Chocolate chestnut roulade is a rich chocolatey sponge cake rolled up with double cream and chestnut purée. Decorated with chocolate holly leaves, this makes an impressive centrepiece to your Christmas table. Rolling the sponge is fun - and imperfections are covered with icing sugar - so do try this at home.
Takes 1 hour to prepare, plus 1-2 hours cooling
For the filling
For the decoration
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a Swiss roll tin (about 22 x 32cm) with baking paper.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl resting over a pan of simmering water - make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir until smooth, then take off the heat. (Alternatively, melt in a microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes.)
3. Put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk for about 3-4 minutes, until pale, thick and creamy. Whisk in the melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Stir a little into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites using a large metal spoon, until just combined. Pour into the lined tin and smooth out to the edges to fill. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until spongy to the touch.
4. Place a sheet of baking paper on the work surface and dust thickly with caster sugar. Cool the roulade for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the paper. Peel off the baking paper backing from the roulade, then cover with a clean sheet of baking paper and a damp tea towel. Leave for 1-2 hours to cool.
5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Fold in the chestnut purée and whisk again until thick. Cut the edges off the roulade, spread with the chestnut cream, then roll up the sponge tightly, using the paper to help you. Don't worry if the crust sticks to the paper a little - the icing sugar will cover this.
6. Transfer to a flat serving plate. Dust thickly with sieved icing sugar.
7. To make the chocolate holly leaves, melt 100g plain chocolate in a bowl resting over a pan of simmering water - make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir until smooth, then take off the heat. Using a small paint brush, paint the chocolate over the dark green, shiny side of 10 small holly leaves. Leave to set, then coat again. Chill until firm. Carefully prise the holly leaves away from the chocolate, discard the leaves and place the chocolate shapes and some chocolate-coated almonds on top of the roulade.
© delicious. magazine
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