Hello there, today I have a yummy guest post coming at you from longtime Oui In France reader Molly Wilkinson of Toffee Bits & Chocolate Chips. She’s sharing her Christmas bûche tips along with her go-to recipe and telling us all about this must-have holiday dessert. I’ve never made one before but this might be the year!
French up your Christmas with a buche recipe
Hello! My name is Molly and I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on Oui in France! I’ve been following along ever since I became an expat in France myself 3 years ago when I followed my passion for baking and pastry by attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. Currently I’m working and living in Paris (oh and eating lots of pastries).
The Bûche de Nöel was a dessert I had learned about years ago mostly as a rolled cake with lots of fun meringue mushrooms on top. It is a European tradition that has become truly French thanks to the epic Bûche de Noels the Parisian patisseries come up with each year.
The log shape dates back to Europe’s Iron age (even before Medieval Times) where a log that was decorated with holly, pinecones, or ivy and anointed with wine and salt was burned to signal the end of winter and usher in spring. The tradition continued with the advent of Christianity when small logs were burned on Christmas Eve. The first Bûche de Nöel recipe dates back to 1615 where Marzipan and meringue decorations were popular.
In Paris, you will see extravagant Bûche de Nöel designs that chefs have been crafting for months. Lots of chefs take a creative freedom and branch out (hehe) from the typical yule log shape. My favorite design this year is actually in the form of a Santa Claus hat BUT I wouldn’t mind digging into an epic chocolate upon chocolate rectangular gold shaped monument of a piece either!
If you’re not willing to pay 95 euros for a bûche (me neither!) or excited to take on the project of making your own (me me me!), here’s a fabulous recipe for one that I laid out step by step a couple of years ago on my blog linked here.
A Bûche de Nöel is traditionally made with a sponge cake called a Genoise that is baked in a sheet and then rolled with a delicious cream filling. Once rolled, a piece is cut off at an angle and positioned on top with more cream to complete the log shape. Chocolate ganache is slathered on top and the scored to look like tree bark.
Additional tips for your Buche de Noel:
- There are lots of fun parts to a traditional Bûche de Nöel so it’s best to set aside a day or even better have a Bûche Party with hot chocolate and mulled wine.
- Don’t worry if the cake breaks a bit. It’s normal to have a couple of cracks and plus they’ll be covered with chocolate anyways.
- The chocolate ganache has to be at the right temperature before you spread it on top. Let it sit out on the countertop at room temperature and keep an eye on it. When you can run a hard spatula through it and the indentation stays, it’s ready to go! Just don’t wait too long or it will solidify.
- Play around with the flavors. A great idea is to add crushed peppermint to the espresso filling. Oh yummmm! And of course a sprinkle on top. Coconut flakes would be fun too. Take the espresso completely out of the filling and add a dash of coconut extract.
- The more meringue mushrooms the better. Oops maybe that’s just because I love them so much. Or tint some of your meringue green and use a star tip to pipe Christmas tree shapes.
Happy Baking and Happy Holidays! Grab Molly’s bûche recipe here!
Have you ever made a bûche?
Thanks so much for your delicious guest post, Molly! You can follow her over on her blog Toffee Bits & Chocolate Chips.