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  Tronchetto di Natale
(Italian Yule Log Cake)
from Danette

This is a traditional Italian Christmas-time cake. When my sister and I spent the holidays with our Italian relatives, we had it for dessert several times. It's relatively difficult to make, but is really delicious and it looks funny - like a log!

Servings: 6, about 837 calories, 18 g protein and 42 g fat per serving

Time: about 40 minutes of preparation time, plus 3-4 hours refrigeration time, and 15 minutes to cook

Ingredients:

  • 10 TB (6 oz/170 g) flour
  • 10 TB (5 1/4 oz/150 g) sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 7 TB (3 1/2 oz/100g) sweet cocoa powder
  • one jar of chesnut puree/cream ("crema di marroni" or "confettura di castagne")
  • powdered sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 7 TB (3 1/2 oz/100 g) butter

    for "pastry syrup":
  • 4 cups (1 liter) of water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TB Strega (an Italian liqueur) or mandarin orange liqueur

    Put water in a pot and stir sugar in until it dissolves. Let simmer, stirring occasionally. Let boil for several minutes until it thickens into a syrup. Blend in liqueur.

Directions:

1. Beat the yolks with the sugar and add about 3/4 cup (150 g) of the flour, sifted. Move half of the mixture to another bowl and mix in half of the cocoa powder. Set aside.

2. Beat the egg whites into soft peaks with the salt.

3. Gently fold half of the whites into each mixture. Line a buttered plate with a piece of buttered and floured parchment paper. Pour the two mixtures into two rectangular jelly roll pans, 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) high.

4. Cook in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 minutes. Overturn the plate on a damp kitchen towel and remove the parchment paper.

5. Brush both of the the cakes with the "pastry syrup" and then spread chestnut cream over them.

6. Place the dark cake on top of the other, cream side facing up, and, with the help of the towel, roll the cake up like a jelly roll. Wrap the "log" in parchment paper and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

7. Mix the remaining butter with a tablespoon of powdered sugar and the remaining cocoa powder. Ten minutes before serving the cake, remove the parchment paper and decorate the cake with the icing to resemble a yule log,

 

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