Black Forest Yule log

Serves: 8 Prepare & Cook:

Ingredients

  • 425g can cherries in syrup
  • unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 180g 60-70% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
  • 5 spinneysFOOD Free Range Eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • GANACHE FILLING:
  • 200g good-quality white chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 200ml double cream
  • CHOCOLATE BARK:
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped

Method

  • Make the ganache filling. Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the surface. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Put the cream in a pan and bring to the boil. Gradually pour the cream over the melted chocolate and stir gently until smooth. Set aside to cool, then chill for a few hours. Whisk to thicken.
  • Strain the cherries and put the syrup into a small saucepan. Simmer until thickened and reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Cut the cherries in half, return to the syrup and set aside.
  • To make the chocolate bark, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water. When melted, remove from the heat, pour onto a piece of baking paper on a chopping board and spread thinly with a palette knife. Allow to set – a short spell in the fridge will do the trick.
  • When set, snap with your hands into small shards (this won't work if the chocolate is too hard or too soft) and return to the fridge until you are ready to use. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 30cm x 20cm swiss roll tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
  • Melt the 60-70% cocoa solids chocolate in a heatproof bowl as before, then turn off the heat but keep the pan on the hob. Break the eggs into a large heatproof bowl, add the sugar and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that it doesn't touch the water. Using an electric hand whisk, beat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pale.
  • Remove from the heat, pour in the melted chocolate, add the cocoa powder and fold together. Transfer to the tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until firm but still moist. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to cool – it will shrink a little as it does so.
  • When ready to assemble your log, remove the tea towel. Place a large sheet of baking paper on a worktop and dust liberally with icing sugar. Turn the sponge out onto the icing sugar and carefully remove the base paper. Spread with two-thirds of the ganache, stopping 2-3cm before the short side furthest from you.
  • Arrange the syrup-soaked cherries evenly over the surface. Starting at the short side nearest to you and using the paper to help, roll up the sponge fairly tightly into a roulade. It will crack, but this is normal.
  • Spread the remaining ganache over the surface. Arrange the chocolate shards over the log to resemble bark on a tree. Dust lightly with cocoa powder before serving.

Top Tip

The white chocolate bark looks so striking, yet is really easy to make. Just make sure the chocolate is set before snapping it into shards.

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