Delicious alternative to a Christmas pudding, this Chocolate Orange Christmas Log can be prepared ahead of time to ease strain on the big day.
10 oz (280g) 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate
10 oz (280g) caster sugar
10 free-range eggs
Grated zest of an unwaxed orange
½ tsp orange oil
Pinch of salt
10 fl oz (300ml) double cream
5 fl oz (150ml) crème fraîche
2-3 tbsp brandy
100g bag of plain chocolate chips
A little icing sugar to dredge
1. Break chocolate into pieces and place the in a bowl and stand on a piece of kitchen paper to melt at the back of the Aga top plate. Line a full size hard anodised AGA baking tray with a pre-cut piece of Bake-O-Glide, or line with lightly oiled baking parchment. As soon as the chocolate has completely melted, stir and remove from heat.
2. Separate the eggs and use an electric whisk to mix together the yolks and sugar until they are pale and thick. Stir in the chocolate and orange zest and oil.
3. Whisk the egg whites and salt in a clean metal or glass bowl until stiff and holding peaks. Using a metal spoon, stir a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to slacken it. Carefully fold in the remainder and pour into the tray. Bake on the lowest set of runners in the Baking Oven or Roasting Oven* with a cold plain shelf on the second set. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, covered to keep the cake moist. When quite cold invert onto a large piece of baking parchment and peel off the liner. Whip the double cream until a little thicker than just holding its shape. Stir in the crème fraîche and brandy and spread and roll up tightly along its longest side.
5. Place the unopened bag of chocolate chips to melt at the back of the Aga top plate. You will need a helper to join you when moving the finished log to a flat presentation platter. Lightly dredge with icing sugar and, when the chips are full melted, snip open and decorate the top with zig-zag lines of drizzled chocolate. Freezes well filled but not decorated. Allow two hours to defrost.
*eR7: place on lowest set of runners in roasting or baking oven on B4
AGA 60 and eR3 series place on lowest set of runners in top oven on baking setting
eR3 150, 160 or 170 fan oven: place on any shelf in preheated oven on 160oc