Saturday, January 2, 2010

When is a Birch Tree Not a Tree? - When it's a Bûche... de Noël that is.

OK, we are finally at the finish... 5 previous posts and 98 pictures later.... Whew!!!!!

Normally I make this for Christmas Dinner, but things have been so crazy this year that it was delayed. Not to mention there were PLENTY of treats and sweets floating around at Christmas time. So this was moved to the celebration of the New Calendar Year. And why not, it has been snowing outside off and on since the 29th so it's quite fitting in it's frosty appeal.

Granted, there are no mushrooms "blooming" right now and Birch trees are very seldom, if ever, found in Fir forests.... at least not here in the Pacific Northwest. But hey, it's a cake and its delectable and festive. I don't think anyone is gonna bother calling me on it, cause their mouths are either full of meringue mushrooms, or big bites of rum laced chocolate genoise-esque cake filled with white chocolate mousse... ;) Yeah, it does sound good doesn't it?

I cannot take all the credit for this Bûche de Noël. I had originally seen this in a Martha Stewart magazine back in 2001... Normally I resist being a Martha zombie, (Cause I REALLY don't know where the heck she finds the time for all these projects she does) but I did purchase the magazine, because I had always wanted to make a Bûche for Yule. There are a lot of steps and it takes a little planning, but it was such a success that it has become a traditional Christmas favorite. I have made one every year since then. Well, except for last year (Christmas '08) due to my traveling fiasco and lack of time. I leave out the accompanying Almond truffles that the recipe originally called for though... I think it's a little too much... ;) HA HA

So let's get the ball, or rather, log rollin by revisiting a recipe from the past.... 7 Minute Frosting... Cause in all honesty, what could POSSIBLY be better than a White Chocolate Mouse filled Rum soaked Chocolate Log covered in 7 Minute Marshmallow-y goodness? Yeah, I got nothin.

7 Minute Frosting

1/2 Cup plus 4 tsp Granulated Sugar; Divided
2 tsp light corn syrup
4 tsp TB water
2 Large Egg Whites
1/8 tsp Cream of Tarter
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup Sugar, Corn Syrup and Water and boil over low heat and cook until they syrup reaches 232 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a grease free bowl, begin whisking or beating the Egg Whites with the Cream of Tartar until soft peaks form; then sprinkle in the remaining 4 tsp Sugar while continuing to beat until firm peaks form (this take about 3 minutes) then mix or fold in the vanilla.

Remove the syrup from the flame

and slowly pour it into the meringue, in a steady stream while continuing to beat the meringue on medium speed; being careful not to hit the whisk or beater with the syrup cause it will fling little shards of sugar into your frosting.

Once the syrup is completely added (do not scrape the pan) continue beating until the meringue (frosting) cools down; somewhere between 5 - 10 minutes (7 Minutes on average).

The frosting should be thick and shiny, very Marshmallow-y.

Bûche de Noël Assembly

Remove the Bûche from refrigerator, unwrap it and trim the ends of the roll, with a serrated knife, cutting on the bias. (I cut one side smaller than the other)

Place the larger cut piece, cut-side up, on the log, to form a branch.

If desired, use the other cut end for a second branch. (personally, I look at it as a treat for the chef... So I eat it while I am decorating.... One delicious bite after another)

Transfer the log to a serving platter and slide strips of folded waxed paper under the log to protect the cake plate from the 7 minute frosting, cause it's REALLY gooey and will make a big mess.

Coat with Seven Minute Frosting using an offset spatula, working back and forth to create more of a Birch bark texture.

(After this the cake can no longer be refrigerated due to the high humidity)

Carefully remove the waxed paper.

Decorate with the Coconut Shavings to simulate birch bark.

Add Sugared Rosemary Sprigs to represent fallen fir boughs.

Place Meringue Mushrooms here and there for that forest floor look.

If you like, dust the whole ensemble lightly with confectioners' sugar for freshly fallen snow.

Pretty darned cool lookin, huh? :)



Danielle said...

this is absolutely beautiful! i wanna make one now.

Bob said...

Wow dude. That is seriously good.

Patti T. said...

Bravo, bravo. That is the best looking buche de noel I have ever seen. At first glance I thought you had painted the dark brown lines on. It is beautiful and sounds like it would be heavenly to eat,mmmmmmm!

Alaskan Dermish in the Kitch said...

Wow Shane! That is cool. The coconut shavings really set it off.

Katy ~ said...

Food as art. Well done!

girlichef said...

VERY cool lookin'! Honestly, one of the prettiest I've seen. I love the sugared rosemary and the coconut to simulate birch bark. Seriously beautiful work :)