Chocolate hazelnut yule log

Chocolate hazelnut yule log
Chocolate hazelnut yule log

Right now, my house is full of packing boxes and I’ve sadly put away all of my baking kit.

However, over the weekend I had to do one last Christmas-themed bake but not something that would take up too much time.

This chocolate hazelnut yule log looks very impressive but only comprises three elements – a Genoise sponge, a flavoured cream and a ganache.

The tip with a Genoise sponge, as I found out doing a shift at a local bakery, is to use your hands to mix the eggs with the flour. You can feel when it is fully incorporated, but also apply a light touch so you don’t knock the air out.

The cream is a total cheat and is made by combining whipped thickened cream, hazelnut spread (aka Nutella) and crushed almonds.

And of course, you need your chocolate ganache bark to cover the whole lot made by piping rows with a star-shaped nozzle.

Chocolate hazelnut yule log

Chocolate sponge
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
60g self-raising flour
40g Dutch cocoa powder

Hazelnut cream
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsps hazelnut spread
Handful hazelnuts, chopped

Chocolate ganache
300ml thickened cream
300g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease a 30 × 20cm Swiss roll tin, and line with non-stick paper or baking parchment, pushing it into the corners.

For the sponge, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully fold together, using your fingers (or a slotted spoon), until all the cocoa and flour are incorporated into the egg mixture. (Be careful not to beat any of the air out of the mixture).

Pour into the lined tin and spread evenly out into the corners. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly darlkned and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the tin.

While the cake is still warm roll so that it cools in shape and avoids cracking.

For the cream, combine whipped, thickened cream with hazelnut spread until fully combined. Pour in the chopped hazelnuts and stir until combined. I think at this stage, it’s worth placing back in the fridge to firm up a bit before constructing the log.

For the ganache, chop chocolate into small pieces so that it melts easily, place into heatproof bowl.

Heat cream in saucepan on a low-medium heat until bubbles begin to appear then remove and pour over chocolate. Whisk until really smooth and then allow to cool. Again, you may need to place back in the fridge to achieve the right consistency – it will need to be set enough to retain its structure, but not too solid that it can be piped.

Unroll the cooled sponge, and cover with a layer of hazelnut cream. Roll back tightly, then cut a third of the way down the sponge to create the log effect.

Pipe rows of ganache along the length of the log and cover the ends in circles so that the entire cake is covered.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

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Passionfruit curd pavlova

Passionfruit curd pavlova
Passionfruit curd pavlova

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, so I’m a bit behind with my posting. The main reason is because we are on the final countdown before our 9-month sabbatical and this weekend I’m going to be packing up my kitchen.

However, with family here from the UK, I couldn’t resist making a classic pavlova over the weekend.

I say classic, but this recipe from Neil Perry is anything but!

It’s not slow cooked at a low temperature as per my other recipes. It’s baked at 160C for only 1 hour whereas I’m used to 120C for 1.5 hours.

I also love this recipe because it uses both the whites for the meringue and yolks to create a passionfruit curd which is folded into the whipped cream topping.

It was absolutely delicious, but most importantly it had a great rise and crunchy shell.

Neil Perry’s Passionfruit Pavlova

315g eggwhites (about 10)
525g caster sugar
3tsp cornflour
3tsp white vinegar
2tsp vanilla extract

Passionfruit curd
4 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
80ml passionfruit pulp (from about 4 passionfruit), plus 80ml extra, to serve
50g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1½tsp lime juice

Vanilla cream
1 litre (4 cups) pouring cream
2tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 200C.

Whisk eggwhites and a pinch salt in an electric mixer on low speed until they start to break up, then increase speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form (2 minutes). Add one-third of sugar and whisk to combine, then gradually add remaining sugar and whisk on high> speed until stiff peaks form (2-3 minutes). Fold through cornflour, vinegar and vanilla, then form into a 24cm-diameter round with edges slightly higher than centre on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Reduce oven to 160C and bake pavlova until lightly browned on the outside and cooked on the inside (25-35 minutes), turn oven off and stand in oven for 10 minutes, then remove and cool to room temperature (1 hour).

Meanwhile, for passionfruit curd, place yolks in a heatproof bowl, whisk to combine. Combine sugar, passionfruit pulp and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stir occasionally until butter melts and sugar dissolves (5 minutes). Add one-third of passionfruit mixture to yolks, whisking continuously, then return to pan and stir continuously until thickened (3 minutes). Do not boil. Add lime juice, remove from heat, pass through a coarse sieve into a container. Cover closely with plastic wrap, cool (10 minutes), then refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).

For vanilla cream, whisk cream, sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks in a bowl.

Fold passionfruit curd through vanilla cream, then form quenelles of mixture and spoon over pavlova. Top with extra passionfruit pulp and serve.

Note: I didn’t do the quenelles and added 2 sliced kiwi fruit.