually melt chocolate on the top of the hob when dealing with a large quantity, I find it quicker to use the simmering oven.
The ganache is delicious but very rich – don’t be tempted to add too thick a layer to the outside. The quantity given here is enough for the filling and a thin layer to cover the log. You can of course make more, if you prefer a thicker covering – but you have been warned!"
This festive recipe has been scribed and tested by community member Antonia, who is a hard working mum with two boys. Her recipes are trialed in her much loved Aga range cooker and devoured by her family, allowing Antonia to provide accurate tips and advice on how to make the dishes a success! Go check her work out! She is a country girl, happily surrounded by an excitable Lab, her dear husband, two boys and the Cotswolds.