Chocolate and chestnut log

Martin Blunos rounds off a perfect Christmas meal with this festively decorated yule log
By Martin Blunos
Chocolate and chestnut log
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Prep Time: plus 2-3 hrs to chill
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

  • 100 g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken up
  • 50 g unsalted butter, diced
  • 435 g unsweetened chestnut purée
  • 75 g golden caster sugar
  • 100 g extra-thick double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1 large egg
  • 75 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 150 ml full-cream milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 90 g unsalted butter, softened
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method

1. To make the filling for the log, place the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and gently melt them, stirring now and again until smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.

2. Place the chestnut puree, sugar, cream and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and blend into a silky puree: this should be the consistency of whipped butter icing, firm enough to pile into a log. If it seems too loose, chill it until it firms up sufficiently to shape.

3. Next you need a plate or stand for the log, a minimum of 30cm long. Pile the chocolate-chestnut mixture along its length and shape into a log about 20cm long. Don't worry about the bark effect at this point. Chill until set.

4. To make the snowy frosting, whisk the egg and icing sugar together in a small non-stick saucepan until smooth and then whisk in the flour.

5. Bring the milk to the boil and whisk it into the egg mixture. Cook the custard gently until it thickens, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to disperse any lumps that form. It shouldn't actually boil, but the odd bubble will ensure it's hot enough to thicken properly. Cook it for a few minutes longer, stirring constantly. Pass the custard through a sieve into a bowl, stir in the vanilla, cover with cling film and leave to cool.

6. Beat the softened butter in a bowl until light and creamy. If it's on the hard side, cream it in a food processor. Using a hand-held electric whisk, gradually mix in the cooled custard, then whisk for another few minutes on a low speed to begin with and then on a higher one, until the mixture is white and fluffy.

7. Using a palette knife, smooth this mixture over the surface of the log. Run the prongs of a fork along its length to simulate the bark and smooth the ends. Decorate as you fancy, and liberally dust with icing sugar using a tea strainer.

8. Loosely cover the log with cling film and chill for another few hours before serving. It will keep well for several days, and is at its best after it has been out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

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