Countdown to Christmas: Chocolate roulade with boozy blackberries

chocolate roulade christmas recipe

Wow friends and family with this impressive looking chocolate dessert. An easy roulade recipe made with sloe gin and blackberries.

chocolate roulade christmas recipe

Serves 8
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Cooling: 3-4 hours

200g (7oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
5 large eggs, separated
175g (6oz) caster sugar, plus a little extra
50g (2oz) ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons hot water
225g (8oz) blackberries
3 tablespoons sloe gin, cherry brandy or kirsch
400ml (14fl oz) double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Chocolate holly leaves and extra blackberries to decorate

1 Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF), Gas Mark 4. Cut a rectangle of non-stick baking paper a little larger than a 34 x 23 cm (131/2 x 91/2 inch) Swiss roll tin or roasting tin with the same base measurement. Snip diagonally into the corners of the paper then press into the tin so that the base is lined and the paper stands a little above the sides of the tin.

2 Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of very gently simmering water. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until peaking. Using the still dirty whisk, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a second bowl for 4-5 minutes until thick and pale and the mixture will leave a trail.

3 Fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture then the hazelnuts and water. Fold a little of the egg white into the mixture to loosen it then gently fold in the rest.

4 Spoon into the tin and lightly ease into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes until well risen and the top is slightly crusty. Leave to cool covered with a clean teacloth. Add the blackberries and liqueur to a bowl, cover and leave roulade and berries to stand for 3-4hours, or longer if that suits you better.

5 About 2-3 hours before serving, whip the cream until it forms soft swirls then fold in the icing sugar and the liqueur from the soaked blackberries.

6 Wet a clean teacloth under a hot tap, wring out and put on the work surface so that the shorter edges face you. Top this with a clean sheet of non-stick baking paper and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Turn the roulade out on to the sugared paper and remove the lining paper.

7 Spread the cream over the roulade, sprinkle with the soaked blackberries then roll up the roulade starting from the short edge nearest you and using the paper and damp teacloth to help. The roulade will crack, but don’t worry, just continue rolling and pressing into a good shape until you reach the other end. Wrap the paper and cloth around the roulade for a few minutes to set the shape. (If you would like to serve this for Christmas day, wrap the roulade in paper and foil and keep in the fridge overnight).

8 Remove the paper and cloth and transfer the roulade to a serving plate. Decorate with chocolate holly leaves (see tip below) and extra blackberries.

Chocolate holly leaves
1 Snip about 20 holly leaves from a small branch, leaving just a little of the stem on. Wash and dry the leaves then brush the shiny top of each leaf with a little melted chocolate leaving a little of the leaf and stem uncovered.
2 Put leaves on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper, chocolate side uppermost and chill in the fridge until the chocolate has set. Cover with a second thin layer of melted chocolate (you’ll only need about 75g (3oz) of chocolate in all) and chill again.
3 When ready to use, hold the stem end of the leaf and very gently begin to peel and curl the leaf away from the chocolate. Arrange on the top of the roulade.

chocolate roulade christmas recipe

Top tip
Larger supermarkets sell packs of ready ground hazelnuts alongside the ground almonds. If your local shop doesn’t stock them, buy whole hazelnuts and grind them at home in the liquidiser or food processor.

What are your favourite recipes for Christmas time?

Countdown to Christmas: Eric Lanlard’s Mince Pie Recipe

eric lanlard mince pie recipe

“The build-up to the festive season wouldn’t be the same without mince pies, and it’s a tradition I am more than happy to embrace – I just love them! I’ve added a little continental twist to this recipe and added Nielsen-Massey to bring the pastry to life!” –Eric Lanlard, Master Pâtissier.

