In France the most traditional Christmas dessert is la "Bûche de Noël" (Christmas yule log). It's a rolled sponge cake usually filled with chocolate buttercream, covered with frosting and topped with (tacky) plastic Christmassy decorations.
At Christmas time, every single French bakery sells all kinds of "bûches de Noël" and families share them with their loved ones, usually on Christmas Eve during an almost endless meal.
I had never tried to make my own Bûche de Noël until a few years ago when my parents came over to Ireland for Christmas. My mum brought me a tin of Clement Faugier chestnut spread, that I'm very fond of and I adapted this recipe. Since then we made one each time we spent Christmas together, it became our little tradition.
I'm in France right now for the Christmas holidays and I made ma bûche de Noël yesterday with my mum, Mr FFID also helped, so it's made in France and made with love!
Ingredients for the sponge:
Ingredients for cream:
500g of chestnut spread (In Ireland I found some in Fallon and Byrne and Get Fresh Rathfarnham)
150g of unsalted butter
Ingredients for the icing:
50g of dark chocolate
Start by separating the whites and yolks of 5 eggs. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 100g sugar until the mixture becomes paler. Add the flour and mix well .
Next add a pinch of salt to the 5 egg whites and whisk until stiff. Fold the stiff egg whites into the mixture and then add the butter, mix using a spatula.
Place a slightly buttered sheet of parchment paper on a swiss roll tray and evenly pour on the mixture.
Bake for 10 minutes at 180 ° C in a preheated oven until the sponge is cooked. Not too much or it will dry, it should stay quite pale.
Wet a clean tea towel and lay it on a counter top. Quickly turn the sponge on the cloth, then gently peel off the parchment paper.
Using the tea towel roll the sponge nice and tight. Leave wrapped in the tea towel for around half an hour so it takes shape and cools.
While the sponge is cooling, mix the 150g of butter with the chestnut spread.
Unroll the sponge onto a surface covered in cling film. Using a spatula, spread two thirds of the chestnut spread / butter mix over one full side of the sponge.
Gently roll the log again with the filling inside, using the film so that the log is wrapped tightly. Tighten gently as needed to give the log its right shape. Set aside for a moment while you prepare the chocolate.
Now melt 50g of dark chocolate in a bowl above a pot of hot water. Once it is fully melted add the chocolate to the remaining chestnut spread / butter mix.
Remove the cling film and evenly spread the chocolate/chestnut spread mix over the entire surface of the log. Draw the stripes of the log with a fork along the entire length.
Place the log on a Christmassy platter and put in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
Remove the log from the fridge about an hour before eating and decorate.
The log can be kept for 2 days in the refrigerator, although it probably won't last that long.
Indulge yourself, it's Christmas after all.