A chocolate log blog without a chocolate log recipe? With the Christmas season in full swing, pressure has been mounting to correct this omission. What to bake? Actually, it wasn't that difficult, a recipe I've been wanting to try has been lurking in my pile of dusty magazines & cuttings since 2005 - better late than never! It's a chocolate chestnut roulade from I'm no longer sure where.
This is what I did:
- Lined a 33 x 23cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
- Melted 150g dark chocolate - I used Green & Black's 72% cook's chocolate.
- Separated 6 large eggs.
- Whisked whites until stiff (actually CT did this bit)
- In a separate bowl, whisked yolks with 175g caster sugar until pale and custard like.
- Whisked in the melted chocolate.
- Folded in the egg whites 1/3 at a time using a large metal spoon
- Poured mixture into tin and baked in a pre-heated oven at 180C (gas 4) for 25 mins - cake well risen, lightly browned and spongy to touch.
- Left to cool slightly then turned out onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with caster sugar and removed backing paper.
- Left to cool completely whilst made filling.
- Whipped 200ml double cream until soft peaks formed (again can't claim all the credit as CT did this bit too).
- Mixed in 4 heaped tbsp sweetened chestnut puree.
- Spread this onto cooled sponge.
- Attempted to roll the whole thing up - here disaster struck! It was quite thick and didn't seem to want to roll and my impatience didn't help. I finally managed to cobble something together that vaguely resembled a log shape. What a learning curve. Next time and there will be a next time, I'll use less sponge mixture and try and take more care when rolling.
Despite the original panic induced by the imperfectly rolled log, I actually like the fissures of the finished article which remind me of a pine log with deeply ridged bark. CT managed to hack two chunks off for us to try - his strength must be returning (he even managed to whip the cream and whisk the eggs, so he deserved his extra large slice).
The sponge has plenty of body despite being mainly eggs - it almost has a brownie consistency, sweet, moist and dense yet somehow light at the same time. This makes the perfect foil for the cream and chestnut filling, which offsets the sweetness of the sponge and has a contrasting texture and creaminess which creates a divine whole. Oh hell, forget complex analysis, it's just truly scrumptious. There would be no shame in presenting this as a centre piece for a Christmas tea or as pudding for a special dinner. Or like us, no special occasion required.