Sven-Hanson Britt’s Yule Log

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This almost-foolproof chocolate-y, nutty Yule log has layers of soft sponge and crunchy Nutella cornflakes. Be patient and accurate with the stacking and decoration, and you will end up with a stunner.

Serves 6

Ingredients
For the chocolate sponge:
2 egg yolks
270g sunflower oil
560g sugar
270g water
400g plain flour
105g cocoa powder
10g bicarbonate of soda
4 whole medium eggs
200ml Tia Maria, Kahlua, or dark rum

For the crunchy filling:
250g chocolate with 60% cocoa solids, chopped
150g Nutella
250g cornflakes

For the ganache coating:
500g chocolate with 60% cocoa solids, chopped
360ml double cream
40g butter, cut into cubes

For the vanilla filling:
250g mascarpone
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
50g caster sugar

For the decoration:
10 hazelnuts, toasted and grated

Method
1
For the sponge, preheat the oven to 170C.
2 Make a ‘mayonnaise’ with the egg yolks and oil by gradually adding the oil to the yolks and whisking continuously until all is combined. Set aside.
3 Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a pan.
4 Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and pour in the boiling syrup. Mix together, then add the mayonnaise and stir well.
5 Beat in the whole eggs and the alcohol, then spread the batter over a large, flat baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment to a depth of 2 ½ cm; using a palette knife to ensure it is flat.
6 Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Whilst it is warm, remove the sponge from the tray and peel off the baking parchment.
7 While the sponge cools, make the crunchy cornflake filling. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, then mix in the Nutella and stir until smooth.
8 Mix in the cornflakes, then place this mixture between two sheets of silicon paper and roll out with a rolling pin to an even depth of 1 cm thick and the same shape as the sponge.
9 Freeze this rectangle on a flat tray for 15 minutes until firm, then peel off the paper and lay the frozen crunchy layer on top of the sponge. Pop in the fridge to stay cool.
10 For the ganache, bring the cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate and butter, mixing with a wooden spoon until everything is super-smooth and shiny. Set this aside to cool a little until it firms up to the perfect spreading consistency.
11 For the vanilla cream, mix together the mascarpone, vanilla seeds and sugar. Spread this in an even layer on top of the sponge and cornflake mix.
12 To assemble, cut the layered sponge into 5 strips – two that are 3 inches wide, two that are 2 inches wide, and one that is 1 inch wide.
13 Stack the strips on your serving board or plate, starting with the widest and finishing with the narrowest.
14 When the ganache has firmed a little, spread all over the log with a palette knife, using a fork to attempt a wood effect if desired.
15 Decorate with a scattering of the grated hazelnuts.
16 Leave to firm up for an hour or two before cutting. And remember, portion generously: that’s what Christmas is about, after all!

Recipe courtesy of chef Sven-Hanson Britt.

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