In Palm Beach, our favorite restaurant is Café Boulud – you’ll catch a lot of our events catered by their culinary masters! But in New York City, Daniel, sister restaurant in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, renowned Chef Daniel Boulud has just celebrated his consecutive Michelin three star level for 2012, the highest recognition in the culinary world.
Creating one of Chef Daniel’s dishes is within reach, with the addition of a few luxurious touches, his Chocolate Truffle Bûche de Noël can be served up for the upcoming holidays right in your own kitchen. Serve on a beautiful Michael Aram Black Orchid Cake stand, and show your guests your inner chef!
From Chef Daniel:
“The French celebrate Christmas with bûche de Noël, a classic rolled cake shaped and decorated to look like a log. The dessert was originally inspired by the thick branches that were burned in the hearth on Christmas Eve. I always make bûche de Noël for my restaurant staff to share, and I give slices of it to our guests as a little treat during the holidays.
Bûche de Noël is usually layered with chocolate butter cream, but it can have other sweet fillings, including ice cream. I like it best with chocolate ganache. It’s the same filling you find in chocolate truffles—it’s a little bitter, very creamy, and rich in flavor.
The cake itself is a simple batter made especially light by separately whipping the egg whites. The roll is actually quite thin—my philosophy is that it’s always better to have less cake and more delicious filling. The cake is soaked with a syrup of vanilla and rum, which gives the dessert a very sophisticated flavor. And with a finishing touch of chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, and, if you like, tiny meringue cookies or kisses, you have a dessert that’s elegant, festive, and decadent. Now that’s a happy holiday. Joyeux Noël!”
Chocolate Truffle Bûche de Noël
Makes a 13″ log, about 8 to 10 servings
•Yolks from 6 large eggs
•¾ cup sugar, divided
•Whites from 5 large eggs
•½ cup cocoa powder
•¼ cup water
•1⁄3 cup sugar
•1⁄8 tsp. vanilla extract
•1 T dark rum
•Yolks from 5 large eggs
•½ cup plus 1 T sugar
•½ cup milk
•½ cup plus 2 T heavy cream
•9 oz. dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
•2½ T cocoa powder
•½ cup hot water
Special equipment: 13″ x 18″ rimmed baking pan, instant-read thermometer
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 13″ x 18″ rimmed baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks with 6 T of the sugar at high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 6 T of sugar and continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy. Using a rubber spatula, stir one fourth of the beaten whites into the yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Sift the cocoa over the batter and fold gently until fully incorporated. Spread the batter evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cake feels springy and dry. Transfer cake and parchment paper to a rack and let cool.
For the Rum Syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and vanilla, and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Let cool.
For the Chocolate Ganache:
In a heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until smooth. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. While whisking the eggs constantly, pour in the hot-milk mixture in a slow stream. Transfer back to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, but does not simmer (185°F on the thermometer). Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate in a separate heatproof bowl and stir until chocolate is melted, making a ganache. In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder into the hot water until dissolved and then stir into the ganache. Transfer ganache to the refrigerator to set, about 2 hours.
Transfer the cake (with parchment paper) to a flat surface and brush rum syrup evenly over top, allowing it to absorb. Spread half of the ganache evenly on the cake. Begin rolling cake to form a 13″-long log, pulling away the parchment paper as you roll. When cake is rolled up, place it on top of the paper, seam-side down. Fold the paper over the log with the ends facing you. Place a ruler or rimless baking sheet flush against the parchment and gently push forward against the cake to tighten the roll. Remove parchment and frost cake with the remaining ganache. Refrigerate. If desired, garnish the cake with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, and meringue kisses.