Feeding a crowd this Christmas? This Lemon Yule Log from Le Cordon Bleu. Don’t be put off by the Cordon Bleu thing – it’s actually not that hard at all! It does take a bit of time – but ooh it’s worth it. (And how impressed will your family and friends be?!)

Lemon Yule Log

Prep time: 1hr 40 mins; Cooking time 1hr 45 mins. (excl. 2 hrs’ refrigeration). Serves 10

You will need:

1 x 35 x 7 cm Yule log mould

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 1 ½ egg whites (50 g)
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g icing sugar, sifted
  • zest of ¼ lemon, grated

 Lemon cream

  • 1 gelatine leaf (2 g)
  • 5 egg yolks (100 g)
  • 1 egg (50 g)
  • 50 g sugar
  • 110 ml lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 250 ml cream

Lemon syrup

  • 100 ml water
  • 100 g sugar
  • 30 ml lemon juice

Lemon ‘biscuit’ sponge

  • 170 g butter
  • 3 eggs (150 g)
  • 165 g sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • 170 g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder (3 g)

Decoration

200g chocolate-hazelnut spread

unsweetened cocoa powder

Method

Meringue decorations:  Preheat oven to 110°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.  Gradually add the sugar, continuing to whisk until smooth, shiny stiff peaks form.  Carefully fold the icing sugar into the meringue with a wooden spoon.  Add lemon zest to the French meringue.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (n°8 ) and pipe lines lengthways onto half the baking tray.  Spread a layer of meringue 3 mm thick onto the second half.  Smooth with a spatula and stamp star shapes with a star cutter.  Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Lemon cream: Soak the gelatine leaf in cold water.  Whisk the eggs yolks, egg and sugar in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice and lemon zest; mix.  Pour into a saucepan, cook whisking, until mixture thickens and starts to boil.  Squeeze excess water from the gelatine, remove pan from the heat and add stir in the gelatine.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Whip the whipping cream until firm peaks cling to the whisk.  Whisk the lemon cream to smooth; fold in the whipped cream.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and refrigerate.

Lemon syrup: In a saucepan bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil. Leave to cool.

Lemon ‘biscuit’ sponge:  Preheat oven to 180°C.  Melt the butter.  In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon zest until lightened in colour and creamy.  Fold in the lemon juice, then flour and baking powder, mixing till even.  Fold in the warm melted butter.  Line the Yule log mould with parchment paper, pour mixture into log shaped cake mould.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Leave to cool.

Assembly: Unmould the Yule log, remove the paper and slice the lemon ‘biscuit’ sponge in 2 layers, place on a sheet of parchment paper.  Use a brush to imbibe the surface of the two pieces with lemon syrup.  Spread chocolate-hazelnut spread onto the bottom lemon sponge ‘biscuit’ with a spatula.  Cover with a layer of lemon cream.  Close the log with the second lemon sponge ‘biscuit’ half.  Imbibe the surface with lemon syrup.  Cover the log with lemon cream by piping lines lengthways over the entire log and coat the two ends.

Decoration: Break the meringue rods up into smaller pieces and decoratively cover the log cake.  Dust the Yule log with unsweetened cocoa powder.  Lift the star shaped meringue from the baking tray and position on the Yule log.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.