Well it is the season for festive baking and this adpatation of Nigellas Yule recipe, is super simple, and flour free!
Chocolate and pears is such a great combination, so I've poached some pears in vanilla & fresh ginger and then I've used the poaching juice to make a caramel sauce.
So you will need to start with:
2 pears, peeled & quartered
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 small knuckle of ginger sliced, use the skins too
Enough water to cover.
150ml double cream
Poach the pears until soft to touch, then drain and let them cool down. Slice and set them aside for later. Remove the ginger.
Now let the poaching liquid reduced until you have thick golden syrup. This will take a while but once the syrup has reduced and is thick and bubbling, DO NOT take your eyes off it or it will burn.
Take off the heat and let the bubbles calm down a bit.
Add the cream and butter and stir.
You should have velvety smooth sauce.
Leave it to cool in the pan and keep in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use. You could use this over vanilla ice cream for any midnight sweet cravings!!
Now for the Yule log:
6 large eggs
150 grams caster sugar
50 grams cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175 grams dark chocolate (chopped)
250 grams icing sugar
225 grams soft butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of cream, just in case the frosting is too thick to work with
Preheat your oven to 180c.
Prepare you swiss roll baking tray, with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks, add 3 tablespoons of the 150g of sugar and whisk to incorporate.
In a separate bowl, whisk the yokes, remaining sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder to the yoke.
Use a tablespoon of the egg whites to loosen up the yoke mixture and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Pour into your baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
Once baked, turn out onto parchment paper and let it cool completely.
Now for the filling and frosting.
Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
In a mixer, add the icing sugar and butter and vanilla and on a medium setting beat until creamy.
Add the melted chocolate and keep mixing until all incorporated.
Now at this point, I had a panic until my baking guru popped by at the right time. If your frosting is too thick to work with, you need it to be the consistency of soft butter, then add the cream and combine.
Now for the construction!
So on the turned out sponge, add a thin layer of the chocolate filling and lay out your pears. Mark the longest edge of the sponge so your first roll will be tight.
Now with the courage of your convictions, ROLL!!! Use the parchment to help you grip the sponge and roll it tightly! When you get the end, be firm.
Cut on a diagonal at the top and bottom of the roll and place to make your branches.
Now cover your yule log with the frosting, making sure all the ends and bottom gets sealed.
Now get creative! It's not about perfection so with your palette knife make your frosting look like bark.
Now is the time to have fun decorating!!! We made some meringue mushrooms and added festive holly leaves with a dusting of icing sugar!
Serve with a chilled sweet wine, cream and a drizzle of the caramel sauce!