- 100g dark chocolate about 70 per cent cocoa solids
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 x 435g tin unsweetened chestnut purée
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 100g extra thick double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- chocolate leaves optional see note below
- icing sugar or gold cake decorating powder for dusting
- Break up the chocolate and dice the butter. Melt these together in a bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth and combined, then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor, whiz the chestnut purée, sugar, cream and vanilla until smooth and creamy, then add the melted chocolate mixture and whiz until you have a silky purée. This should be the consistency of whipped butter icing, firm enough to form into a log. If necessary, chill the mixture until firm enough to shape.
- Next you need a base to sit the log on (such as a serving plate or cake board), measuring at least 20cm x 8cm. Pile the chocolate chestnut mixture into a log shape on the base. Decorate using the tines of a fork to create a wood effect (including some knots and spirals at the ends). Finish with chocolate leaves, if using, and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight until set.
- Serve about 30 minutes out of the fridge. Dust with icing sugar or edible gold powder just before serving. A spoonful of crème fraîche sweetened with a drop of liqueur is brilliant alongside.
- CHOCOLATE LEAVES You may find these at specialist cake shops.
- For home-made leaves, as in the picture, brush melted dark chocolate on to the back of bay leaves. Allow to set for a few hours then peel the bay leaves off.