Bûche de Noëlon Dec 13 in featured by Sumi
When I look at these photos, I just want to say-Ooooh la la… C’est magnifique!… Une pure merveille!,
It was not my intention to make an extravagant, celebratory dessert such as this right after Thanksgiving. I have been cooking non-stop for weeks now, and I wouldn’t have added another dessert to the list of things to make over the Holidays.
It was my darling first born’s idea. He belongs to this French Club, you see. And he wanted to participate in this big project of making a French, Christmas dessert called Bûche de Noël. My curiosity heightened when I read about this elaborate traditional dessert . Mainly because of the complexity involved with some mocha buttercream rolled along with sponge-like cake called Genoise, and mushroom candies made out of meringue. I wanted the challenge, and also it’s french. Need I say more?
The first thing I needed was a perfect recipe for our Bûche de Noël. I looked through my French go to book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking I and II” with Julia Childs. I was disappointed to find that there was no recipe for Bûche de Noël in these books. So I started looking through the internet and found no Bûche de Noël recipe by Julia Childs.
I ended up using recipes by Nick Malgieri. It took D2 (David) and I two days to make this cake. I must tell you, it was so worth the trouble. I can not tell you how delicious it was. So delicious, that I will be making another one for Christmas.
Click for the Mocha Buttercream Recipe (adapted from Nick Malgieri)
Click for the Meringue Mushroom Recipe and photos.
I thought it would be better to make the Mocha Buttercream first to have it ready to spread on the Genoise. Genoise is known to be a bit dry so I wanted to roll the Genoise just as soon as it was cooled from the oven to prevent too much cracking.
You’ll need to seperate four eggs. You will need three egg yolks for the Genoise later which means you’ll have one extra egg yolk left to throw out or save for something later.
Put all the four egg whites into the kitchen aid mixing bowl.
Take the mixing bowl off of the double boiler and attach it onto the kitchen aid mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium high speed until the bowl reaches a room temperature. It takes about 8-10 minutes so now is the time to make the Frangelico and espresso powder mixture.
Attach the mixing bowl to the kitchen aid and mix with a whisk attachment until the bowl is cooled and the content is tripled in volume. This will take several minutes so you can go put the dry ingredients together. And don’t forget to preheat the oven at 400°F.
4 large egg whites (or 4.5 ounces egg whites)
1 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, softened
2 tablespoons Frangelico or Kahlua (or water)
1-2 tablespoons espresso powder (I think it’s too strong with 2 personally.) (optional)
4 ounces semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate, melted (do not use chips)
Whisk the egg white and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in another heat proof large bowl if using a hand mixer). Set the bowl over simmering water, and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot or until the candy thermometer reaches 150°F. Remove from heat, and attach the bowl to your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium until the bowl is room temperature (it should feel like it was never on the pan of simmering water). This will take 5-10 minutes or so.
While you’re waiting, dissolve the espresso powder (if using) in the liqueur (or water if you don’t want to use alcohol).
Remove the whisk attachment, and put on the paddle. On medium speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until smooth. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the liqueur/coffee mixture, then the melted chocolate.
Chocolate Genoise (from Nick Malgieri)
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa (You should real use Dutch process cocoa)
Butter a 10″ x 15″ jelly pan with baking spray; line with parchment paper; Butter again.
Preheat the oven to 400F; set an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Set a medium saucepan of water on the stove, with about 2-3″ of water; bring to a boil. Keep at a simmer.
Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place over the simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Whisk constantly for about a minute – you just want to heat the mixture to lukewarm – not hot.
Remove from heat, and attach the bowl to the stand mixer. Beat on medium-high with the whisk attachment until the mixture is cool and has tripled in volume. This will take several minutes.
While that’s whipping, whisk together the cake flour, cornstarch, and cocoa in a dry bowl until the cocoa is full incorporated.
When the egg batter is ready, sift about 1/3 of the flour mixture over the batter, and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula. Repeat two more times. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. It will be firm to the touch and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Don’t overbake or it will be dry.
Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a piece of parchment paper on a cooling rack.
Assemble the Cake: (Watch Nick Malgieri’s video!)
Lay the genoise on a large piece of parchment paper (flip the cake out of the pan onto parchment paper on a cooling rack; when cool, flip again onto the large sheet of parchment).
Use an offset spatula to spread buttercream over the entire surface of the genoise. You should have about 1/2″ layer; this will use a little more than half the buttercream.
Lifting the parchment paper, make a fold in the cake about an inch or two in, lengthwise. Use the parchment to help you roll up the cake. Once rolled, use a baking sheet to tighten the roll and keep in cylindrical. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour.
To see the full assembly of Bûche de Noël, click this link.
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