Christmas on the continent is synonymous with a rich, chocolatey Bûche de Noël. It’s the traditional grand finale to a piled-high platter of festive treats, and it’s equally delicious served on Boxing Day with tea. Our decadent Bûche de Noël recipe comes exclusively from Michael Coquelle, the talented head chef at Hotel d’Angleterre in Geneva. Filled with a glossy orange confit and a creamy white chocolate and coffee mousse, it has all the winning ingredients for an elegant Christmas crowd-pleaser.
84g brown sugar
70g ground hazelnuts
35g white sesame seeds
25g glucose syrup
250g of orange juice
1g vanilla pod
10g yellow pectin
15g white sugar
2 gelatines leaves
White chocolate and coffee mousse
75g coffee beans
7g gelatine powder
300g white chocolate
660ml whipped cream
1 regular Bûche de Noël mould, plus a smaller rectangular mould to set the confit.
Preheat the oven to 160°C and prepare a rectangular cake tin with a spritz of oil spray.
Place all the ingredients required for the base in a large mixing bowl and combine until a smooth paste is formed.
Pour the paste into the cake tin and bake for 20 minutes.
Allow the base to cool before trimming it to fit into the Bûche de Noël mould.
Bring the orange juice to boil with the glucose syrup and the vanilla.
Add in the sugar and the pectin slowly, while stirring with a whisk.
Allow the mixture to boil for two minutes, before adding the gelatine.
Line the smaller mould with cling film and pour the confit into this.
Refrigerate overnight (it will later be placed at the centre of the log).
White chocolate and coffee mousse
Brew the coffee for 20 minutes and heat the cream in a pan, until it reaches 60°C.
Add the coffee to the hot cream first, then pour the mix over the white chocolate and gelatine powder, stirring gently.
Leave to cool completely before folding in the whipped cream.
Half fill the Bûche de Noël mould with the mousse.
Remove the orange confit from the smaller mould, using clingfilm to bring it out in one piece. Place it into the mousse, and cover with the remaining mousse.
Seal the mould by placing the base in last. Then put the cake in the freezer overnight.
Remove the mould once the cake has had time to set and decorate with dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans.
In Medieval Europe, pagans would ceremoniously burn an entire tree trunk – or ‘Yule log’ – in their homes. The wood was usually from a fruit tree (believed to evoke a plentiful harvest in the coming year) and, depending on the region, doused in sacred substances such as holy water, salt or wine. Once lit on Christmas Eve, the log needed to burn for at least three days to bring good luck.
Centuries passed, and festive traditions moved on from gathering around the hearth. Smaller Yule logs were placed on sideboards and tables as symbolic reminders – before it was decided that eating them would be far more rewarding. A French pastry chef developed a deliciously light roulade in the 1800s and – voilà! – the recipe for Bûche de Noël was born. Visit Geneva at Christmas to discover opulently decorated chocolate logs beautifully displayed in the windows of patisseries and dessert parlours.
Create a festive dessert at home with our indulgent Bûche de Noël recipe from Red Carnation Hotels’ Hotel d’Angleterre this Christmas.
Image credits: baking a chocolate sponge © iStock/repinanatoly. All other images courtesy of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.