Last week's chocolate recipes turned out to be stunningly popular. Having made and sampled them both, I'm not surprised. Given the feedback, I thought you might like a couple more. Both of these come from the vast folder of recipes from the late lamented Let's Cook Scotland cookery school, run by the wonderful Sarah Mellersh, who gave me permission to reproduce them. Sarah has moved on to do other things these days, but she does view this column from time to time. If you're reading this, Sarah, love from Casa Johnston. Chocolate roulade is also known as Bûche de Noel or Yule Log. Have a practice now and have it again at Christmas, if we have one. Note that this recipe is gluten free.
Chocolate Roulade (serves 8)
175g good dark chocolate, finely chopped; 6 free range eggs (as if you would use any other kind) separated; 175g caster sugar; 2tbsp cocoa powder; 300ml double cream; butter for greasing the tin; icing sugar to dust.
You will need an oven preheated to 180˚C/160˚C Fan/Mark 4, and a Swiss Roll tin 33cm x 23cm.
Lightly grease the tin then line the base and sides with greaseproof paper, pushed well into the corners. Make a small diagonal snip in each corner of the paper to assist a snug fit.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl or double saucepan. If you're not sure how to do this, see last week's recipes for details. Click here for the link. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, but not set. Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat until stiff but not dry. The stiffness test is turning the bowl upside down. They should stay put.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolks and the sugar. (No need to wash the whisk.) Do this at a high speed for about 2 - 3 minutes until thick and creamy and the mixture leaves a thick, ribbon-like trail when the beaters are lifted. Pour in the chocolate and gently combine until well mixed together.
Now, more folding, the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Apologies to you experts - this tip is for novices like me. While the general idea is to mix in the egg whites very gently to retain some air, you will find you can't do that with a thick chocolate mixture. So what you do, as gently as you can, is to stir in a couple of spoonfuls of the egg white into the chocolate. This loosens it and makes it possible to fold in the rest of the egg whites using a large metal spoon. If you need more advice, watch this video.
Finally, sift the cocoa over the top and lightly fold that in too. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and shake the tin gently until the mixture is level. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes until risen and the top feels firm and slightly crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. It will fall and crack a little.
Whip the cream till it just holds its shape. Lay a large piece of grease proof paper on a work surface and lightly dust with icing sugar. Turn the roulade upside down on to the paper so that its lining paper is on top, then carefully peel that paper off.. Spread all over with the whipped cream, leaving a border of about 2cm all round. With one of the shorter edges facing you, make a cut along the roulade, going about half way up the sponge. This will ease the rolling. Starting from the long side, at the part you have cut, roll over tightly, using the paper to help, by pulling it away from you as you roll. (This is easier than it sounds - even I have done it.) Remember this is NOT a Swiss roll. You won't end up with a smooth finish. The roulade will crack - logs are not smooth.
Finish up with the join on the bottom. Carefully transfer to a serving plate or board. Having two fish slices can be helpful. Using a sieve, dust with more icing sugar.
These are dead easy. Make them with the kids and customise them with whatever coatings you like. In a small bag tied with ribbon, they make great Christmas gifts, or things to take to dinner, as and when we are ever allowed into each other's houses again.
200ml double cream; 290g chocolate (use dark or milk as you prefer) broken into pieces; your choice of flavouring - 55 ml of any liqueur you like, rum, brandy, Cointreau, Tia Maria, whatever; or orange zest; stuff for coating - cocoa powder, icing sugar, crushed nuts, desiccated coconut, melted chocolate (try white for a contrast).
Put the cream into a heavy sauce pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and liqueur if using. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
Pour into a shallow tray and put in the fridge to firm up. Then have to hand a teaspoon and a bowl or cup of hot water. Use the spoon to make little round balls. Try to keep them even sized. Dip the spoon into the water between making each one to ensure a clean finish.
Using a spoon or two, mix the truffles around in your choice of coating. Tsimples!