Saturday 2 January 2016

Sherry Log for Christmas

This dessert is a family tradition for all types of occasions and get-togethers. My Grandmother, Mother and Aunties always made it when we were children. My siblings, cousins and I always called it Grog-log, a nickname we were always scalded for using. Over time this nickname took over, and now without our Grandmother to clarify, no one is now quite sure what it was originally called. A kind friend recalls a similar recipe from the '60s called Sherry Log; over the years it has had many incarnations using whichever spirit or liqueur happened to be on hand. I always make a non-alcoholic version using orange juice, for the children and those that prefer it. Given the Christmas season, I've combined the two versions in a cross; vertical for sherry, horizontal for orange juice; but if crosses aren't your thing, a log is the most usual interpretation, or you can get creative and make whatever shape you fancy. 

It's so simple to make, it feels like cheating: more of an assembly than actual cooking, but the outcome is universally well received. The quantities are more or less approximate depending on how much you want to make, how long the biscuits are dunked for, and how much cream is used between each biscuits. I've made a gluten free version before using store bought GF Ginger biscuits. Just make sure your liqueur isn't grain based. 

Sherry Log

one and a half packets of store bought ginger biscuits
2 cups cream
2 to 4 tablespoons of icing sugar according to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about one cup of sherry or orange juice

Beat the cream until it holds firm peaks. Fold in the icing sugar and vanilla. 

Find a suitable serving tray or platter for the dessert. Place the sherry or orange juice into a small bowl or tray. One at a time, dunk the biscuits into the liquid. 
The alcoholic liquid will quickly soak into the biscuits so don't leave them too long, but the orange juice isn't so absorbent and requires more of a dunking to soften the biscuits.  

I usually make two versions, one alcoholic, one not. Making a cross allows you to combine the two sections and easily be able to determine which is which! 

Place a blob of cream on the plate, and a blob on the first biscuit.

Now stand the biscuits up on the plate using the blobs of cream to hold them. 

Continue to place a blog of cream onto each biscuit before lining it up on the plate.

Keep going until you have the quantity required. 

I put all the sherry biscuits on the upright of the cross.  

Then five orange juice biscuits across the horizontals on each side. 

Now without overworking the cream (or it will curdle) cover the log completely, smoothing out the sides and top. 

Decorate with whatever fruit and nuts you have at hand. I used raspberries and chopped walnuts, but in winter, glace ginger or cherries and slivered almonds works well. Finely grated chocolate is also a good option when fruit is not seasonal. 
Belated Season's Greetings everyone. Maybe I'll make this one again at Easter. 


  1. oh this is what my sister always makes

    1. I've seem a chocolate version too - cocoa added to the cream. Every family seems to have a take on this one.

  2. Lovely! We make it with chocolate chippies - and our name for it is 'Tipsy Cake' :)

    1. Everyone seems to have a family version of this one! I'll try the 'Tipsy Cake' name out on the family next time I make it!

  3. I used to make it with honey snaps in sherry but I don't know if they still make honey snaps .

  4. They don’t sadly! My aunt used Peek Frean’s honey snaps and in the sixties I thought her Sherry Log was the most sophisticated pudding I’d ever tasted. By the way she set the biscuits on the diagonal, making for a more interesting appearance and consistent texture when the log was sliced.