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Chestnut Yule Log
Yield: 12 servings

1 lb chestnuts, peeled
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp rum or brandy (aprox)
3 oz almond paste or marzipan
2 Tbsp icing sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (aprox)
1 cup whipping cream
meringue mushrooms for garnish
chocolate curls

In pan, cover peeled chestnuts with cold water. Bring to boil and
simmer until chestnuts are very soft, about 40 minutes. Drain,
press through food mill or seive.

In mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add granulated
sugar and beat until very thick. Melt together chocolate and butter
and beat into egg yolk mixture. Beat in chestnut puree. Stir in
rum, adding more to taste if desired. Chill until mixture is firm
enough to shape, about 2 hours. Shape into log, and refrigerate
for 1 hour.

Cut ends of log on the diagonal and use short ends to simulate
lopped off branches. Cover cut ends with thin rounds of almond
paste. Fold icing sugar and cocoa into whipped cream, adding more
cocoa if darker "bark" is desired. Spread cream over log and use
tines of fork to simulate bark. Decorate with Meringue Mushrooms
and chocolate curls. Chill until serving time.

Meringue Mushrooms
Yield: 10 servings

2 egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
1 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 cup sugar

In small bowl, beat together egg whites and cream of tartar until
stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until very stiff
and shiny. Spoon meringue into pastry bag and pipe onto parchment
lined baking sheets, making separate shapes of semi-circular mushroom
caps and short rectangular stems.

Bake in 150 F oven for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until meringues are dry
and crisp but not brown. Remove from parchment paper and let cool
on wire rack. Store in air tight containers at room temp or freeze.
To assemble mushrooms, simply attach stems to mushroom caps to
stems with dabs of melted chocolate. Dust with cocoa powder


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