This rich, decadent alternative Christmas dessert has all you need for the perfect Christmas dinner finale. Luxurious ice cream, bitter chocolate and cherries steeped in a brandy-infused syrup – this easy arctic roll recipe combines all of the most delicious flavours.
- Put the ice cream in a bowl. Fold through most of the cherries, 75g (3oz) chocolate and 3 tbsp jam. Return to the freezer to firm up. Spoon the ice cream onto a 20cm (8in) sheet of nonstick baking paper and tightly roll into a sausage. Wrap in clingfilm and freeze for 4 hours, or until solid.
- Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Melt 150g (5oz) chocolate in the microwave; leave to cool. Meanwhile, put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Whisk in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour with a metal spoon, being careful not to overmix.
- Grease a 30cm x 20cm (12in x 8in) Swiss roll tin with butter and line with nonstick baking paper. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.
- Transfer the sponge to a sheet of nonstick baking paper. Spread with the remaining jam, leaving a 1cm (1/2in) border. Unwrap the ice cream and position on one short edge of the sponge. Roll up the sponge around the ice cream, using the paper to help. Freeze in the paper for at least 2 hours.
- In a small pan set over a low heat, combine the reserved cherry syrup and 2 tbsp caster sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened and sticky. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Melt the remaining 75g (3oz) chocolate in the microwave, then set aside to cool a little.
- Remove the roll from the freezer; unwrap and discard the paper. Transfer to a serving platter, seam-side down. Dust with the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and cherry syrup, then top with the remaining cherries. Serve immediately.
Chocolate centre: Fill a piping bag with chocolate ganache; pipe a 20cm x 2-3cm (8in x 1in) thick line on nonstick baking paper. Transfer to a baking tray; freeze for 2 hours. Continue from step 1, placing the strip of ganache in the middle of the plain ice cream before rolling. Continue with the recipe as instructed.
Marbled sponge: In step 2, swap the dark chocolate for white. Halve the combined batter, adding 3 tbsp cocoa powder to one half. Alternate the batters as you spoon them into the baking tin, then drag a skewer through it to create a marble effect.
Gingerbread arctic roll: For the filling, stir 150g (5oz) crushed ginger nut biscuits through 500ml (17fl oz) caramel ice cream. For the sponge, replace the caster sugar with light muscovado sugar and mix in 1/2 tsp each ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Once cool, spread with toffee sauce before rolling. Decorate with mini gingerbread men.
Use a good quality ice cream – soft-scoop or whipped versions will deflate quickly, causing the arctic roll to collapse. If at any point the ice cream becomes too soft to work with, simply return it to the freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up before continuing.
When whisking your sponge mixture (step 2), keep going until the batter has at least doubled in size. This will ensure a light and airy texture when baked.
Make sure your ice cream is completely frozen before rolling it in the cooled sponge. A solid centre is a must for giving the roll stability and will help prevent serious cracks.
Take out of the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving so it thaws enough to slice. Work quickly when decorating (step 6) to ensure the ice cream doesn’t melt. Avoid freezing once decorated or the chocolate will turn brittle.
See more Christmas dessert recipes
As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.