Saturday, December 21, 2013

Le Bûche de Noël

The Bûche de Noël is a delightful, traditional French holiday dessert.

The name of this dessert means "Yule Log" and refers to the ancient tradition of burning a log decorated with holly, ivy, and pine cones at or around the Solstice, to mark the end of the winter season and the days getting longer. The fire to burn the log was always started with a remnant of the previous years' log, the keeping of which insured good luck throughout the year. When fireplaces became an increasing rarity in homes after 1900, the Bûche de Noël was born. Basically a sweet roulade, this holiday treat is made from genoise or sponge cake rolled with buttercream filling, and frosted/textured on the outside to resemble the bark of a tree branch. When cut, the spiral rolls of alternating cake and filling look cleverly like tree rings. The cake is then decorated with realistic-looking marzipan berries, mushrooms, pine cones, and holly leaves, and the entire dessert often receives a final dusting of powdered sugar to simulate a light snow fall. There are many on-line recipes to make your own Bûche de Noël at home, or check local bakeries for this seasonal treat. Joyeux Noël!

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