Christmas Yule LogFriday, December 23, 2011
It's Christmas and Hannukah weekend, all of a sudden-ly. Isn't it odd how the end of the year always seems to sneak up on us like this - even though we're perfectly aware of the date and time throughout all of this sneaky sneaking?
I've never baked for Christmas before, and I'm completely taken by the way the British celebrate their festive season. As I mentioned in the post before this one, everything is lit up with fairy lights, there are Christmas songs a-go in every supermarket, and - rather unusually - people are actually smiling at each other on the street. But I digress.
Christmas Baking. Right-o.
I made fruit mince, ginger cake and gingerbread biscuits (yum!), and I've got another batch of gingerbread biscuits on the go for this weekend. But what my festive baking was sorely missing was, thanks to Kirstie's Home For Christmas, a Yule Log. They are such makers, these British.
A real, snowed-on, glitterd, holly-ed, chocolate Swiss Roll Yule Log. The kind that is filled with creamy rolls of chocolately goodness and a touch of Bailey's for added festivity.
The Yule Log, the festive bakers all agree, is collected and then burnt as a symbolic gesture of honouring the Winter Solstice and the gods to bring hope and goodwill to all over the new year. We won't burn this one.
It's made from a traditional swiss roll recipe (I used this one, here, which I made chocolatey with the addition of two heaped tablespoons of fine cocoa and a handful of chocolate chips). I first spread plum jam along the top and then topped that with Bailey's flavoured buttercream, sprinkled with white and dark chocolate chips. I rolled it up and refrigerated it so that it would keep its shape, and then took it out of the fridge after 20 minutes to stand.
When it was completely cool, I cut one end off and reattached it to the side to form a chopped-off branch on the log. This is the proper way, it seems.
I mixed some edible white glitter with icing sugar and sifted it over the top, then added on a cluster of mushrooms which I made using sugar past and food colouring. I also made the holly berries and leaves on top which I cut out of sugar paste using a knife. The leaves were trickier than I imagined they would be, and I initially used a scalloped round cutter to get the shapes (the kind you'd use for scones) and squeezed the points together to make them look more like leaves than like pieces of flat plastic icing. I also dusted them with a bit of bridal shimmer so they would glow oh-so-slightly.
And so, here we are! Baked, ready to go, and the entire flat still needs cleaning, the washing needs putting on, and the bedding needs a-ironing as the Grandparents are coming to stay! T-minus two hours until dinner, so I'll be off.
Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and all that jazz to you all. May your days be merry and bright, from me and from Bakercourt, I'll see you next week.
Here's the recipe to the Swiss Roll again, from The Good Food Channel: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/607171