What will you be doing on December 28th?
In France, the chocolate bûche is a classic--and usually my Maman's thing. I was always a big eater of bûche, but never tried my hand at making one until this year. And since I would rather eat something good than completely failed on Christmas day, I only did half of the work and teamed up with my Maman for the rest.
This would make a great dessert all throughout the holiday season, so if you're looking for a beautiful way to end a meal, give this recipe by the esteemed Jacques Pépin a try. It's tasty and light, so you'll be able to polish off the bowl of chocolates afterwards.
Sounds like a plan I would stick to.
Chocolate Yule Log
from The Art of Cooking by Jacques Pépin
serves 10 to 12
for Jelly Roll Cake:
8 eggs, separated
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1 TS vanilla
2/3 c. flour
for Chocolate Pastry Cream Filling:
3 egg yolks
1/3 c. granulted sugar
2 TB cornstarch
1 TS vanilla
1 1/2 c. milk
5 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
for Rum-Chocolate Ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 TB dark rum
for Decorations (optional):
1/2 tube marzipan
Make Jelly Roll Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Beat 8 egg yolks, 2/3 c. sugar and vanilla together until very fluffy and smooth, approximately 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until smooth.
Beat egg whites until firm. Fold yolk mixture gently into whites.
Butter a parchment paper-lined jelly roll pan (12 x 16 in). Spread cake batter evenly on top.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cake will deflate as it cools.
Make Pastry Cream: Beat egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla together.
Meanwhile, bring milk to a boil. Pour boiling milk into yolk mixture, whisk, and return to saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil for about 10 seconds. remove from heat.
Add chocolate and stir gently until chocolate is melted and evenly distributed. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Assembly: When the pastry cream is cold, spread it on top of the cake (with parchment paper still underneath cake). Lift up the cake using the paper and roll it on itself. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate overnight or up to one day.
Finish Log: Cut off both ends at an angle--these ends will be used to make the "stumps" on top of the log.
Make ganache: Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Place cream and rum in a bowl and pour melted chocolate on top. Whisk for 15 to 30 seconds until mixture lightens slightly in color. Do not overwhisk, which would cause discoloration and hardening of the ganache.
Coat cake with a small layer of ganache. Place "stumps" on top. Continue coating with ganache and using a fork, create a bark effect.
Optional: Using marzipan and food coloring, make marzipan leaves and mushrooms to place on log.