Today, dear reader, I am sharing with you one of my most prized possessions and something I treasure dearly.
It is not something of any monetary value, nor has it been or ever will be.
If you have read my blog from the very beginning you will know that one of the reasons I started it was to continue my mother’s passion for cooking, share it with my own family and anyone else who who cares to listen. Cooking and food was an important part of my childhood for which I am eternally grateful as it gives me an invisible tie to my mother which can never be broken.
My mother, now in her eighties, has had dementia for twelve years and has not cooked for quite a few of them, a travesty for someone so lively who treasured her time cooking, not just for us, but friends and her colleagues when she worked for Marks and Spencers until she retired.
Every year she used to take orders for this chocolate log, as it is in fact a Christmas recipe. Without the strawberries (but with the cream) the log freezes remarkably well and I can remember her frantically making and freezing them in the weeks coming up to the festive season and them packing them up to take them to work on the bus.
About twenty years ago she wrote the recipe out for me and I have kept it ever since, tucked into a plastic wallet and safely clamped into my bulging recipe folder. Snuggling up next to it is my mother’s hand written recipe for her most excellent mince pies, which I still call Mum’s Mince Pies, even though I now make them for her at Christmas instead of the other way round.
I have no idea where this chocolate log recipe originated from although my mother was an avid reader of the Family Circle Magazine, sadly now long defunct. My father used to complain about the stacks of them piling up in the corner of their spare bedroom. She never cut the recipes out but knew which edition carried which favourite recipe. When she was in her fifties and the spare room was re-decorated for the arrival of grandchildren she finally relented and cut the recipes out she used. As she always said would happen, over the years they all got lost and sadly nothing now remains of her collection.
There was one cake, a chocolate ring with a sherry syrup, coated in double cream and decorated with chocolate rose leaves that we all adored and was my mother’s favourite when we had guests. Everyone used to love the handmade chocolate rose leaves which is the only piece of the recipe I can remember. I think I shall make it a mission to try and replicate it, although knowing it took me five years to get her bread pudding right, I think I have set myself a bit of a tall order.
The line at the bottom of her recipe “This sounds like a lot of messing about, once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy” really epitomises my mother’s attitude towards everything. She just seemed to get on with life without complaining or whinging about her lot, which I am sure wasn’t aways a bed of roses.
So here it is, shared with you. It is the best chocolate log you will ever have, I promise.
Thank you Mum xxx
- 170g Good Quality Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1 Rounded Tablespoon Instant Coffee dissolved in 2 Tablespoons Boiling Water
- 4 Large Eggs, separated
- 170g Caster Sugar
- 300ml Double Cream
- Cocoa for dusting (or icing sugar)
- Dark Chocolate for Decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 170c (fan) 350f
- Put the chocolate chips (or break up the chocolate) and dissolved coffee in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Remove from heat.
- Put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until pale.
- Add the melted chocolate and stir until combined.
- In a separate clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry.
- Fold into the chocolate mixture, half at a time, using a metal spoon.
- Pour into the tin.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm.
- Leave to cool in the tin. When cool, cover with foil and leave overnight.
- The next day, remove the foil, place upside down and sprinkle with cocoa.
- Invert the sponge onto the foil and peel off the backing paper.
- Whip the cream until thick but not too stiff and spread over the sponge, leaving a two inch gap at one shorter end.
- Distribute the strawberries (cut up if large) over the cream.
- Starting at the shorter end and using the foil as a guide, roll up the log.
- Do not worry it if cracks.
- Sprinle over some more cocoa or icing sugar.
- If required melt a little dark chocolate and drizzle over the top to decorate.
PS. I have used cocoa to dust for this summer version although icing sugar can be used instead as it would be for a Christmas log.