Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tartine's Buche De Noel

Merry Christmas everyone!!  We had a great Christmas Eve with loads of gifts for all, and my dear sis is currently working on our Christmas dinner in the kitchen.  After I got the Tartine cookbook a few months ago, I decided I simply  had to make a Buche De Noel for Christmas.  I didn't expect mine to turn out as lovely as Tartine's, but their instructions are very detailed so I figured how hard can it be?

This is probably the longest recipe I have ever attempted, and it take quite a bit of time.  I made the actual log the day before, and the decorations on Christmas Day.  But nothing about it is terribly difficult, although I should mention we skipped the meringe mushrooms since I didn't have the right tip size for piping and obviously nothing is open today.  C'est la vie, I used a cute chocolate Santa as well as some white nonpareils instead.

The log ends up being really long so we made two buche de noels since I didn't have a serving platter that was long enough.  I didn't really understand the whole bough thing, so I just made it into a simple log.  When looking for the recipe online afterwards I found a picture of what it as supposed to look like, and I'm glad I just stuck with the log.

At this point we haven't tried it yet, just the ends that were cut off before decorating.  The cake is light and spongy with a hint of lemony flavour.  The butter cream is oh so good.  Sweet and satiny smooth and probably way more calories than I would like to know about.

Basic Chiffon Cake  for Buche de Noel


1 C + 2tbsp or 5 1/2 oz All-purpose flour
3/4 C or 5 1/4 oz Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 C or 2 oz Vegetable Oil
3 Large Egg Yolks
1/3 C + 1 tbsp Water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 tsp Lemon Zest
5 Egg Whites, at room temp
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Directions:Preheat oven to 325, line the bottom of a 12x17 jelly roll pan with parchment paper to fit exactly, do not grease the sides of the pan.  Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in all but 3 tbsp of the sugar and all of the salt into the flour mixture.  In a small bowl whisk the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest together.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into it, whisk quickly for 1 min, set aside
Pour the egg whites into a stand mixer bowl.  Using the whisk attachment beat on med-high speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat at the same speed until the whites hold soft peaks.  Slowly add the 3 tbsp of sugar and beat at the same speed until whites hold stiff shiny peaks.

Gently fold in about 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten. Then gently fold in the rest of the whites.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake 20-30 min or until cake is just set to the touch. Set aside to cool in the pan. Once cool run a small knife along the edge to loosen, then invert the cake onto a cooling rack, peel off the parchment and set aside.

1 1/4 C or 10 oz Unsalted Butter, at room temp
1 C + 2 tbsp or 8 oz Sugar
1/2 C or 4 oz Egg Whites
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 C or 2 oz Coffee, brewed double strength

Cut the butter into tbsp increments.

Fill a sauce pan with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Combine sugar, egg whites and salt in a stainless steal bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together to combine. Place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. Whisk over the water until the mixture is hot to the touch (120 degrees), about 5 min.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place in the bowl into the stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Mix on high speed until the the mixture is thick, glossy and holds very stiff peaks, about 5-7 min.  Mixture should be cool by this point

Reduce the speed to med-high and add the butter to the mixture 1 tbsp at a time, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the coffee at a low speed, than increase to med to fully incorporate, set aside.  The buttercream was soupy and starting to separate when I added the coffee so I just beat it on high and it re-incorporated itself

Meringue Mushrooms

1/2C + 2tbsp or 2 1/2 ounces Confectioners Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Flour
2  large Egg Whites
pinch Cream of Tartar
1/3 C or 2 1/2 ounces Granulated Sugar

Preheat oven 175 degrees.  Sift confectioners sugar and flour together into a small bowl.  Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Using the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat egg whites on med speed until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar, beat until stiff shiny peaks form.  Using a spatula gently fold in the confectioner sugar/flour mixture until just incorporated.

Piping Mushrooms:
Pipe immediately.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag. Place the bag in a tall cup, 1/2 inch tip already inserted, and fold the ends over the cup.  Pipe the mushroom caps first: hold the pastry bag horizontal to the sheet and squeeze the bag until you reach your desired size and lift away quickly. Smooth any tails away with a wet finger.  Next pipe the stems by making kiss shaped meringues: start by piping a small dot of meringue then release the pressure and slowly lift the bag to create a tail. 

Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 4 hours keeping the door slightly ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon.  The meringues should be very dry but should not color.  If you see that they are coloring reduce oven temp by 25 degrees.  When mushrooms are ready remove from the oven and let cool completely.  They may feel a little soft when they come right out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool. 

Coffee Syrup

1/2 C or 4 oz Coffee, brewed double strength
1/3 C or 2 1/2 oz Sugar

In a small sauce pan, combine the coffee and sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let it cool, the fridge will speed up this process.

Pistachio Moss:

1/4 C or 1 1/4 oz Pistachio nuts

In a blender or food processor process the pistachios into a powder.

Almond Ganache Bark

1 C or 3 1/2 oz Sliced Almonds
6 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
3/4 C or 6 oz Heavy Cream

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and bake for 5 min or until toasted. Stir halfway through to ensure even toasting. Transfer to a small plate to cool.  Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan bring the heavy cream to just under a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 min, then stir the mixture until it is melted, smooth and shiny.

Add the cooled almonds and mix gently. Place the mixture in the fridge for 15 min or until it has thickened and is a good spreading consistency.  If the ganache becomes too hard for spreading you can place the heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir with a wooden spoon until it softens to the right consistency.

Assembling the buche:

Place the cooled cake on parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Using a pastry brush, moisten the entire cake with the cooled coffee syrup.  Transfer all the buttercream to the cake and spread evenly with a spatula leaving a 1 inch strip on each long side of the cake void of buttercream.  Starting from the longest side nearest you, begin rolling the cake tightly, using the plastic wrap to help you. Don't worry about the state of the ends, they will both be cut off anyways. Refrigerate the rolled cake for at least 2 hours.

Using a sharp knife, cut a thick slice off each end at the diagonal . Set the cleanest best looking end aside. To frost the cake, use an offset spatula to spread the ganache bark evenly over the cake leaving the faces of the two ends exposed. Make sure you reserve enough ganache to frost the "bough" which is your reserved end piece.

Place the diagonal slice, the bough, on top of the frosted cake towards one of the cakes ends. Make sure the diagonal end is facing up. Next frost the sides of the bough leaving the top face exposed.  Transfer the cake to your serving dish. To assemble each mushroom use the tip of a small paring knife to whittle a hole on the underside of the cap where the stem will fit.  Using some of the ganache as glue, attach the stem to the caps.  Finish decorating the buche with the mushrooms, moss, and other decorations.  Finish with dusting of confectioner's sugar.

1 comment:

  1. Update: this cake is yummy, but waaaay too rich for my taste. I could barely eat one slice. Mike suggested cutting the buttercream in half next time. The cake itself is really yummy, I will be making chiffon cake in the near future.


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