Serves 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the mincemeat
250g golden sultanas
250g natural glacé
cherries, halved
250g raisins
100g mixed peel
125g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
250g dark muscavado sugar
250ml amaretto liqueur

For the pies
butter, for greasing
250g short crust pastry
plain flour, for dusting
250g ready-made or homemade puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
15g light muscavado sugar

eric lanlard mince pie recipe

Put all the dried fruit and spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Place the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, grated zest, sugar and amaretto in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved – do not let it boil.
Pour over the mixed fruit and stir gently, without breaking up the fruits.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to infuse for 48 hours.
Pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks to allow the flavours to mature.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract high res (1)

When you are ready to make the mince pies, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4.
Grease 6 x individual 10cm (4in) diameter loose-bottomed tartlet tins. Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tins.
Generously fill the pastry cases with the mincemeat (this will use approximately 500g).
Roll out the puff pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and brush it with the beaten egg.
Using a star-shaped cutter, cut out 6 star shapes, or any shape you like, to cover the tart and place them on top of the mincemeat. Sprinkle with the light muscovado sugar.
Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the stars have all puffed up. Serve warm with some crème fraîche drizzled with amaretto and sprinkled with roasted flaked almonds – heaven!


Book Review: The Icing on the Cake by Juliet Stallwood (Decorating Baked Treats)

the icing on the cake juliet stallwood book review baking decorating

Book Review: The Icing on the Cake by Juliet Stallwood (Decorating Baked Treats)

Here at Tasty Gorgeous we were sent this fabulous book to review – The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats by Juliet Stallwood. Those familiar with her work will know her as a proclaimed baker and cake decorator. She has a long history of innovative cake design and her own bakery business located in the village of Semley in Dorset. She makes and sells her products to a devoted following including Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar. She was also recently featured in Country Living Magazine and also runs classes teaching people how to decorate cakes and baked goods. She has now published ‘The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats’ for home bakers also.

the icing on the cake juliet stallwood book review baking decorating

This as her first book, is a wonderful look into decorating many tempting treats such as cakes, cookies, meringues, whoopie pies, chocolates and brownies. Plus it has useful hints and tips for bakers no matter their level of expertise.

The book is divided into five sections, not alphabetised or by type of baked good as you might expect but describing situations when you might want to bake, for example the book begins with the chapter entitled ‘Decorate to Indulge’ is followed by both ‘Decorate to Love’ and ‘Decorate to Celebrate’ and ends with the more decadent chapter ‘Decorate to Impress’. The final chapter sees Stallwood describe her ‘Best-Kept Secrets’ including details of equipment, handling and covering cakes and a number of guides and templates to recreate her recipes with ease.

Many of the recipes and techniques given could be sourced elsewhere and don’t seem particularly distinct however both the language used is likeable and easy to understand and the designs shown throughout the book have been displayed in a fresh and unique style.

sugared rose petal cake juliet stallwood the icing on the cake recipe book review

Decorate to Indulge includes some wonderfully simple but effective ways to decorate a multitude of baked goodies with beautiful full colour page photographs, guides and illustrative drawings. Techniques covered include creating sugared rose petals, chocolate work and piping skills whereas recipes of whoopie pies, macaroons and biscuits are also presented.

Decorate to Love shows off Stallwoods signature style with some stunning corset biscuits, decorated and piped to perfection. This chapter also includes some useful recipe charts for chocolate and sponge cakes of different sizes which makes a great reference guide. She also tackles some more difficult techniques including stencilling and using royal icing efficiently.

corset biscuits juliet stallwood the icing on the cake recipe book review

The next chapter is Decorate to Celebrate which covers as you might expect cakes and baking ideas including occasions such as christenings, birthdays, christmas and weddings. This chapter concentrates mostly on using sugarpaste decorations and modelling featuring a fancy gingerbread house and a helpful fruit cake recipe chart. For those who enjoy figure modelling you’re sure to love the cute party penguins and adorable baby shower cupcakes.

Decorate to Impress is full of ideas that look visually stunning and although appear to be more difficult, the step by step guides are easy to follow. The recipes in this section are a little more challenging and include how to create a tiered wedding cake and make realistic looking sugar flowers.

chocolate mini cakes juliet stallwood the icing on the cake recipe book review

The Best-Kept Secrets chapter is a wonderful reference for new and experienced bakers alike including everything from an ideal list of baking equipment to lining a cake tin to covering, icing and stacking cakes. A limited suppliers list is also included.

In conclusion The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats is an engaging book that covers a multitude of invaluable techniques and includes over 50 achievable recipes. Although it is more suited to a beginner or novice baker it is equally good for those with more experience as a reference guide, to refresh the mind on techniques or to read for a little inspiration.

The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats by Juliet Stallwood is currently available, rrp £16.99.