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BUCHE DE NOEL

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

21 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt
1 1/2 cups creme fraiche or heavy cream, non pasteurized

1/2 cup chestnut puree

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Line a 17 x 11 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Brush
it with melted butter, and dust it with flour.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together onto a sheet of
parchment paper. Beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar with
the whisk attachment in an electric mixer until the mixture is
thick and lemon colored. Add the dry ingredients at low speed,
mixing until just incorporated. Add the vanilla, mix quickly and
thoroughly, and set aside (the batter will be quite thick).

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until
they form soft points. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whisk
until the egg whites are glossy and form points that stand up but
are not too stiff. Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the cake
batter until they are incorporated, then fold in the remaining egg
whites, working quickly. They should be incorporated into the
batter, but do not overmix it.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, and bake until the cake is
golden and your finger makes a slight indentation in the top of
the cake when you press it, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the cake is baking, sift the confectioner's sugar over a
clean kitchen towel. Remove the cake from the oven, and immediately
invert it onto the sugar-dusted towel. Peel the parchment paper
from the cake, and starting from one long side, gently roll the
cake up in the towel. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and the cream together in a medium-sized, heavy
saucepan over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally, and when
the chocolate has completely melted, whisk the mixture so it is
completely combined. Let it cool to room temperature, so it is
thick enough to spread. Transfer 3/4 cup of the chocolate mixture
to a small bowl, and whisk in the chestnut puree. Season with
vanilla if you like.

When the cake has cooled, unroll it and trim off the edges so it
is perfectly even, reserving the trimmings. Spread the filling
evenly over the cake to within about 1/8-inch from the edges, and
roll the cake back up. Roll the trimmings into spirals, and affix
these to the sides of the cake with any leftover filling (usually
two "knots" are sufficient!). Using the frosting, generously frost
the cake, including the knots and the ends. Let the cake rest for
about 15 minutes, then decorate it, first with the tines of a fork,
then with the decorations of your choice. Let sit for at least 8
hours and up to 24 before servings.

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