Christmas is over and the New Year has begun. Diets, gym memberships and resolutions are at the top of everyone’s lists. This roulade doesn’t really come under any of those headings but it is still delicious and can even virtuously claim to be gluten-free. If you still have any chestnut purée left over from the holidays this is a good way to use it up. I used ready-to-use whole chestnuts as a decoration along with some chocolate shards, coloured sugar sprinkles (and of course some glitter) as it was a dessert to take to my friend Philippa’s for dinner.
This recipe comes from a 1999 BBC Good Food cookbook that I have had for years called Dangerous Desserts. Despite its age it is not particularly dated: it has a lot of classic recipes and a lot of very tempting photos. It’s great for inspiration. This recipe is particularly good for around Christmas time and makes a great alternative to a classic Yule log. I have made it on several occasions before and it isn’t difficult at all. It will crack as you roll it up but that is part of the charm.
For the roulade
200g plain chocolate
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
For the filling
300ml double cream
225g chestnut purée
4 tablespoons icing sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons brandy, if desired
To decorate (optional)
Whole cooked chestnuts
Set the oven to 180ºC and grease and line a 9×13″ Swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and set aside to cool a little. If you want to make chocolate shards to decorate the roulade, spread a small amount of the melted chocolate (about 25g) in a thin layer over a piece of greaseproof paper and leave to set.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar for around five minutes, until pale and thick.
Add the melted chocolate to the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
Add the egg whites and fold in carefully.
Pour into the Swiss roll tin and level gently.
Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until risen and firm:
Sprinkle a piece of greaseproof paper with caster sugar and turn the roulade out onto it.
Peel the lining paper off carefully and cover the roulade with a warm, damp tea towel.
When the roulade is completely cold make the filling:
Mix together the chestnut purée, icing sugar and brandy if using.
Fold the whipped cream into the chestnut purée mix and spread over the roulade:
If you used some of the melted chocolate to make decorations, chop into shards or shave off into curls. Decorate the roulade with the reserved cream, whole chestnuts, chocolate, coloured sugar and glitter. More is more this time of year, diets start tomorrow…