Jamie Oliver’s CHRISTMAS
CHOCOLATE LOG Sweet chestnut purée, honeyed cream & crushed honeycomb filling
SERVES 12 TO 14 TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR, PLUS COOLING SPONGE • 4 large free-range eggs • 75g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting • 75g self-raising flour • 2 tablespoons quality cocoa powder • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste • 2 tablespoons caster sugar FILLING • 1 x 250g tin of sweetened chestnut purée • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon • 200ml double cream • 1 tablespoon runny honey • 1 Crunchie bar BUTTERCREAM • 150g quality dark chocolate (70%) • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature) • 150g icing sugar 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°f/gas 4. For the sponge, line a 25cm x 30cm baking tray with greaseproof paper. Separate the eggs. In an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of sea salt. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar, then, one-by-one, whisk in the egg yolks until really pale and light. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, add the vanilla bean paste, then fold everything together with a large metal spoon so you keep in as much air as possible. Spoon the mixture into the lined tray, gently and evenly spread it out, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just cooked through and springy to the touch. 2 Place a large sheet of greaseproof paper (35cm x 45cm) on a flat surface and evenly sprinkle over the caster sugar from a height. While it’s still hot and flexible, turn the sponge out on to the paper. Peel off and discard the baked piece of greaseproof. With one of the longest sides in front of you, fold up the excess paper, then roll up the sponge with the paper inside (as it cools, this will set the shape but prevent the sponge from cracking). Leave to cool. 3 For the filling, mix the chestnut purée and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the honey. To assemble, unroll the sponge so it’s flat, removing the paper. Spread all over with the chestnut purée, followed by the cream, then smash and sprinkle over the Crunchie bar or honeycomb. Re-roll and pop into the fridge. Meanwhile, make your buttercream. 4 Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then remove and leave to cool. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until pale, then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the icing sugar and cool melted chocolate. 5 Take the log out of the fridge, chop off a quarter at an angle – that’s the branch – and position it on your serving board like in the picture, using a splodge of buttercream to keep it in place. Evenly cover the whole log with buttercream, then use a fork to decorate it. Dust with extra icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, plastic Bambi figures, whatever you like – go to town!
“This Yule log brings back loads of happy memories for me – it was one of the first desserts I ever made as a kid, at Christmastime, of course! This is my slightly more grown-up version, which is really good fun to make and decorate.”
CLASSIC MINCE PIES Flaky pastry, mincemeat, sweet squash, almonds & maple syrup
MAKES 24 | TOTAL TIME: 2 HOURS 15 MINUTES, PLUS COOLING FILLING • 1 butternut squash (1.2kg) • 1 x 820g jar of quality mincemeat • 4 tablespoons maple syrup • 100g blanched almonds PASTRY • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting • 100g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting • 250g unsalted butter (cold), plus extra for greasing • 3 large eggs • 1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°f/gas 4. Roast the whole squash for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Once cool enough to handle, halve and de-seed, then scoop half the soft flesh into a bowl to cool (you only need half here, so keep the remaining roasted squash for another recipe). 2 Meanwhile, to make the pastry, sieve the flour and icing sugar on to a clean work surface. Cube the cold butter, then use your thumbs and fingertips to rub it into the flour and sugar until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. Beat 2 eggs and the milk and add to the mixture, then gently work it together until you have a ball of dough – don’t work it too much at this stage as you want to keep it crumbly and short. Flour your clean work surface, pat the dough into a flat round, flour it lightly, wrap in cling film and pop it into the fridge for at least half an hour. 3 Lightly grease two 12-hole muffin tins with butter. Add the mincemeat and maple syrup to the bowl of cooled squash, then chop and add the almonds and mix together. Roll out the pastry on a clean flour-dusted surface to 3mm thick. Use a 10cm pastry cutter to cut out 24 circles of dough, then ease and press them into your prepared tins. Equally divide up the filling, then cut out 8cm circles from your leftover pastry to top the pies, crimping the edges together as you go. You can also add pastry shapes to decorate, depending on how many offcuts you have. Brush the tops of the pies with beaten egg, also using it to help you stick on any pastry decorations you’ve cut out. 4 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the middle of the oven, or until golden. Leave to cool and firm up for 10 minutes in the tins, then carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack. Dust lightly from a height with icing sugar and serve. Lovely hot with a drizzle of custard, or warm or cold with a cup of tea. You can also box them up for another day, and they’re great as a gift, too.
“I love all mince pies at Christmas. This is my nod to the more traditional variety, but I think these are just a bit more interesting than usual, as the addition of delicious, sweet squash really lightens the classic mix.”
Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House. Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook). Photographer: David Loftus.