As 2017 draws to a close, I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas or just spending time with family and friends over the festive season. I spent the days following up to Christmas making ‘stained glass’ cookies (pictures down below!), pumpkin soup and a bûche de noël (yule log) to share for when family came over for a Christmas dinner. It was quite a bit of work on my behalf, but I do enjoy being busy and making something to be proud of! 🙂
On top of making a Yule Log, as mentioned above I tried making stained glass cookies! It is simply a cookie with a candied centre:
This is my third year making a yule log for Christmas and while I did not expect it to be a thing I would be making every year, it seems that mum has decided on my behalf that it will be. As that is the case, my idea is that I will be making a different variation on the yule log every year (but hey, that might change, considering I have roughly another 350 or so days to think about what kind of log I want to make next).
Despite my interest in wanting to present a different combination of flavours each year, I am certain now that every year I will largely be using the same sponge recipe; I trust the recipe and it has worked beautifully for me every time (the French know exactly what they’re doing). The only thing I did differently this time? Added in 45g of Dutch processed cocoa powder into the sponge mixture.
I prefer dark chocolate and so do most of my family- so my ganache and sponge incorporate just dark chocolate and dutch-processed cocoa powder. When test tasting I was worried perhaps that I had gone too far with the dark chocolate, but when it was combined with the raspberry cream and morello cherry syrup, I felt it was perfectly balanced and a lovely way to end a full Christmas feast.
Initially I was planning to run morello cherries through my cream (essentially making a black forest cake in log form) but I had these lovely fresh raspberries in the fridge, so I made a simple syrup from morello cherry juice and brushed the syrup over the sponge and had raspberries through the cream instead.
As always, please drop me an email or leave a comment here if you have any questions or comments about this post, or any other post I’ve got here 🙂
Here’s to hoping that 2018 will bring fresh new starts, new ideas and motivation to do the very best we can.
Chocolate Bûche de Noël with raspberry cream and morello cherry syrup
Adapted from JeanPierreVigato.com
STEP 1 Making the Sponge
-9 egg yolks
-80g caster sugar (granulated)
-45g dutch processed cocoa powder
-5 egg whites
-50g caster sugar
-85g pastry flour
- Preheat your oven to 230ºC/446ºF. Sift pastry flour and cocoa together. Whisk egg yolks with 80g sugar until creamy yellow and thick. In a second bowl, whisk egg whites with 50g sugar until stiff. Pour in yolk mixture, folding in gently. Proceed to sift and fold flour into the mixture.
- Spread mixture onto baking tray lined with parchment paper 40cm x 40cm. (Alternatively, spreading your mixture onto a silpat works just as well.) Slide into centre of oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Let sponge cool completely, before peeling sponge away from parchment. The original recipe suggests using a metal tray pressed against the parchment to help with slowly and evenly peeling the parchment away.
STEP 2 Chocolate Icing
-110g dark chocolate
-1/2 cup thickened cream
-20g unsalted butter
- Semi-melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave. Heat cream separately, until it just start to come to a boil.
- Whisk hot cream into the chocolate in 3 portions, making sure all the cream is incorporated before adding in more. The mixture should be smooth and glossy when done. Set aside to allow for the mixture to firm to a spreadable consistency. Putting the icing in the fridge and giving the mixture a gentle stir every 10-15 minutes helps speed up this process.
STEP 3 Morello cherry syrup (simple syrup)
-70g caster sugar
-70ml morello cherry juice (optional)
- Boil sugar and water and juice together until sugar has dissolved, turn off heat. Set aside and allow to cool.
STEP 4 Raspberry cream
-300ml thickened/heavy cream
-1/4 cup/65g icing sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 handfuls of fresh or frozen raspberries, halved and whole
- Whisk heavy cream in a mixer on a low-medium speed until cream begins to froth and slightly thicken. Add in icing sugar and vanilla extract and whisk mixture on a medium-high until soft peaks form.
- Gently run raspberries through the cream.
- Set cream aside in fridge until ready for use.
STEP 5 Constructing and decorating the log
- Brush one side of the sponge with syrup.
- Evenly spread raspberry cream over the surface of the sponge, leaving a 2cm gap at one of the sponge.
- Roll the sponge up in the direction of the 2cm gap and transfer to serving plate.
- The roll may be cut in half (to make two logs), partially cut diagonally so as to become a ‘branch’, or cut twice to create three branches (one to put on top of the main log)
STEP 5 Decorating your log (optional)
- Use the chocolate icing to attach the branch(es) to the main body of your log.
- Spread a thin layer of the chocolate icing over the surface of your log. This will trap any stray crumbs and prevent the skin of the roll from peeling away as you add more icing.
- Using a spatula, spread the icing over the roll in one direction. There is no need to be too exact as to where the icing layers overlap.
- Decorate log with berries and sift some powdered icing sugar over your tree log to simulate snow if you wish!