Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yule Log Cake: Buche de Noel

I have been saving this recipe since I was probably ten and I've finally made it. Years later, I recognized the chef in the newspaper clipping to be the head of the culinary department at SRJC!
Here's my Buche de Noel, it's made with the chocolate roulade recipe that I saved. It's flourless and super delicious. The cake is filled with chantilly (or whipped cream for us American folk) and chocolate chips. I topped it with an extra square of Ghiradelli chocolate and honeycomb toffee. I first tried this by the seaside with my family, the Scotts in Whitby, I think.
I don't have a recipe for this tasty toffee, because it was a bit of an experiment, but here's the gist: Prep a pan by buttering it, covering with parchment and buttering the parchment. Start making toffee, swirling the sugar but not stirring. Get it to 270F then remove from the heat. I added about a tablespoon of lemonjuice and swirled, then added two tablespoons of baking soda. It will foam. I then stirred it and poured it onto the buttered pan. Let cool completely then break into segments.

I loved how the chocolate looked, half melted with the Ghiradelli emblem still showing!

Egg whites.

Chocolate chips about to be rolled up into the roulade. They're so cute (:
Tiramipursuit Buche de Noel
I used the SRJC recipe for the cake but added tips and helpful hints to make the process a little easier.
for the roulade:
7 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water for the water bath
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
for the chantilly:
1 pint of whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a half-sheet pan by buttering it, lining it with parchment paper, buttering it again and flouring it. Tap out the excess flour from the pan.
Get the water steaming, then put the top half of the double boiler over it, whether it is a bowl or a smaller pan. You don't want any steam to get into your chocolate or it may seize. Melt the chocolate over the hot water bath. Stir until smooth, then let cool for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with only 1/4 cup of the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale. BEat in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla.
In another large bowl, slowly start beating the egg whites. Once foamy, you can add the cream of tartar and start increasing your speed. Beat to soft peak stage, then add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks.
Stir one fourth of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and the then fold this new chocolate/white mixture into the remaining egg whites gently. It is lumpy, so be gentle with the whites but don't stress too much about the folding. I tried to really mix that first 1/4 in thoroughly, I even used a mixer so it would fold a little easier. It was a little lumpy still in the end, but the lumps baked out for the most part because they are just pieces of chocolate (:
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a metal spatula. Bake the cake in the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until it is puffed and just set. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. The cake sinks as it cools.
Prepare the chantilly:
Start whipping the cream. Add the sugar and vanilla once bubbles start to form. It is a lot of liquid, so it could take up to ten minutes depending on the speed of your beater. Once it is fluffy, showing little clumps it is ready. You don't want it soft or loose at all, because it will be supporting the structure of the cake.
Once the cake is completely cool, invert it onto another sheet of parchment and carefully peel off the bottom layer of parchment. The recipe says to sprinkle it with powdered sugar here, but my cake was pretty dry so I skipped it. Then spread the whipped cream onto the cake carefully until it is evenly distributed in a thick layer. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pull up on the parchment and roll up the cake into a log. Don't try to make the spiral too tight or the first rolls will crumble. The cake is delicate, so you might experience some cracking as I did. I'm not sure how to prevent this, but I liked the effect because it looked like bark.
Garnish with honeycomb toffee and a piece of chocolate, if the company you used has a nice stamp on it. Or get creative and make some marzipan or meringue mushrooms, chocolate leaves, sugared cranberries or whatever garnishes you like.
Bon Appetit!

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