12 Dec Special of the day: Holiday How-to: Buche de Noel
One of my very favorite Christmas desserts to make is Bûche de Noël, the traditional French cake roll decorated to look like a log. My take on the traditional Yule log dessert calls for a peppermint chocolate cake roll filled with peppermint whipped cream, frosted with chocolate frosting and adorned with meringue mushrooms. Mastering the cake roll is a matter of beating whites until stiff, beating yolks until thick, sifting dry ingredients to add to the fluffy egg mixture, adding peppermint extract and baking briefly. While peppermint whipped cream filling, chocolate frosting and meringue mushrooms surely dress up the dessert, you could easily skip the extras and just bake the chocolate roll, let it cool, fill it with peppermint ice cream and serve it up proudly with a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Either way, it’s something special that’s somewhat elegant and relatively simple to make with just a few ingredients.
Sending you a slice of seasonal heaven is this week’s Special of the Day:Holiday How to: Bûche de Noël with recipe for Peppermint Bûche de Noël with Peppermint Whipped Cream Filling, Chocolate Frosting and Meringue Mushrooms. Happy Holiday Baking!
Peppermint Bûche de Noël with Peppermint Whipped Cream Filling, Chocolate Frosting and Meringue Mushrooms
Make the chocolate roll:
6 eggs, separated
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 ½ Tbsp. cake flour
3 T. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a clean bowl, beat yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Fold beaten yolks into whites gently just until incorporated. Sift dry ingredients into beaten egg mixture, add peppermint extract and fold gently just until incorporated.
Grease the bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan and line with waxed paper. Spread chocolate roll batter into prepared pan, smoothing with a rubber spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, just until sides begin to pull away from edges of pan and middle springs back slightly when touched.
Sift a light layer of powdered sugar over a tea towel spread out on a work surface.
Invert baked chocolate roll onto tea towel and working quickly and carefully peel waxed paper off of the cake. Pick up one long end of the chocolate roll and roll the cake all the way up in the tea towel. Let cool completely.
Make the meringue mushrooms:
(makes about 20 mushrooms)
3 egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form.
Gradually add sugar while beating until stiff peaks form.
Transfer meringue batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe 20 filled circles about 1 inch in diameter and 20 pointed mounds about 1 inch high onto parchment. Go back and smooth out circles with wet fingertip to make smooth caps, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven 1 to 1 ½ hours or until set.
Remove from oven and remove from parchment. Slice pointed ends of pointed mounds off with a sharp knife to make stems. Spread enough chocolate frosting on the under side of each cap to cover.
Gently press stems into frosted caps.
Dust lightly with cocoa powder. Set aside until ready to decorate Bûche de Noël.
While meringue mushrooms are baking, make the chocolate frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ -3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Using electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder and ½ cup heavy whipping cream. Cover the mixer with a tea towel to contain the powder and cloud and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla and salt and enough additional heavy whipping cream to achieve desired consistency.
When chocolate roll is completely cool, transfer to cutting board.
Make the peppermint whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
Using electric mixer, beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and peppermint extract and mix to combine thoroughly. Unroll cooled chocolate roll on cutting board. Using a rubber spatula, spread a layer of peppermint whipped cream over the cake, leaving space around the edge so the filling doesn’t seep out.
Lift one long edge and roll all the way up, placing the rolled cake seam side down on the cutting board.
Slice off both ends to make branches for the Bûche de Noël. Transfer Bûche de Noël to serving platter and position branches on either side of the log. Frost with chocolate frosting and adorned with meringue mushrooms.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.