‘Twas the night before a Christmas party, and a couple of ambitious kids decided to attempt a bûche de Noël, the traditional French holiday dessert, known in the U.S. by its far less glamorous English name, the yule log. The end result was ultimate success, but I will admit that the process was a many-hour’d, multi-step’d adventure in chocolate, cream and eggs. I won’t repost the recipe here (feel free to talk to Martha Stewart about that), but I will let you know that a bûche is essentially chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate. A thin cake, a pillowy mousse, and a decadent ganache comprise the log, which, when sliced, looks unnervingly like a Little Debbie Swiss Roll. It tastes better, though. Much better.
Making a bûche requires a lot of chopping chocolate.
Making a bûche requires some weighing of above chocolate.
If you’re making a bûche right, you’ll spend at least as much time preparing the cake as you do decorating it. This particular bûche was fully accessorized. First, some citrus peels were candied until they glistened like little Christmas jewels.
Then some meringue mushrooms–quite possibly the most fanciful garnish I’ve ever seen–were created and planted in the ganache soil.
A few drizzles of lighter chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar completed the illusion of a tasty log resting on the forest floor. Since a log on the forest floor is, of course, the illusion one aims for when creating a Christmas dessert. (Silly French.)
Did I mention the cooks were oh so proud?