Bay is delighted to welcome chef Ben from The Front Room Café in Mumbles on board this month.
In the coming months, Ben will guide you step by step in creating desserts that will wow your friends and family. This month Ben shows us how to make a show stopping centre piece for your Christmas table. Take a picture of your Bûche de Noël and we’ll share them on social media and print the best*.
- 1 egg white
- 60g caster sugar
- 20g dark chocolate (melted)
Buche de noel base
- 4 eggs separated
- 100g caster sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- 110g sugar
- 70g water
- 50g grand marnier
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 150g dark chocolate
- 150ml double cream
- ginger biscuits (broken into small pieces)
- 75g dried cranberries
- 200g dark chocolate
- 200ml double cream
- 10g cocoa powder
1. Pre-heat your oven to 100c and line a baking tray with silicone or parchment paper.
2. For the meringue mushrooms (bake these a day in advance), using an electric or free-standing mixer beat your egg white with a pinch of salt on a high speed to form stiff peaks. At this stage add the sugar a little at a time while mixing to form a stiff glossy mixture.
3. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe caps for your mushrooms – shallow rounds about 1 inch wide. Next, pipe the stalks by applying less pressure as you lift your nozzle to form upright peaks. Bake the meringues for about 1 hour then turn the oven off and leave them in there over night to dry out.
4. Make a small incision in the middle of the mushroom caps and dip the base in your melted chocolate. Now insert the tip of the stalks into the hole in the caps and leave to dry.
5. Pre-heat your oven to 190c and line a baking tray with silicone or parchment paper.
6. For the bûche de noël base, add the egg yolks, 30g of the sugar and the cocoa powder to a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate clean bowl add the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Using an electric hand whisk or a free-standing mixer if you have one, beat the whites until they form stiff peaks. At this point add the remaining 70g of sugar a little at a time while beating on a medium speed until a glossy meringue has formed.
7. Take a third of the meringue and whisk it into the egg yolk mixture to help loosen it up before gently folding in the remaining meringue. Do this in 2 separate additions to avoid knocking any air out of the mixture. A tip for doing this is to use the actual balloon whisk attachment from your mixer to perform the folding action.
8. Pour the batter on to your lined baking tray and spread the mixture out as evenly as possible using an offset spatula if you have one and bake for about 10 mins. Leave to cool, turn upside down and gently peel the parchment paper away from the cake.
9. For the mousse filling, first add 50g of sugar and 50g of water to a pan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the Grand Marnier. Add the dried cranberries to the warm syrup and let them soak until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Drain the cranberries reserving the syrup.
10. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add to a heat proof or metal bowl. Heat over a bain marie until the chocolate has melted and remove from the heat.
11. Semi whip the double cream in a bowl until it has started to thicken but still very light.
12. Add the eggs and yolks to a clean mixing bowl and beat on a high speed until pale and doubled in size. At the same time add 60g of sugar and about 20g of water to a small saucepan and heat to 120c. Use a thermometer to measure this. In my experience a digital thermometer is far more accurate than a more traditional candy thermometer. When the syrup has reached temperature, slowly pour it on to the egg mixture while still beating on a slow to medium speed. Once combined beat on a high speed until the mixture is cool. This forms a pate bombe.
13. Fold in the melted chocolate to the pate bombe then fold a little of the semi whipped cream into the mixture as well. Finally fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining cream to form your mousse. Fold in the cranberries. Transfer the mousse to a piping bag and leave to set in the fridge for about 3 hours.
14. Place the cake in the middle of a piece of silicone paper slightly bigger than it. Brush the surface of the cake with some of the reserved orange syrup. Evenly pipe then spread the mousse over the cake layer. Now add your bro-ken ginger biscuits to the layer.
15. Fold the nearest edge of the cake over then roll up the rest of the cake using the parchment to help you. Transfer the roll onto a plate or board seam side down and chill until you are ready to ice.
16. For the ganache, chop the choc-olate into small pieces and trans-fer to a bowl. On a medium heat bring the cream and cocoa powder to the boil whisking to combine the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate using a rubber spatula to mix until smooth and glossy.
17. Let the ganache cool to a spread-able consistency and ice your roll using a spatula or pallet knife. You can make your cake look more log-like by dragging a fork against its surface in an artistic way.
18. Give your bûche de noël a good dusting with icing sugar and decorate your plate with your meringue mushrooms and any other festive garnish you fancy and VOILA!