Merry Christmas to everyone around the world. Since this time of the year is all about dessert, dessert, dessert, truffles, cookies, candy, etc. During our trip to France a few years ago I found out about a French tradtion during Christmas time. The Buche De Noel is a cake made to look like a Christmas yule log, decorated many differnet ways. The variaties of flavors are many now but this recipe definitly took my French family back to France just for the evening. I also found this recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com much easier than most of the others I found online:
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup white sugar
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. In large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners’ sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Cool for 30 minutes.
4. Unroll the cake, and spread the filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll the cake up with the filling inside. Place seam side down onto a serving plate, and refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
And if you want to make it extra special here is the recipe to make mushrooms for the decor:
1/2 cup of egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon unsweented cocoa powder
4 ounces chocolate confectioner coating
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Continue whipping until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar so that it does not sink to the bottom, and continue whipping until the mixture holds stiff shiny peaks.
3. Place a round tip into a pastry bag, and fill the bag half way with the meringue. To pipe the mushroom caps, squeeze out round mounds of meringue onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Pull the bag off to the side to avoid making peaks on the top. For the stems, press out a tiny bit of meringue onto the other sheet, then pull the bag straight up. They should resemble candy kisses. Do not worry about making all of the pieces exactly the same. The mushrooms will look more natural if the pieces are different sizes. Dust the mushroom caps lightly with cocoa using a small sifter or strainer.
4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the caps are dry enough to easily remove from the cookie sheets. Set aside to cool completely. Melt the coating chocolate in a metal bowl over simmering water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
5. Poke a small hole in the bottom of a mushroom cap. Spread chocolate over the bottom of the cap. Dip the tip of a stem in chocolate, and press lightly into the hole. When the chocolate sets, they will hold together. Repeat with remaining pieces. Store at room temperature in a dry place or tin.