Recipe: Bûche de Noël - NBC4 Washington

Recipe: Bûche de Noël

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The 2016 MetroCooking DC Show happens this weekend, and it's set to be one of the best ever. News4’s Barbara Harrison joins one of the many chefs who will be at the show, Caitlin Dysart, an award-winning pastry chef at the 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church. Dysart demonstrates how to make a Buche de Noel cake that is fit for any holiday celebration. (Published Friday, Dec. 2, 2016)

    Chef Caitlin Dysart of 2941 Restaurant shares her recipe for Bûche de Noël.

    Elements:

     

    • flourless chocolate sponge cake
    • 3 cups filling of your choice (i.e. buttercream frosting or sweetened whipped cream)
    • 2 cups frosting of your choice
    • meringue mushrooms
    • coconut flakes (optional)

     

    Flourless Chocolate Sponge Cake

     

    • 4 egg whites
    • 11 egg yolks
    • 1 ½ cup sugar
    • 1 cup cocoa powder

     

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with either a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.

    In the bowl of a standing mixer (or, alternatively, in a medium bowl with a hand mixer), begin whipping the egg whites with the whisk attachment. Once the egg whites are foamy, begin slowly adding the sugar and raising the speed of the mixer. Whip on high for one minute.

    Stir the egg yolks into the meringue. Lastly, fold in the cocoa powder.

    Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly.

    Bake in the oven until the cake is dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (7-10 minutes.) Let cool completely.

    Meringue Mushrooms

     

    • 3 egg whites (use the leftovers from the chocolate sponge)
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • Pinch salt
    • Melted chocolate, as needed

     

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 200°F (as the meringues may take a long time to dry out in the oven, it is best to do this recipe at least one day before serving your bûche de noel.)

    In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, begin whipping the egg whites and salt on low speed. Once the egg whites are foamy, begin slowly adding the sugar while raising the speed of the mixer. After all of the sugar has been added, whip the meringue on high for one minute until stiff peaks form.

    By hand with a spatula, gently fold the powdered sugar into the meringue.

    Place the meringue in a pastry piping bag fitted with a straight pastry tip (alternatively, place the meringue in a quart- or gallon-sized plastic food storage bag and cut off a small piece of one corner of the bag to form a makeshift piping bag.) Begin piping the two shapes for the mushrooms: “chocolate kiss” shapes to form the base of the mushroom, and nickel-sized discs to form the caps. Make a variety of sizes. You can also add food coloring to the meringue if you wish to have colored mushrooms.

    Place the piped meringues in the oven and bake until dry throughout, but still white. The baking time depends largely on the oven and humidity. To check, pull out one meringue and allow it to cool to room temperature on the counter; cut open the meringue and if it is dry in the middle it’s ready. If the meringues are taking a long time to bake, turn the oven off and prop open the door and lat them dry out overnight.

    When the meringues are dry and cooled, assemble the mushrooms: using the tip of a small paring knife, “drill” a small hole in the middle of the underside of a mushroom cap. Dip the tip of one of the mushroom bases into melted chocolate and insert into the hole in the cap. Place on a plate and allow the chocolate to set before placing the mushrooms on the bûche.

    Assembly

    Remove the flourless chocolate sponge from the baking sheet, and peel away the parchment paper or baking sheet lining. Place the cake on a clean sheet of parchment paper (dust some powdered sugar on the cake if it is sticky.)

    With the filling of your choice (buttercream frosting, pastry cream, or sweetened whip cream), spread an even layer about ¼ inch thick across the cake.

    With the long end of the cake in front of you, begin rolling the cake away from you. Use the parchment paper underneath the cake to help you get a nice, even roll. Make sure your initial roll is tight and even. Continue rolling the cake away from you, using the parchment paper underneath the cake to facilitate rolling the cake and filling into a roulade. Do not worry about any small cracks in the cake surface, you will cover them with frosting.

    Place the rolled cake in the cooler to set up for at least 30 minutes.

    Remove the rolled cake from the cooler, trim the edges and place on your serving tray to decorate. Optional: cut off a third of the rolled cake, and slice this third in two at an angle. Use frosting to attach these pieces to the bûche as to resemble tree branches.

    Spread your preferred chocolate frosting evenly over the cake, creating a rustic texture with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. To achieve the look as shown in the on-air demo, frost the bûche with vanilla frosting and cover with coconut flakes for a snowy look. Place the meringue mushrooms on the cake and platter. If making the bûche ahead of time, store in the refrigerator without the meringue mushrooms (they will soften in the cooler.) Serve at room temperature.