Wednesday 4 December 2013

Christmas recipe: Speculoos and Chocolate Christmas log

I made a Chocolate and Chestnut spread Christmas log the last two years in my parents' place for Christmas and everyone loved them. This year I'm emotionally refusing to make it as I won't be with my family in France and will stay in Ireland (teary eyes).

I was trying to think of a substitute for chesnut spread and while I was in Fallon and Byrne I found the most amazing spread ever: Lotus caramel spread or Speculoos spread. Speculoos are those little brown spiced biscuits that are very popular in Belgium, Germany and even France.

The Lotus caramel spread is out of this world, it was the first time I tried it and I used 300g for the log and ate the rest while I was baking... all of it, with my fingers. When Mr. FFID ate the first bite he said 'Oh...WOW...mmmm...WOW...WOW...' and it went on and on. I'm not exaggerating, try it, you'll love it!

Speculoos and Chocolate Christmas Log recipe

Ingredients for the sponge:
100g flour
5 eggs 

100g sugar 
30g soft butter

Ingredients for the filling: 
300g Lotus caramelised spread (speculoos spread)

Ingredients for the icing:
200g dark chocolate
25 cl  cream
3 Lotus biscuits (speculoos biscuits)

Start by separating the whites and yolks of 5 eggs. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 100g sugar until the mixture becomes paler.  Add the flour and mix well .  

Next add a pinch of salt to the 5 egg whites and whisk until stiff. Fold the stiff egg whites into the mixture and then add the soft butter, mix using a spatula. 

Place a slightly buttered sheet of parchment paper on a Swiss roll tray and evenly pour on the mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes at 180 ° C in a preheated oven until the sponge is cooked. Not too much or it will dry, it should stay quite pale.

Wet a clean tea towel and lay it on a counter top. Quickly turn the sponge on the cloth, then gently peel off the parchment paper. 

Using the tea towel, roll the sponge nice and tight. Leave wrapped in the tea towel for around half an hour so it takes shape and cools.

Unroll the sponge onto a surface covered in cling film. Using a spatula spread the Lotus caramelised spread evenly.

Gently roll the log again with the filling inside, using the film so that the log is wrapped tightly. Tighten gently as needed to give the log its right shape.
Set aside for a moment while you prepare the chocolate. 
Now put the dark chocolate and the cream  in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir regularly until melted.

Remove the cling film from the sponge and evenly spread the chocolate over the entire surface of the log. Draw stripes on the log with a fork along the entire length if you wish it to look a bit more rustic.
Place the log on a Christmassy platter and put in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Remove the log from the fridge about an hour before eating.

Blitz the Lotus biscuits in a blender until there's nothing but crumbs and sprinkle over the log.
and decorate. 

Eat it like there is no tomorrow!