Buche de Noel – Chestnut – bûche de noël

Posted on December 21, 2012


Finished Buche de Noel

This is another multi-step cake.  There’s still time to make one for Christmas (or just because it’s a log.  Log, Log, It’s big it’s round it’s wood.) Much like opera cake, it is made in a sheet pan or jelly roll pan.

Prep 1 half sheet pan (15×12 inches the biggest you have in your home kitchen) by coating it with non-stick spray, then cover with parchment, then spray the parchment.

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F

buche de noel

1.0 Cake – Chestnut “Genoise” Cake

  • 3      ________________ egg whites (save the yolks for something)
  • 1 TBSP   ________________ sugar
  • 75 grams  ________________ chestnut puree (see prep for those below – or use canned)
  • 100 grams  ________________ confection sugar, sifted
  • 4   ________________ eggs
  • 60 grams  ________________ all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBSP   ________________  melted butter
  • 2 tsp   ________________ vanilla
  • 14 tsp  ________________ salt
  • 14 tsp  ________________ Baking soda
  • In a large bowl, or stand mixer whip the egg whites, with the sugar.
    • Start the whites with a whisk, by hand, to avoid un-whipped egg whites from collecting in the bottom of the bowl
  • Whip to stiff peaks – stiff but not dry.
  • Scoop whipped egg whites into another clean bowl (I do this, just to reuse the same bowl)
  • Beat the yolks, with half of the confection sugar.
  • Add the chestnut puree.
  • Sift the rest of the confectioners sugar, with the flour, and baking soda
  • Mix in the cooled melted butter into the eggs.
  • On low, add in the flour mixture, until just combined
  • Remove from mixer, and fold in one third of the egg whites.
  • Fold in the rest of the egg whites, carefully.
  • Distribute into the pan
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Check every 5 minutes.
  • Remove, and let cool slightly.
  • While the cake is cooking, prep a clean tea towel by sprinkling with confectioners sugar.
  • Also cover the back of another large pan with parchment.
  • Flip the cake onto the parchment covered back of, and pull the parchment off the cake
  • Then flip the cake onto the sugar covered tea towel.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the cake.
  • Cover with wax paper, and roll up the cake.
  • Let the cake cool.
  • Wrap with plastic wrap till you’re ready to unroll it and fill it.
  • You can also wrap the cake and freeze it – but be sure to let it thaw in the fridge for a day before letting it come to room temp and unrolling it.
Chestnut Cake

Chestnut Cake

2.0 Chestnut Puree

  • 14 Cup  ________________ confectioners sugar
  • 12 oz   ________________ Chestnuts in the shell (this is just how much I happened to buy)
  • Using a serrated knife – very carefully cut the chestnuts in half.  They roll around and are hard to cut.  Be careful.
  • Put the chestnuts into a pan, and cover with water (about 2 cups should do it)
  • Boil for 30 minutes
  • Remove the skins, and that weird inner skin thing.  If you want them to come out whole, you might want to boil them longer.
  • In a food processor, grind the cooked chestnuts, then add the sugar.
  • Grind till it becomes a doughy paste.

3.0 Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 ________________ egg yolks
  • 4 ________________ egg whites
  • 6 oz ______________ Chocolate (dark – I used  valrhona guanaja, which is 70%)
  • 14 Cup ____________ sugar
  • 14 Cup ____________ water
  • 1 tsp ______________ vanilla extract
  • 4 TBSP ______________ butter (melted and cooled)
  • 12 Cup __________ heavy cream
  • 14 Cup __________ Chestnut Puree
  • dash _____________ espresso powder
  • This has raw egg in it – use fresh eggs that you trust.
  • Melt the chocolate, slowly.  (Microwave or over a pot of simmering water in a double boiler)
  • Mix the butter in to the chocolate.
  • Start whipping the egg whites and slowly add in half of the sugar.  Whip to stiff peaks.
  • Set aside the egg whites
  • Beat the yolks and the remaining sugar (with the paddle attachment)
  • Add in the chocolate and the vanilla extract.
  • Fold the egg whites in.
  • Whip the cream, and then fold in the cream.
  • Spoon into a piping bag, and let chill in the fridge till it sets a little.

4.0 Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 10 oz    ________________ Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped, or melted – I use our warming to melt it)
  • 1 14 Cup ________________ Cream
  • 2 TBSPs  ________________ Butter
  • 1 tsp   ________________ glucose syrup (or corn syrup, about a squirt) (You can leave this out if you want)
  • Reserve an ounce of the chocolate for assembly of meringue decorations, if you’re doing those.
  • Heat the cream, don’t let it boil.
  • Melt the chocolate, in a double boiler, or lightly in a microwave, or however you want.
  • Pour the cream over the chocolate
  • Whisk to combine, starting in the middle.  Don’t use a spatula or spoon on ganache. Whisk.
  • Add in the butter, and glucose syrup, whisking to combine.
  • Set aside, and wait for it to cool to at least 70^o F or room temperature, before beating lightly.

5.1 Assembly

  • Find a piece of cardboard, or a cake board, and cut it into an oblong shape
  • Once you’ve made the mousse, unroll the cooled cake.
  • Spread the mousse on the cake – not too thickly – and leave a decent border.
  • Carefully re-roll the cake – careful to scrape up the mousse before it oozes.
  • Wrap in plastic and chill.
  • Once chilled, cover the cake in the ganache.
  • This doesn’t have to look too fancy – it’s supposed to look like wood.
  • Cut the end of the cake off, on an angle.  (Trim the other end too, and cover that end in icing)
  • Stick one of the scrap pieces to the cake, and cover with more ganache.
  • Use the handle fo a spoon to make wood-like indents in the ganache.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill to set the ganache.

Decorate the plate with the meringues.

6.0 Meringue for decoration

  • 2    ________________ egg whites
  • dash _______________ cream of tartar
  •  14 Cup  ________________ super fine sugar (not confection – caster sugar, or finely ground regular sugar)
  • a bit of cocoa powder
  • Pre-heat the oven to 300° F$
  • In a mixer bowl – whip the egg whites by hand till foamy
  • Put bowl on the mixer, add the tartar
  • Whip to a foam, then slowly add the sugar bit by bit.
  • Whip to stiff peaks.
  • Spoon into piping bags – fitted with a large round tip.
  • (I did two, one with large round tip, and one with a small ribbon tip – because I wanted to make hen of the woods mushroom decorations).
  • On a parchment lined sheet pan, pipe a bunch of domed circles, and with a clean finger, push down the little tail that happens.
  • Pipe a bunch of “stems”
  • Place the sheet pan in the oven, and immediately drop the temperature to 250° F
  • Prop the oven door open (I use all metal kitchen tongs for this, since I’ve melted various other ones)
  • Bake for ~2 hours.  (Leave a window open if you have a tiny confined kitchen or apartment, or if you’re for some reason irrationally worried about CO)
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Spread a thin layer of chocolate on the underside of the mushroom tops, and attach a stem (after cutting the top off, so it will stick)
Pieces for Meringue Mushroom

Pieces for Meringue Mushrooms

Meringue Mushrooms

Meringue Mushrooms – let the tempered chocolate set.

Posted in: Cake, Complicated, Recipe