Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chocolate Chestnut Roulade

Before I share with you the deliciousness of this thoroughly festive pud, I plead with you to click here. I think that Jeanne says it all really. Today is the last day of the Menu for Hope campaign - you have a terrific chance of winning a great prize and the children of Lesotho really will benefit from your contribution. Go on. It is only £5 and will only take a moment. There is still a great chance to win a private wine tasting for 8 hosted by none other than yours truly. But there are lots of other fantastic prizes too - please take a look. Thank you.

Now then. Do you like chocolate?

I thought as much. Do you like sweetened chestnuts?

If so, this is the pudding for you. A typical French Christmas pudding the 'bûche de Noel' (or Christmas Log') is often the preferred choice for children who aren't so keen on rich fruit cake. This version is perhaps more suited to the grown ups though - it is dark, moist and really rather wicked.

The recipe is essentially one pertaining to good old Delia, but I've changed this slightly. I found the chestnut filling too runny so added a little more mascarpone. I didn't have any whole chestnuts and I used a little less cream in the middle. Click here for the original version, or take a look below for mine...

Chocolate Chestnut Roulade
(serves 8-10)

For the roulade -
2oz cocoa powder
6 eggs, separated
5oz golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar to dust
For the filling -
3oz/250g tin of sweetened crème de marrons
1 tablespoon Cognac
3oz mascarpone
1oz icing sugar
5 fl oz double cream

1. Preheat oven to 190C. Line a shallow baking tin (9 by 13 inches) with greased baking paper, leaving the paper sticking around an inch above the sides of the tin. To do this, cut a sheet larger than the tray and then cut diagonal slits at each corner.

2. Beat together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla with an electric whisk until doubled in size and pale and creamy.

3. In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Carefully fold the whites into the yolk mixture, taking care to keep as much air in as possible. Finally, fold in the cocoa.

4. Bake for 20 minutes and then leave to cool in the tin.

5. Meanwhile mix the filling ingredients together, with the exception of the cream.

6. Cut a large sheet of baking paper and dust with icing sugar. Turn the roulade out onto the sheet of paper. Spread with the chestnut mixture, leaving a border of around 3/4 inch around the edge.

7. Whip the cream until spreadable and place on top of the chestnut cream.

8. Very carefully roll the roulade up widthways using the paper rather than your hands. It will crack, so don't worry. This adds to the rustic look of this dessert! Keeping it in the paper, place in the fridge so that it holds its shape a little better.

9. Remove from fridge around twenty minutes before you want to eat it. Unwrap the paper and sprinkle with more icing sugar, if required. Slice and enjoy!

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