Make a Yule Log

I realize that it’s a bit late for you to make a Buche de Noel this year, but I’m posting this to document my efforts and also to make it easier for me to post it early in December next year. Or, you could throw tradition into the wind and make yourself a New Year’s Log like my friend Julie suggested! Once you taste this cake you will want to make it every chance you get, but it’s quite rich so perhaps it’s best enjoyed once a year.

Buche de Noel
recipe from The New York Times Cookbook, via my aunt Catherine

4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat egg whites, add half of sugar
Beat yolks, add the other half of the sugar, water, and almond extract
Sift dry ingredients together
Fold yolks into whites, fold egg mixture into dry ingredients
Spread in a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper
Bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes, then roll the cake up in a tea towel while still warm (the tea towel keeps the cake from sticking to itself while it’s rolled), cool

1 1/2 cup whipping cream, very cold
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (please don’t make this with milk chocolate, that is lame and it will not taste very good)
2 egg yolks

Whip the cream
Boil the sugar and water for three minutes
Process the chocolate in your food processor (perhaps you could use a blender if you don’t have a food processor, but I don’t know)
While the motor is still running, pour in the sugar water mixture and keep processing

Add two egg yolks and keep processing
Fold chocolate into the whipped cream
Cover and refrigerate

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (again, don’t cheat yourself by using milk chocolate!)
1 cup hot whipping cream

Heat whipping cream in small saucepan until steaming
Process the chocolate in your food processor (again, not sure if you could use a blender here)
While processing, add hot cream to chocolate and keep processing until the chocolate is very melted and smooth

Carefully unroll cake and slather the inside with the mousse, then re-roll it so as to create a swirl of mousse inside the cake. Cut a bit off the end of the cake roll on the diagonal, and place artfully next to the main part of the cake on whatever platter you’re using (note: if you use a silver platter, I suggest using a decorative paper of some sort underneath it so you don’t accidentally slice your silver). When you’re satisfied with the arrangement, ice the whole thing with the ganache in a thick layer. Use a fork to score lines in the ganache to look like tree bark. You can even get fancy and wiggle the lines a little to look more natural. Go crazy. Garnish with bits of holly and meringue mushrooms (recipe and pictures of those tomorrow!). Serve chilled.

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