Buche de Noel
Restaurant, Pastry Chef Jerome Husson
Don't tell us. The last time you attempted at making a buche de noel yule log, it tasted so horrible, you might as well have thrown it in the fire. You're not alone. This holiday season, sweeten the deal and follow Jerome Husson's, head pastry chef to Alain Ducasse’s French bistro, Benoit, step-by-step recipe to create the perfect buche de noel that's so rich and delicious, you'll have a hard time stepping away from that chocolate mousse.
Please note: Start making the cake at least two days in advance. A büche mold is used here, 50cm long or 20” x 3”(6 cups volume).
To make the vanilla mousse:
*1¼ cup heavy cream
*1 tablespoon granulated sugar
*1 vanilla pod
*1 gelatin sheet
*1/4 cups (2oz) white chocolate pistols (or chopped)
1. Soften the gelatin sheet in cold water. Cut the vanilla bean in half. Bring the cream, sugar, and scraped vanilla bean to a boil.
2. Squeeze out the excess water from the softened gelatin and incorporate it into the hot cream. Pour the cream mixture into a fine mesh strainer over the white chocolate. Mix together with a spatula until it becomes homogenous.
3. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and let the mixture set in the fridge for 24 hours before usage.
4. Once set, place the mixture in a stand mixer and whisk until it becomes a firm consistency. Do not over mix.
To make the chocolate mousse:
2 ¾ cups (4 ½ oz) dark chocolate (64%) pistols (or chopped)
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup water
6 fresh egg yolks
1 tablespoon glucose syrup (or light corn syrup)
¾ cup milk powder, fat free
1. Whip the cream into stiff peaks. Melt the chocolate and be sure to keep it warm.
2. Set up a double boiler to a medium boil to prepare the sabayon: put water, yolks, glucose and milk powder in a bowl. Whisk constantly over boiling water until mixture thickens and reaches 180ºF.
3. Pour into a stand mixer and whisk until it has risen and cooled. The mixture must become pale and frothy. Incorporate 1/3 of the whipped cream in the melted chocolate to make a ganache. The ganache must be smooth and homogeneous and reach 100ºF. When the ganache is ready, incorporate the sabayon. Then add the remaining whipped cream.
To make the chocolate glaze:
*1½ cup water
*1¾ cup granulated sugar
*1 cup heavy cream
*1 cup cocoa powder
*16 gelatin sheets
1. Soften the gelatin sheet in cold water.
2. In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Add the cream and continue at a medium boil for 2 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder and continue to boil for 2 minutes.
3. Squeeze out the gelatin sheets, removing excess water. Remove the cream mixture from the flame and add the softened gelatin sheets. Pour through a fine meshed strainer into a bowl. Keep mixture in the fridge until it is ready to be used. Warm to a liquid consistency over a double boiler or briefly in the microwave before glazing the büche.
To make the almond dacquoise
*2 ¼ cup almond flour
*2 ½ cup confectionary sugar
*8 egg whites, fresh
*1 cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF and set rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Whip the egg whites, adding the granulated sugar until it forms medium peaks, creating a meringue. Do not over whip.
3. In a separate bowl, sift confectionary sugar with the almond powder. Delicately incorporate the sifted powders into the meringue.
4. Spray a 24” x 16” sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Evenly spread mixture onto the sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until slightly golden. Invert the almond dacquoise on a cooling rack. Make sure it is cool before assembling the büche.
There will be six layers in the assembly. You will be cutting the dacquoise sheet according to the büche mold dimensions. Chef Jerome Husson uses a 20”x3” mold (6 cups). If you decide to use a slightly smaller one, cut the dacquoise to the smaller dimensions and use less of the chocolate and vanilla mousse.
1. The first layer will be the almond dacquoise, flush against the inside of the büche mold.
2. Create the second layer using a third of the chocolate mousse. Spread the mousse along the bottom of the cake lined mold.
3. On top of the chocolate mousse layer, make the third layer using all the vanilla mousse.
4. For the fourth layer, cut a strip from the remaining almond dacquoise. The width and the length of the strip will be the inside of the current layer. Lay this flat on top of the vanilla mousse layer.
5. For the fifth layer, spread remaining chocolate mousse on top of the dacquoise layer.
6. For the sixth and final layer, cut another strip of the remaining dacquoise to finish the büche. Set aside in a freezer for twenty-four hours.
7. Put the mold under warm water to more easily remove from the mold. Be careful to not wet the büche.
8. Carefully invert on a rack.
9. Pour the warm chocolate glaze over the cake.
10. Decorate as you wish. At Benoit, Chef Jerome Husson uses silver dragée, 24-karat gold leaf, chocolate truffles and chocolate fans.
Photo: Courtesy of Benoit