“The classic Yule log is the perfect finale to a Christmas feast,” says Michel Roux.
If you have chocaholics in your family, you can’t go far wrong with a classic Yule log recipe – or Bûche de Noël, as it’s known in French.
Yule log with Grand Marnier
For the ganache:
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken up
200g double cream
Splash of Grand Marnier
For the sponge:
6 free-range eggs, separated
150g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
70g plain flour
30g pure cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
30g butter, melted
2tbsp icing sugar
For the caramelised hazelnuts:
About 20 whole peeled hazelnuts
250g caster sugar
1. Start by making the ganache. Put the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the cream into a pan and bring it to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate and mix until smooth. Leave to cool, then add Grand Marnier to taste. Whisk until light and fluffy.
2. For the sponge, line a baking tray measuring about 30 x 40 centimetres with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Beat the egg yolks with 100 grams of the sugar until pale, then add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, followed by the melted butter. Whisk the whites until frothy, then add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then spread over the baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
3. Lay a clean tea towel on your work surface and turn the sponge out on to it. Remove the baking parchment. Dust the sponge with a little of the caster sugar, spread some of the ganache over it and roll the sponge up as tightly as possible into a neat log. Leave the sponge to cool, then cover it with the rest of the ganache and leave it to chill in the fridge.
4. To make the hazelnut decoration, stick a toothpick into each hazelnut and set them aside. Have something ready to stand the toothpicks into while the nuts harden, such as a piece of polystyrene. Heat the sugar in a heavy-based pan until you have a golden-brown caramel. One by one, dip the hazelnuts into the caramel, then stand them in whatever you have prepared and leave them to harden. Drizzle any remaining caramel in a criss-cross pattern over a piece of baking parchment and leave it to harden.
5. Dust the log with icing sugar and arrange the caramelised nuts on top. Scatter over the pieces of caramel to look like hay.
Michel Roux At Home by Michel Roux is published by Seven Dials, priced £26. Photography by Cristian Barnett. Available now.