Festive yule log
Also known by its French name, ‘bûche de Noel’, the Yule Log references the ancient Norse and later Christian tradition of burning a log on the hearth fire, to bring prosperity in the new year. This recipe, featuring decadent Lindt chocolate, is sure to be a firm family favourite at any Christmas dinner party.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4.
Grease and line a 35 x 26cm swiss roll tin, making sure the paper comes up higher than the sides of the tin and is neatly folded at the corners, for an even bake.
Mix the ground almonds, flour, cocoa powder and salt together, then place to one side.
Place the egg whites into a clean mixing bowl and whisk to form stiff peaks. Add half of the sugar and beat until thick and glossy.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the ground almonds, flour, cocoa powder and salt, followed by the egg white.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until risen and springy. Once baked, remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes. Brush the amaretto (if using) over the sponge.
Dust a large sheet of baking parchment with icing sugar and carefully turn the sponge out onto the parchment.
Measure 2.5cm (1 inch) from the edge of one of the longer sides and lightly score a line down that edge. Carefully roll the up the log starting from that scored edge, using the dusted sheet of greaseproof to help with rolling. Leave the roll to one side, sitting on its rolled edge, to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, pour the double cream into a large mixing bowl and whip into soft peaks, then fold in the orange zest and place to one side.
Unroll the sponge and cover with an even layer of cream, then re-roll the log and place on a chopping board. Slice off one end at an angle and place the log on a serving board. Arrange the offcut piece on the main roll to resemble a branch coming off the log.
To make the topping, break the Lindt cooking chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof bowl over a bain-marie. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate has melted, and allow to cool at room temperature. Once the chocolate has cooled, beat the icing sugar and butter in a freestanding mixer until light and fluffy. Pour the cooled chocolate into the icing sugar and butter and mix until the chocolate is incorporated.
Using a spatula, spread the chocolate topping all over the Yule log. Run a fork along the icing to add bark texture and add little swirls to mimic the rings of a tree.
When you’re ready to serve, arrange holly on top, add marzipan mushrooms or your favourite decoration and dust with icing sugar.
You can make and ice the Yule log the day before, cover and refrigerate, then add the garnishes just before serving.
100g ground almonds
30g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
5 large Clarence Court Hen Eggs (separated)
125g caster sugar
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur (optional)
350ml double cream
Zest of half an orange
90g Lindt Cooking Chocolate
125g icing sugar (sieved)
110g unsalted butter (softened)