Buche de Noël is the French name for a Yule Log. Here’s a labour-intensive recipe that might lift your next Swiss Roll baking session onto a different plane. Serves 6, unless they’re teenagers. In that case, it will never reach the cooking stage. I’ve given approximate US measures in brackets at the end of each line. I’m sure you’ll adjust quantities to suit yourself, anyway.
If you haven’t got Grand Marnier, any liqueur with an orange zest flavour will do – even Southern Comfort. Try adding a bit of fresh zest of orange or lemon, too.
- 5 fresh eggs (make it 6 or 7 of the little US ones)
- 150g caster sugar (5 oz)
- 60g sifted flour (2 oz)
- 60g powdered potato (2 oz)
- 15g clarified butter (5 oz)
- 50g mixed candied peel (1-3/4 oz)
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
…and for the glaze
- 150g pain d’épice (gingerbread cake) (5 oz)
- 1/4 litre full cream milk (about 1/2 pint)
- 75g caster sugar (2-3/4 oz)
- 3 egg yolks (maybe 4 of those little US ones)
- 200g butter (7 oz)
- 30g corn oil (1 oz)
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey
- 100ml cane syrup (1/4 pint)
- 2 candied mandarins
- 2 tbsp grated dark chocolate
- 1 stick cinnamon
Cut the candied peel into small pieces and cover with 2tsp Grand Marnier.
Preheat the oven to 210 deg C (410 deg F). Cover a rectangular baking tray with buttered greaseproof paper.
Whip 1 whole egg, 4 yolks and the sugar until white. Keep the remaining whites. Add a pinch of salt to the remaining egg whites, and whip them until firm. Mix the sieved flour, potato powder and candied peel, then fold them into the egg whites. Spread the mix evenly over the baking tray and bake for 8-10minutes. Tip it out over a damp cloth, remove the greaseproof paper, and roll the cake and cloth up along its length. Leave it to cool.
Shred 50g (1-3/4 oz) gingerbread cake in a food mixer, and tip it into the milk, adding 2 tbsp sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Strain off the milk, squeezing the ginger cake with the back of a spoon.
Reheat the milk and reduce it to 1/4 litre. (1/2 pint)
Whip the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar. Mix in the corn oil and then the hot milk. Tip into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and mix in 50g (1-3/4 oz) butter. Leave to cool.
Whip 100g (3-1/2 oz) butter until creamy, slowly adding the cooled crème patissière.
Putting it together
Unroll the cake and moisten it with the mix of cane syrup and Grand Marnier. Spread it with crème patissière to within 2cm (3/4 inch) of the edges, roll up again, and trim the ends of the log at a slight angle. Place it on a plate and put it in a cool place for 3 hours.
Heat the oven to 240 deg C (465 deg F) and melt the honey with 50g (1- 3/4 oz) butter in a pan. Add the remains of the ginger cake, coarsely crumbed. Cover a work surface with greaseproof paper, tip the mix on to it and stir it around to break it up. Return it to the oven and repeat the process until all crumbs are caramelised and crunchy. Leave them to cool.
Before serving, cover the log with caramelised crumbs and chocolate flakes, and decorated with candied mandarin oranges cut into quarters.
Have fun. And if Google is running ads on this page about flat stomachs and such things, ignore them. This is not the time and place for worrying about your figure…