CHOCOLATE & HAZELNUT YULE LOG
SERVES 8 PREPARATION TIME 45 minutes COOKING TIME 60 minutes (plus cooling time)
4 large free-range eggs, separated 2 tbsp Frangelico or nut liqueur Pinch of salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 100g caster sugar 65g plain flour, sieved 50g hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, chopped, to sprinkle Icing sugar, to dust Cocoa powder, to dust Edible flowers and bought mini meringues, to decorate
BOOZY FIGS IN PORT
750ml port 180ml water 1 vanilla pod, split 375g caster sugar 500g good-quality dried figs, stalks trimmed
175g mascarpone 85g cream cheese, at room temperature 85g hazelnut butter (available from health food stores) 85g maple syrup 50g hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, chopped 175ml pure cream
1. For the figs, preheat oven to 200°C. Wash two 1L glass jars. Heat in oven for 10 minutes to sterilise. Sterilise the rubber seals and lids by boiling in a saucepan of water for 10 minutes. Dry with paper towel.
2. Combine port, water, vanilla and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Add the figs. Simmer over very low heat for 40 minutes or until tender but still holding their shape. Leave to cool slightly. Reserve 8 figs and ½ cup syrup to serve. Transfer remaining figs in syrup to sterilised jars. Seal and place upside-down in the fridge for 24 hours to create a vacuum. Store for up to 12 months (see tip).
3. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan forced. Spray a 33cm x 25cm x 2cm Swiss roll pan with oil. Line with baking paper. Spray with oil.
4. Combine the yolks, Frangelico, salt, vanilla extract and half the sugar in a bowl. Use electric beaters to whisk for 5-7 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Gradually fold in flour until just combined. Do not overmix.
5. In a separate clean bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating at high speed until sugar dissolves. Gently fold the meringue into the yolk mixture in 3 batches. Spread the mixture over prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until sponge is golden and springs back when lightly pushed. Cool sponge for 3 minutes, dust with icing sugar then immediately turn out onto a large sheet of baking paper. Using the paper as a guide, roll up firmly from the short side. Leave to cool, seam-side down, for 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, for the hazelnut filling, use an electric mixer to beat the mascarpone and cream cheese until well combined. Add the hazelnut butter, maple syrup and hazelnuts. Mix until well combined. With motor running, slowly add the cream, beating until soft peaks form. Cover and place in the fridge until required.
7. Carefully unroll the sponge and spread with two-thirds of the hazelnut filling. Sprinkle with half the chopped hazelnuts, leaving a 2cm border on 1 short side. Using the paper as a guide, re-roll the sponge. Discard the paper. Place the log, seam-side down, on a serving plate. Cover completely with the remaining hazelnut filling. Cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours or until firm.
8. To serve, dust with a little cocoa and use a fork to form curved lines in the hazelnut mixture. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Decorate the log with flowers and meringues. Top with reserved sliced boozy figs. Drizzle with reserved syrup.
TIP: Serve leftover figs with ice-cream, or give as Christmas gifts.