BÛCHE DE NOEL (Christmas Log)
For the Cake layer:
• 6 eggs, separated
• ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
o Butter a jelly roll pan, line with parchment paper, butter the paper and sprinkle with flour, tapping to remove excess flour.
o Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
o In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form.
o Turn the machine up to high, and beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar; continue to beat until shiny but not stiff.
o Add the flour to the yolk/sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Add ¼ of the egg whites to the yolk mixture, whisking to lighten the mixture.
o Then return the yolk mixture to the egg whites, and fold gently.
o Scrape into the prepared pan and even the top by running a long offset spatula across the surface.
o Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack. Set aside.
For the Chocolate Almond Custard:
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 egg yolks
• ½ cup almond paste
• ¼ cup or 2 oz. high quality chocolate
• ¼ cup corn starch
• 2 tsp. cocoa powder
o Mix ½ cup of milk with corn starch, cocoa powder and yolks.
o Heat 1 cup of heavy cream and ½ cup of milk with sugar and almond past to a boil.
o Remove immediately and pour over yolk and corn starch mixture.
o Return to pot and heat until cream thickens.
o Add chocolate and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
To assemble the cake roll:
o Trim the edges of the sponge cake.
o Place the chocolate almond mousse on the cake layer. Spread the mixture evenly over the cake.
o Carefully roll up the cake into a thick log, enclosing the mousse.
o Leave the wrapped, rolled-up cake on the sheet pan and refrigerate until filling is firm, at least 2 hours.
For the Chocolate Frosting:
• 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
• 8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• ½ cup powdered sugar
• ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
• ½ cup water or strong coffee
• ¼ cup sour cream
o Melt the chocolate.
o In a small pot, heat the coffee and cocoa.
o Add the sour cream.
o In a bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and combine completely.
o Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside until of spreading consistency.
For the Meringue Mushrooms:
• 4 large egg whites
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• About 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
• Sifted unsweetened cocoa
o Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with parchment paper and set aside. Fit a large pastry bag with a plain tip and set aside.
o Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy.
o Turn speed to high, slowly pour in half the sugar, add vanilla and continue to beat for 1 minute.
o Slowly pour in the remaining sugar and beat until the whites are very thick and shiny, about 3 to 4 minutes longer.
o Immediately spoon half the mixture into the prepared pastry bag. Squeeze out 30 mushroom caps.
o Holding the bag upright, lift the bag as you squeeze out meringue, forming 30 stems, each 1 inch high.
o Bake until meringue is firm to touch and lifts easily (about 1 ½ hours). The meringue should be dry but should not have any color. Allow to dry in a cool, dry spot.
o Melt the chocolate in a small bowl and, holding caps upside down, spread a little chocolate on each one.
o Attach a stem and leave them upside down until the chocolate hardens. Set aside until ready to use.
o Remove cake and place on a foil wrapped cardboard the length of the cake.
o Using a serrated knife, from one end cut a 2-inch piece of cake on an angle.
o Spread a little frosting on the bottom of this piece and place it on top of the cake roll.
o Using a small spatula, spread the rest of the frosting over the entire cake as well as the small piece.
o Arrange Christmas greens, holly, and meringues around the Christmas Log.