Buches De Noel – Looks Like Christmas Is Finally Here!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Buches de Noel also known as Yule Logs were the challenge given by Lisa and Ivonne, founders and co-host this month of the Daring Bakers. I think they just had the perverted idea to see us buttered, creamed and rolled in light genoise, Swiss buttercream, decorated in meringue and flavorful Marzipan. You should not that when I talk in those terms it can only be because they gave us an awesome challenge! Did I mentioned I buttercreamed my hair? Hmm, yeah…what I thought was the first gray hair was just a streak of buttercream from picking up the phone, lifting my glasses up and frosting my hair with a fork full of buttercream. See, they even raise my blood pressure…those two I tell you!!
Buche de Noel is ancient tradition in my family, and I think for most European families as well. Wasn’t too long after I figured out how to make genoise that yes, it could be filld, and yes it could be rolled and “oh my!” before you know it I was making it for our Christmas dinner. Over the years, there were the traditional stump looking one, with flavors just as traditional: chestnuts, chocolate, caramel, coffee. One year I decided to make a pink and purple one to match the table setting (not Grandma’s favorite!). We also had the genius frozen one that required 6 hands and an electric knife for proper dissection! Yeah, not an event I wish to revisit. Buche de Noel, how do I love thee….well ask me next Tuesday when I am done making them for family, church, friends and strangers. Ok, so they pay me, still…I like when Yule Log season starts, I also like when it ends.
This time our instructions were to do a light genoise, fill and frost it with preferably coffee Swiss buttercream, so as to prevent any white/red/green/blue logs (how did they find out about my childhood one is still a mystery J) although options were given for those who did not like coffee. Requirements for decorations were either meringue or marzipan mushrooms.
It turned I needed two logs within days of each other so instead of visiting the recipe twice, I went ahead and made double batches of everything. I have long ago learned that December is the most hectic month of the year in which days are 12 hour long instead of 24…yep, really and although I am a night owl I have also seen too many sunrises this month with buttercream in my eyes? Did I mention I tried it as eye shadow one night I still had someone the back of my hand and went to rub my eyes?
So, here was my game plan and you can see executed in the pictures:
Log # 1: Coffee – Burnt Orange
- burnt orange genoise: instead of mixing orange zest in the batter, I scattered it on top and put the tray in a hot oven. The zest got darker but nor bitter.
- Once cooled, I brushed the cake with a Grand Marnier simple syrup
- Coffee Swiss meringue for the frosting where I dissolved the coffee with Grand Marnier instead of the brandy called for in the recipe. (French meringue is egg whites whipped firm with sugar, Italian is hot syrup drizzled over whipped egg whites and continuing whipping until is cools, Swiss is egg whites and sugar brought to 140F over double boiler then whipped until cooled)
- Filling: Orange Confit Coffee Mousse; part coffee buttercream, part whipped cream with added coffee and bits of orange confit scattered in it. Some broken meringue mushroom pieces for a crunch
- Decorations: Meringue mushrooms called for in the recipe and then I needed to challenge my sculpting skills so I made a marzipan teddy bear (Theodore), a red hatted snowman (Albert) and green hatted snowman (Truman). Lisa challenge me to a moose which turned out looking like a donkey so I ate it…I am evil, I know!
Log #2: Chocolate – Vanilla Crème Brulee – Chocolate Sauce
That’s where I challenged myself and the log almost won: I had the crazy idea that it would be cool to have a layer of vanilla bean crème brulee inside the Yule Log. How was I going to come up with that? I made a classic brulee batter, threw in some gelatin, poured it into a sheet pan and let it set in the fridge. Rolling that thing in the cake proved to be a challenge as the set batter had only one thing in mind, escape!! But I stepped away, took a deep breath and rolled again, tighter this time,and closed the thing shut.
- genoise was left plain, with some vanilla in there for good measure
- layer of chocolate ganache, layer of chocolate buttercream, layer of vanilla crème brulee
- chocolate buttercream to cover it all
- decorations: I drew rounds on top of the log with a glass and carefully spooned out some of the cream, filled the indentation was homemade chocolate sauce. That way the log comes with its own sauce and everybody get a little extra chocolate!
The final testing for that one will be Tuesday, for now it is parked in the freezer, well wrapped, hoping I don’t crush it with a bag of cauliflower! Did I mention I also buttercreamed my dog? My spatula was overloaded, he yapped, I turned abruptly and a big dollop landed on his snout. He spent ten minutes chasing it around, on its own nose…a sight to be seen!
The cake was light and airy and the buttercream smooth and oh so good sandwiched in between chocolate shortbread cookies! I had a blast, as you can see by the pictures and should you want the recipe, check either Lisa or Ivonne for the full lowdown. I am having issues with blogger so not posting the recipe just yet. Make yourself a good cup of coffee and check out all the beautiful logs out there.