Bûche de Noël
Every December, Chef Sidney and Alison host guests for a special cooking vacation all about French holiday traditions. While that Christmas trip is only once a year, get in the holiday spirit now with their Bûche de Noël, or Christmas chocolate log, recipe.
During the Christmas vacation at Le Calabash, you’ll learn how to make a variety of Bûche de Noëls, including a Bûche Bois Blanc (with Grand Marnier, orange mousse, and an Imperial mandarine sauce), Bûche Craquant choco (picture, with chocolate biscuits, chocolate praline and vanilla), and a chocolate and coffee Bûche de Noël, as well as an array of other fabulous French dishes.
300 ml (or 1 1/4 cup) egg whites
125 g (4 1/2 ounces) caster sugar
225 g (1 cup) ground hazelnuts
200 g (7 ounces) icing sugar
60 g (1/4 cup) flour
60 ml (2 ounces) double cream
60 ml (2 ounces) milk
25 g (1 ounce) caster sugar
30 g (1 ounce) yolks
1/2 vanilla bean
3 grams leaf gelatine, soaked to soften
100 g (3 1/2 ounces) double cream
50 ml (2 ounces) coffee essence or strong espresso
White chocolate mousse
270 g (1 1/4 cup) white chocolate
500 ml (2 cups) double cream
2 leaves gelatin
Meringue (to garnish)
500 g (2 1/4 cup) egg whites
850 g (3 3/4 cup) caster sugar
You will also need two molds. At Le Calabash, they use one long big mold (48 cm by 8 cm) and smaller molds (5 cm by 5 cm) for the inner layer of the bavarois. They make a number of bavarois to sit inside the main bûche of the white chocolate mousse.
To make the dacquoise
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
Whisk the egg white and when it starts to froth, add the sugar in spoonfuls until it is all used up and you have a smooth, stiff mixture.
Next, sift in the dry ingredients, and then carefully fold them in with a spoon, so as not to lose the air bubbles.
Spread onto a flat non-stick baking tray, or a normal baking tray lined with baking paper.
Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
To make the bavarois
Put the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla into a pan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly before pouring into the yolks, whisking all the time.
Next, add the soaked gelatine and stir in.
Once the mixture has cooled and started to thicken, whip the cream to the soft peak stage and fold into the mix. Then add the coffee.
Set the bavarois in your smallest molds.
To make the white chocolate mousse
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Take off the heat and add 100ml of the double cream.
Add the soaked and drained gelatine.
Semi-whip the cream and fold into the chocolate mix.
Pour into your terrine mould and push in the set bavarois so it is level with the top of the mold.
Cut the dacquoise so it fits on top, and push it so that it will stick to the mousse.
Place in the fridge to set overnight.
To make the merinque
Whip the egg whites and when they start to froth, slowly start adding the sugar until you have a smooth mixture. You can also add a shot of espresso to this too, if you like coffee flavor.
Turn your set bûche from the mold and cover with the meringue, before carefully browning with a blowtorch.