I'm aware a Buche de Noel is a very Christmassy dessert, but while Winter is still in full force I thought it still deserved a feature! I made this first for my Flat Christmas with the guys, and then again for actual Christmas Day as it really is that good!!
The recipe is from Edd Kimber's Patisserie Made Simple which is SUCH a good book for amazing bakes. I highly recommend it! This recipe in particular is quite lengthy, but the steps are all actually quite simple. Everyone loved this dessert, as although it looks quite decadent it tastes so light! Perfect for Christmas Day when you're already stuffed with food....or any food-filled occasion really!
On with the recipe!
For the chocolate sponge:
butter, for greasing
70g plain flour
4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
For the decoration:
125g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
For the praline buttercream:
50g milk chocolate
125g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature diced
4 tablespoons hazelnut praline paste
For the hazelnut syrup:
40g caster sugar
2 tablespoons Frangelico (I just used Brandy though!)
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan oven/gas 4) and grease a 33x23cm rimmed baking tray and line with a sheet of baking parchment. Grease the parchment and then dust with a little flour, tipping out any excess.
To make the sponge, put the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat until pale and thick, so that when the beaters are lifted from the bowl the batter leaves a trail. Put the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and mix together. In three additions, sift this mixture over the egg mixture, gently folding together with a spatula until fully combined. Pour this batter into the prepared baking tray and gently level out. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cake springs back to the touch.
Meanwhile, put a tea towel on a work surface and cover with a piece of baking parchment. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn it out onto the parchment. Peel off the parchment from the base of the cake, and then carefully roll the cake tightly, with the parchment and tea towel inside. Leave to cool, wrapped inside the tea towel, for 20 minutes. This will help the cake to unroll and re-roll later without cracking.
Put the hazelnuts for decoration on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
To make the buttercream, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Leave to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, put the sugar and 75ml water in a small pan over a medium high heat and bring to the boil. When the sugar has dissolved, cook until the syrup reaches 120C on an instant-read thermometer. When the syrup is around 115C, put the egg and yolks in a bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk until pale and thickened. Once the syrup reaches 120C, and with the whisk still running, carefully pour the syrup into the egg mixture. Continue whisking until the egg mixture has cooled to room temperature.
Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating until you have a silky smooth buttercream. Once all the butter has been added, add the praline paste and the melted milk chocolate, mixing to combine.
To make the syrup, put the sugar and 40ml water in a small pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, then cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the Frangelico...or brandy!
To assemble, unroll the sponge and remove the baking parchment, then brush liberally with the syrup. Spread three-quarters of the buttercream evenly across the sponge, then carefully roll it up tightly. Carefully lift the roll onto a serving plate and spread the remaining buttercream in a thin layer over the outside of the cake. To make the decoration, press the nuts into the buttercream, coating the cake.
Let me know if you give it a try! Whats your favourite Christmassy dessert?
Recipe adapted from Patisserie Made Simple, by Edd Kimber