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Monday, July 23, 2012

Chris✞mas in July - Bûche de Noël

Are you ready for this? It's almost Chris✞mas!!!!Look at the sweet countdown calendar a found in the upper right... Wow that clock is ticking!!

Yvonne at Stone Gable is having a Christmas in July week... so guess what? I'm playing along. 
Monday is Holiday Fare
Tuesday is Handcrafted Gifts
Wednesday is the Cookie Exchange
Thursday is Christmas Cards
Friday is a blog hop!
Wow what a schedule.

I always make two things at Chris✞mas; my Oma's butter cookies and a Bûche de Noël. Sorry, this picture was taken long before I started blogging (can you see the toothpick? ouch!!). But I'm sure you can recognize the log shape, the dusting of snow, a few mushrooms and those holly leaves and berries. So without much further ado..here's a traditional French recipe. Be forewarned that this is an intense labor of love.. but sooooo worth it.

Bûche de Noël   (Yule Log)

Coffee Butter Cream:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks( softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons brandy (or rum)

1 Chocolate Genoise Sheet
1 Package marzipan (or make from recipe)
8 oz. almond past
2 cups coinfectioners sugar
3-5 tablespoons light corn syrup

cocoa powder
red and green liquid food coloring
confectioners sugar

To make the Chocolate Genoise Sheetcake:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks (total of 6 egg yolks)
pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa
10x15" jelly-roll pan, buttered and lined with buttered parment

Set rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.
Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees (test with finger). Attach the bowl to the mixer and with the whisk attachment, whip on medium high speed until the egg mixture is cooled and tripled in volume.

While the eggs are whipping, stire toether the flour, cornstarch and cocoa. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making tsure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on eveyr pass through the batter prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another 1/3 flour mixture and finally with remainder.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the Genoise for about 10-12 minutes, or until well risen, deep and firm to the touch. Don't overbake or it will be dry. Use small small paring knife to loosen the cake from teh sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and let the cake cool right side up on the paper. I usually cover with another sheet of parchment to keep the moisture in. When the cake is cool, invert the cake onto the cover sheet and gently remove the paper from the bottom.
If you must store, warpe in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several days or double wrap and freezae for up to a month.

To make the buttercream:
Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in teh softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Turn the Genoise layer over and peel away the paper. Invert onto a fresh piece of paper. Spread the layer with half the buttercream. Use the paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder. Transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until set. Reserve the remaining buttercream for teh outside of the bûche.

To make marzipan:
Combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with teh paddle attachment on low speed until the sugar is almost absorbed. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar and mix until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add half teh corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time as necessary. The marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly. Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth. (Really - I use the ready made stuff that is ready use and not the type for baking.)
To make marzipan mushrooms:
Roll 1/3 of the marzipan into a 6" long cylinder and cut into 1" lengths. Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps). Smudge with cocoa powder.
To make holly leaves and berries: 
Knead green color (use rubber gloves) into 1/2 the remaining marzipan and flatten. Once flat, lift from surface with a spatula. Then on the loosened green marzipan, using either a holly cookie cutter or a knife and your design skills, cut several holly leaves. Knead red food coloring (you should still have your gloves on) into a bit of the food coloring, then roll into tiny balls for the holly berries.
To make pine cones:
Knead cocoa powder into remaining marzipan. Divide in half and form into 2 cone shapes. Slash sides of cones with the tips of scissors to resemble pine cones.

Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2" away from each end. Position the larger cut piece on the Bûche de Noël about 2/3 across the top. Cover the Bûche de Noël with reserved buttercream. Making sure to curve around the protruding stump. Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark. Transfer the Bûche de Noël to a platter and decorate with the marzipan. Sprinkle the platter and Bûche de Noël sparingly with confectioners sugar "snow".

Storage: Keep at cool room temperature. Cover leftovers loosely and keep at room temperature. I use toothpicks inserted into cake to keep the covering away from the decorated cake and then store the entire in Bûche de Noël in the refrigerator. If the cake gets too warm, the frosting will melt!

Thanks so much for coming by! Hope you are having fun gathering  Chris✞mas ideas! It's never too soon to start.


On Crooked Creek said...

I adore reading of family Traditions at Holiday times! This is such an intense recipe...but love that it was handed down form your Grandmother. Have a blessed week!
I adore the hues in your header and your Christmas Countdown Calendar cooled me off a bit from these triple digit temperatures. Thanks, dear friend!


Oh Marlis, how wonderful! I love the C'mas week idea at Stone Gable and your Buche de Noel from your grandma it's a treasure recipe to keep and to remember her everytime you make it, so thank you for sharing the recipe with us too. I love C'mas traditions from families and from my own family as well. Time is going by soon, so C'mas will be here in no time! Have a great week.

Barbara F. said...

That is a beautiful buche de Noel, Marlis. I made a buche one time in a cooking class, I may have a photo of it, it was pre-blogging days. It was absolutely labor-intensive. I often make a chocolate cake roll. A little easier and it can be dressed up as much or as little as you want. xo

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Your cake is beautiful Marlis! It's a true labor of love:@)

Babs said...

Marlis, your Buche de Noel looks delicious, even with the toothpick. :)
Thanks for sharing your traditional recipe.


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