Chestnut yule log
Earthy and buttery chestnuts take this incredible Christmas dessert to the next level, score them before roasting to stop them exploding in the oven and enjoy caramelised on top of this Christmas showstopper.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Put a cross in each chestnut with a sharp knife. Roast for 30 mins until splitting. Cover with a tea towel for 10 mins; peel.
- Put the peeled chestnuts, sugar, butter and 1 tbsp water in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Cook for 6 mins, shufing the pan, until the nuts are coated in caramel. Tip onto a lined tray. Cool.
- Reduce the oven temperature to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C and line a 20 x 30 x 4cm cake tin with baking paper. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk for 10 mins or until thick, pale and creamy. Add the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour and cocoa. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 25 mins. Remove from the oven, cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 25-35 mins until set but still warm.
- Meanwhile, make the ganache. Heat the cream in a pan until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and vanilla. Stir, then set aside for 5 mins. Stir again to make a glossy ganache. Chill for at least 30 mins.
- Whisk the cooled ganache for 1-2 mins until pale and thick. Divide between 2 bowls. Finely chop 2⁄3 of the chestnuts and stir through half the ganache. Return to the fridge.
- Turn the warm sponge onto a board and peel off the paper. Use a large, serrated knife to halve it, cutting into two 10 x 30cm pieces. Next, use the same knife to carefully cut each piece horizontally into 3 thin 10 x 30cm layers. If it helps, get down at eye level. Spread each with 1 heaped tbsp chestnut ganache.
- Tightly roll a piece of sponge from a short end to make a cylinder. Place at the short end of another piece and roll to enclose. Repeat using all the layers.
- Place the rolled cake on a lined plate. Spread the plain ganache over the outside, leaving the top bare. Slide out the paper, then press the halved Flake bars around the outside. Top with the reserved chestnuts, plus crystallised cranberries and bay leaves, if using.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Freeze undecorated. In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.
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