I’m late. Time does get away from you during this Holiday season rush. I can’t believe its Christmas Eve already. Was it not too long ago that it was the first of December? I’ve lost my perception of time and mailed the last Christmas packages this Saturday. There were still some long lines at the post office so I was glad I was not alone in my tardiness.
This month’s challenge was one I have wanted to try for the longest time: Buche de Noel. First time I have seen this made was in one of Julia Child’s French Chef DVDs.
Part of the recipe we used was from Nick Malgieri who I had the opportunity to watch in action 2 years ago at a Sur la Table Chocolate class. He was the consummate teacher and was a hoot to watch. In fact he demoed a Praline roll and taught us how to handle and roll it. Wish I took notes…that time he made it look so easy which was not the case when I made mine.
First, I was not sure what side I was supposed to put my pastry cream filling on – and the printout of the instructions mysteriously disappeared. So I picked one side, rolled it using parchment paper and was horrified to see my log crack on both sides. Okaay! Guess I need that buttercream to cover this snafu.
I finally found my instructions and it said to refrigerate the cake for several hours. I already made my coffee buttercream which was so damn tasty – even the hubby who never liked this type of icing thought it was delicious. I had him brew me a concentrated espresso which I mixed with Jamaican rum and that combination gave the buttercream a true coffee taste – almost like espresso ice cream. Since I was afraid that the buttercream was going to melt while I waited for the roll to be ready, I refrigerated it and figured I would just beat it up if it gets too hard.
Well time came to use it. I let it warm up a little and beat it with the Kitchen Aid. I couldn’t believe my eyes as the buttercream curdled and the espresso-rum puddled in the bottom of the bowl.
Frustration was etched on my face as I stomped off to the refrigerator to check if I had any butter left to make the buttercream again. The “Hungry” Hubby said maybe it was too cold and needed to warm up as he surveyed the ugly mess in the mixer bowl. Hmm… he might be on to something. As hopeless as my mixture looked I do recall that when I made Sherry Yard’s Swiss buttercream sometime ago she mentioned that if it curdled to just continue whisking it and it would eventually smoothen out. She used the whisk attachment of the KA in her recipe though, so I decided to use that to see if I could rescue my frosting.
With nothing to lose, I gave it a try. At first it looked like the buttercream was a lost cause spinning around with the puddle of espresso-rum slapping against the bowl. After about 10 minutes, I saw the buttercream begin to come together and in like 15 minutes it was back to form although a bit greasier than its original incarnation. Yipee! We were back in business! What would I do without the HH in his infinite wisdom?
I had the most fun making the meringue mushrooms. It definitely is better to attach the caps to the stems as soon as possible. I left some of them to attach after dinner and the caps cracked too easily – I lost a lot of those sugar fungi.
And of course I had to decorate my Yule log with some Christmas macarons – it would never be complete without my new found obsession!
Thank you Lis and Ivonne for choosing this wonderful challenge! And to Helen who is the pastry guru of the group, you did an amazing job keeping everyone sane by providing such timely answers to our baking questions.
And most of all have a Merry Christmas everyone and feast your eyes on more Yule Logs here.