This is a section from my pre-Christmas Chocolate Ecstasy newsletter that I meant to post a few weeks ago and forgot. You might be sick of the sight of mince pies and Christmas pudding, but if you have leftover you could also mix your mince or Christmas pudding into the chocolate mixture instead of the soaked raisins and currants!
This summer, food writer Thane Prince starting organising a monthly “Cook Book Club“. I only heard about it last month and was too late to make the “Food from a Cold Climate” gathering but I blocked my diary for the Christmas event on 4th December. Ideally you’re supposed to bring some food to share and this month’s theme was “A Novel Christmas: food from a book you love that features Christmas”. I couldn’t think of a single book that included Christmas and food. I know, it sounds lame. I love reading, I’m just not good at remembering the content of novels I’ve read. So I stretched the theme to think of how the books I loved as a child – and my actual childhood – always seemed to involve making simple things with whatever cupboard ingredients were to hand.
Being me, whatever I made had to include chocolate and, being related to Christmas, I felt it had to include some kind of “mince”. [Side note: I noticed this week that Fortnum and Mason's are selling mince pies the traditional way, with beef mince along with the dried fruit.] I didn’t have enough time to make (non-meat!) mince pies that I’ve made before with added chocolate (try it, they’re delicious!), so I decided to create a “chocolate log”. I was asked for the recipe by some of this foodie crowd so I guess it is something worth sharing with you too!
This is a perfect recipe whatever the weather and, I’m told, great for people who don’t like Christmas pudding (though you will need to like raisins!). You need to start a day or two before you want to eat it! The actual “making time” is pretty quick, there are just long waits between stages.
Chocolate Ecstasy Christmas Log
Please excuse the garish Seventies’ serving tray in the picture on the right. This picture was also taken before I spread the white chocolate evenly over the top. I’m sure you can make it look prettier than I can!
Double boiler (saucepan and a glass or ceramic bowl that will sit over the top without touching the water simmering underneath). Or, a microwave.
Loaf tin (or similar)
Cling film / Glad Wrap / Saran Wrap
Food processor / blender / mini-chopper
Grater (I used my food processer)
300g good quality dark chocolate
50g + 20g unsalted butter
50g almonds (or other nuts)
1 small apple
2 tsp mixed spice and/or cinnamon and ginger
1-2 extra tsps of mixed spice / ginger
100g white chocolate
1. Pour rum over the dried fruits, cover and leave at least overnight.
2. Melt the dark chocolate and 50g butter in the double boiler or microwave.
3. Chop the dried fruit and rum using a food processor, blender or mini chopper. Don’t make it into a complete paste, you want some piece of fruit as well. (You might want to try doing this before soaking with the rum?)
4. Stir into the melted chocolate.
5. Grate the apple and chop further into smaller pieces.
6. Chop nuts into small(ish) pieces.
7. Stir the apple, spices and nuts into the chocolate mixture.
8. Line the tin with cling film and spoon the mixture onto the film. Wrap the film over the mixture making sure it can’t leak out and then put it somewhere cold or in the fridge.
9. Leave for a few hours or overnight.
Later on Day 2 or on Day 3
10. Melt the white chocolate and 20g butter and stir the cinnamon in.
11. Unwrap the chocolate log, place on serving dish and top with the melted white chocolate.
12. Cut into slices to serve.
If you don’t eat it all at once keep in the fridge because of the fresh apple. It should last at least a few days with all that rum! The best thing about this recipe is the quantities are pretty flexible to your taste preferences! Happy experimenting!