YULE LOG – BUCHE DE NOEL

MERINGUE MUSHROOMS

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Fill a pot halfway with water and bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.

Put egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl, place over simmering water, and continuously whisk until all the sugar melts. This should take 4 to 6 minutes. The egg whites will feel warm to the touch.

Beat on high speed with a whisk for 5 minutes, until they are shiny, tripled in size, and fluffy and white.

Place meringue in a piping bag with a wide-mouth round tip. Line parchment paper on a sheet tray.

Pipe circles in varying sizes; these will be the tops. Pipe out “Hershey Kiss” forms by pulling up when piping circles; these will be the stems.

Let mushrooms dry on a sheet tray for 1 to 2 weeks, or until firm and crispy.

Make a glace royale glue (1 egg white, ¼ cup powdered sugar and a dash of lemon juice).

Make a hole in the bottom of the mushroom top with a toothpick, attach bottom, and top with glace royale glue. Let set. Some mushrooms can be dusted with cocoa powder to give a dirt-like effect.

CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 1/2 cups sugar

10  egg yolks

10 egg whites

6 1/2 ounces chocolate, melted

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

1 1/4 cups flour, sifted

Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe dish with 50-percent power.

Place egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate yolks with sugar, adding a little at a time so as not to burn the yolks. Mix on high with a whisk for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.

In a clean mixing bowl, mix egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Alternate folding in flour and egg whites into chocolate and sugar mixture, until just combined.

Bake in a 350-degree convection oven (or 375 degrees in a regular oven) in a buttered, parchment and floured pan, until toothpick inserted comes out clean, between 10 to 14 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through the baking process to ensure even baking.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

14 ounces chocolate (good quality), melted

2 cups heavy cream

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) butter, soft

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe-bowl at 50-percent power and set aside.

Alternate adding butter and heavy cream and whisking constantly; the end result should be thick, creamy frosting.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

8 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

28 tablespoons (3 1/2 sticks) butter, soft

1 teaspoon vanilla

Fill a pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer.

Put egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl, place over simmering water, and continuously whisk until all the sugar melts. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. The egg whites will feel warm to touch.

Beat on high speed with a whisk attachment for 5 minutes, until they are shiny, tripled in size, and fluffy and white.

Add butter by the tablespoon on low speed, until all butter is incorporated.

Wipe down sides of the bowl and turn speed to high on mixer. Mix until combined and buttercream is produced.

If buttercream breaks, place in a hot oven for 1 minute so frosting begins to melt, place back in the mixing bowl on high speed with a whisk, and whip on high until incorporated.

Add vanilla, and reserve three quarters. Divide the remainder, and make one green (for vines and leaves) and one pink (for flowers).

MARZIPAN MOSS

1 marzipan, 4-ounce tube

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 drops green food coloring

Mix marzipan with green food coloring and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until incorporated.

Marzipan should feel less sticky. Dust spider with powdered sugar.

Push marzipan through a mesh strainer to form moss. Cut off with a knife and reserve.

GLACE ROYAL BIRDS

Know a fabulous chef who will send these to you and paint a face on with red food coloring eyes and brown food coloring beaks.

YULE LOG ASSEMBLY

Unmold cake on parchment paper; this will aide in rolling the cake.

Cut 1-inch strip off of cake, reserve, and frost with chocolate frosting 1/8-inch thick.

Place strip on bottom of cake and, using parchment paper, roll cake.

If any buttercream comes out, use a spatula to frost the cake.

Pipe vanilla buttercream on the ends of the log and two knots on top.

Fill piping bag with a flat/fluted tip with chocolate buttercream. Pipe lines all over log, and seal each end.

Place in refrigerator. Once set, slice each end with a hot knife and each knot on top.

Decorate log with green vines, leaves and, with a small round tip, pink blossoms created with a three-dot combination. Refrigerate and let set.

Scatter marzipan moss, mushrooms and birds all over log and serve.