There is a draft post hovering in the background about 12 incredible yule logs created by some of London’s top pastry chefs, that I had a preview of during the summer and some of which are now on sale. That will have to wait until the weekend. For now, if you’re quick, you still have the chance to learn how to make your own in London at the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Kensington Olympia. Or, you can have a go at making it for yourself from the recipe below. The plus in heading to Olympia is you’ll get to take one away per table! And, importantly, a piece to try while you’re there. UPDATE: There are no more buche demonstrations during the show but there are still demonstrations being lead by chefs from the Savoy (not in the Hakkasan Group) and you can always make the recipe yourself below!
For the remaining days of the Spirit of Christmas (until this Sunday) there will be chef sessions each day, though sadly no more from Graham or his team. The workshops on Wednesday were surprisingly quiet and unworthily so. Unlike food shows where the demonstrations and the workshops are the draw, at the Spirit of Christmas it is all for filling your stockings with artisan gifts that are not common on the high street. It definitely makes unique shopping easier, but the workshops offering such a high calibre of hosts are definitely worth attending too. More so if you get to take home a gift from it!
Hakkasan was founded by Alan Yau who started his career in restaurants with Wagamama in 1992. Long ahead of its time in casual dining it was a catalyst for change in a then-staid restaurant scene and one of the reasons behind Yau receiving an OBE in 2006 for services to the restaurant industry. Five of the Hakkasan Group’s restaurants have been awarded Michelin-stars: Hakkasan Hanway, Mayfair and New York, HKK and Yauatcha (London). These are all high-end Chinese restaurants, with the latter also offering a beautiful-looking, ever-changing and boundary-pushing selection of patisserie to eat in or take away, as well as their own range of chocolates made in-house. For the past three and a half years Graham Hornigold has headed the sweet stuff for the group as Executive Pastry Chef.
Hornigold earned his stripes at a variety of Michelin restaurants, most notably within the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge and then at The Lanesborough Hotel where he won a host of awards. At Hakkasan he works with the restaurants in the UK and abroad on a variety of styles of desserts. For Christmas at Yauatcha they’re offering slices of the delicious chestnut yule log that we finished off in the Home & Garden Workshop at Spirit of Christmas. I loved this buche, testament to this was the fact I polished off several more slices last night despite judging several rounds of the International Chocolate Awards in the afternoon. If I was going to make it myself I’d sub the milk for more alcohol, but if you’re making it for the first time following the recipe below will deliver you a wonderful Christmas dessert and one you can make in advance and freeze leaving just the final decoration for Christmas morning. Chocolate and Chesnut Buche de noel
Graham Hornigold, Executive pastry Chef, Hakkasan Group
Makes one, 5 portions
Chocolate genoise – Makes 1 30cm x 40cm tray
88g egg whites
88g caster sugar
70g egg yolks
70g plain flour
18g cocoa powder
42g vegetable oil
- Pre heat the oven to 180C
- Place the egg whites into a machine bowl and whisk on a medium speed adding the caster sugar gradually until a stiff meringue is formed.
- Fold in the egg yolks and then the vegetable oil.
- Lastly fold in the flour and the spread out onto a silicon mat.
- Place into the pre heated oven and cook for 8-9 minutes
Raisin and Chestnut compote
50g dark rum
50g confit chestnut (marron glace)
- Wash the raisins in warm water at least 3 times or until the water runs clear. Place the water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add in the washed raisins and allow to soak for 20 minutes
- Strain the excess water and allow the raisins to cool, once cooled add the dark rum and allow to marinate over night
- Roughly chop the marinated rasins and mix with the chopped confit chestnut
Chestnut and Vanilla cream
90g chestnut paste (sweetened)
90g chestnut puree (unsweetened)
½ vanilla pod seeds
- Place the chestnut puree, vanilla seeds and chestnut paste into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Gradually mix in the milk and the rum until smooth
110g egg whites
220g butter, soft
150g Dark chocolate 80%cocoa solids
Make an Italian meringue with the whites, sugar and water. Whip until cool, mix in the melted chocolate and then slowly add in the softened butter mix well .
Dark chocolate decorations
200g tempered dark chocolate made into 6 x 6 cm squares 1 set chocolate curls
20g Confit chestnuts Gold leaf
To prepare and assemble
- Prepare the raisin and chestnut compote,Store in the fridge until required.
- Temper the chocolate and prepare the chocolate decorations, place into a cool dry area and allow to set for at least 4 hours.
- Prepare the chocolate genoise, remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool
- Once the sponge has cooled, cut into a 30 x 20cm rectangle and place onto a sheet of silicone paper, ensuring that the paper is larger than the cut sponge.
- Finish the raisin and chestnut compote
- Spread the chestnut and vanilla cream onto the sponge leaving a gap of 2cm at the bottom closest to yourself.
- Spread the raisin and chestnut compote over the top of the chestnut and vanilla cream.
- Gently fold over the bottom of the sponge and begin to roll up, finish rolling with the edge underneath the roll.
- Pipe lines of the chocolate buttercream over the top of the rolled buche, spread evenly with a palette knife or spoon. Make lines in the buttercream with a comb scraper or fork to look like a log.
- Place into the fridge to set the buttercream, lightly dust with cocoa powder.
- Place the chocolate squares on each end and then decorate the top with the chocolate curls, gold leaf and confit chestnuts.
A slice of the Yauatcha Chestnut Yule Log
Recipe provided by Graham Hornigold of the Hakkasan Group
DISCLOSURE: I was invited to the Spirit of Christmas by Great British Chefs and Graham Hornigold. I was under no obligation to write about this and retained full editorial control.