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Buche De Noel (French Yule Log Cake)

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 orange, grated rind and juice
3/4 cup almonds, blanched and ground with 3 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour
3 egg whites
3 Tb sugar
confectioner's sugar

3 egg whites
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups sugar

12 oz Semisweet baker's chocolate melted with 1/3 cup strong coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark rum
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Confectioner's sugar

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the jelly-roll pan with
buttered wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at each end. Roll
flour in the pan and shake out excess.

Using a wire whisk or hand-held electric mixer, beat the 3 egg
yolks in a 3-quart bowl, gradually sprinkling in the cup of sugar.
When the mixture is thick and pale yellow, beat in the grated orange
rind and juice, the almonds, and the almond extract. Slowly sift
in the flour, while blending with the whisk. In a very clean separate
bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, sprinkle
in the 3 tbsp of sugar and continue beating to form stiff, shining
peaks. Stir a quarter of the egg whites into the batter, delicately
fold in the rest. Baking the jelly roll. Immediately turn the batter
into the prepared pan, bang it lightly but firmly on your work
surface to settle it, and place it at once in the middle level of
the preheated 375 degree oven. Bake about 10 minutes, until it has
very lightly colored and the top is springy-do not over bake or
the cake will crack when you roll it up.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with a 1/16 inch layer of confectioner's
sugar, cover with a sheet of wax paper and a lightly dampened towel.
Reverse onto a tray or baking sheet. Then while the cake is still
warm, holding an end of the wax paper, lift off the jelly-roll pan.
Carefully peel the wax paper off the cake. Sift another 1/16-inch
layer of sugar over the cake and roll it up in the damp towel,
place in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out, and refrigerate.

Beat the egg whites in the electric mixer until foaming through
out, add the salt and cream of tartar and continue beating until
soft peaks are formed. Turn mixer speed to slow. In a small saucepan
bring the sugar and cup water to the simmer, remove from heat,
and swirl the pan until the sugar has dissolved completely and the
liquid is perfectly clear. Cover the pan tightly and boil to the
soft-ball stage (238 degrees). Using moderately slow speed, gradually
whip the hot syrup into the egg whites, increase speed to fast.

Beat the smoothly melted chocolate into the meringue,along with
the vanilla, rum, and soft butter. Remove two-thirds of the mixture
to a bowl and refrigerate, this is the frosting. Beat the additional
half stick of soft butter into the remaining meringue this is the

Unroll the sponge sheet and slice a quarter inch off the long sides
so that the cake will roll easily. Spread the filling over the top
of the sheet. Roll it up from one of the small ends and you have
made the log shape. Neatly slice a narrow slanting piece from each
end of the log. With a small knife dig a hole in an upper side of
the log and insert a piece of the scrap to simulate a bump or a
branch. Place the log seam-side down on the serving board and slip
double sheets of wax paper under the edge of each side and the two
ends-to catch frosting spills.

Beat 2 or more spoonfuls of sifted cocoa into the frosting mixture
to make it a spreadable consistency. (Reserve 2 spoonfuls of frosting
for the mushrooms.) Leaving the two ends free,frost the cake using
a flexible metal spatula, then scrumble it with the spatula and a
fork to give it a rough bark-like look.

With a small knife, pierce a hole in the bottom of each meringue
mushroom cap,insert a bit of the frosting (or softened butter) into
the hole and then the pointed end of a meringue stem. Arrange the
mushrooms in tasteful clusters upon the log and sprinkle the log
with a dusting of confectioner's sugar to give a snowy effect. Dust
the tops of the mushrooms with cocoa powder tapped from the sieve.
The caramel veil. Bring the sugar to the simmer with the corn syrup
and one-third cup water in a small saucepan, when the mixture is
completely dissolved and clear, cover tightly and boil to the
caramel stage. Let it cool two to three minutes, until it forms
thick strands when lifted with a fork. Then dip the fork into the
syrup and wave it over the broomstick, to form long hanging threads
of caramel. The finale. Lift the caramel strands off the broomstick,
drape them over the yule log. Decorate the serving board with sprigs
of holly if you wish, and the buche de Noel is ready to serve.


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