A refined sugar-free & gluten-free ‘Bouche de Noel’? Did I hear that right?
In my family growing up we had a number of essential desserts at Christmas time. My older sister, having a slight obsession with sultanas – always opted for traditional Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. Where as me and my younger brother went for the slightly more chocolatey options – Mum’s special chocolate sponge with snowy meringue icing and a squidy ganache chocolate log. Hero Mum never failed to let us down and all four desserts (as well as home-made mince pies of course) were provided for the festive period. It took us all holidays and then some to get through all that indulgence – one year I remember having Christmas cake left in February!
I have been researching a number of Christmas dessert recipes over the last few weeks since I have volunteered to make a pud this year. Reminiscing on the squidgy ganache Yule log of yore I stumbled upon this Yule Log recipe from the Chocolate Festival. Their recipe uses chestnut purée for the filling – an interesting, but seasonal twist. It would be have been silly to risk trialling this on Christmas day, so last weekend off I trotted to the Supermarket to purchase some chestnut purée and a swiss roll tin for practice round 1. I also came back with some decorations and a tree…. l don’t think I have EVER decorated by the 2nd December before but as it’s my first December in my own flat and the first time the choice of tree and decoration scheme has been entirely my own I got a bit excited. My lovely little tree did make an excellent backdrop for this photo though don’t you think?
I have adapted the recipe slightly, opting for a entirely dairy-free filling and also adding a bit of cocoa powder to the filling for a richer flavour. I opted for organic honey instead of sweet freedom as my natural sweetener of choice, as I prefer the taste. On this ocassion I didn’t go the full hog and include a ganache icing but instead chose a less gluttonous dusting of cocoa powder (perhaps I will for Christmas day!). Alternatively another option for a topping would be to drizzle with melted 70-85% dark chocolate…yum.
I can hardly believe that this easy recipe is gluten-free, contains no flour (or flour substitute) or dairy. The sponge was springy and incredibly easy to work with, not to mention tasty. I am sure this is because I used a really high quality cocoa powder – so make sure you do! I was lucky and mine rolled up neatly without cracking first time. All those hours of obsessively watching the Great British Bake must have finally paid off!
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 6 free-range organic eggs, separated
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g organic honey
- 60g unsweetened organic 100% cocoa powder
- 200g chestnut puree (I used Merchant Gourmet)
- 50g organic honey
- 2 tablespoon of COYO coconut yoghurt (or coconut cream)
- 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
+ cocoa powder to dust the top
- Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees fan, and prepare the swiss roll tin (20cm x 30cm)* by lining with baking parchment.
- With an electric whisk, whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla extract and the honey until pale and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until still peaks form.
- Sieve the cocoa powder into the yolks, fold in. Then fold in the egg whites in too until entirely combined.
- Pour evenly into tin, and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven cover with non-stick baking parchment and a damp tea-towel and leave to cool entirely before touching.
- Meanwhile make up the filling: Beat together the chestnut puree, CO YO, honey, then stir in the cocoa powder. The cocoa powder will act as a thickener to the mix.
- When the sponge is cooled you’re ready to roll! Place a board over the tea-towel and pick up the swiss roll tin flipping it over, lift off the tin and peel back the baking parchment. Trim any ugly ends off the sponge. Take the filling and spread all over the sponge. Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll up the sponge using the under parchment and tea towel to assist with the rolling. Ta-da! Sprinkle with cocoa powder, and garnish with stolen holly from a garden down the street to finish.
*Note: The sponge recipe made more than enough to fill the recommended swiss roll tin size, so I used the extras to make a second thinner roulade which I sliced into mini rolls – go on get creative (or use a bigger tin).