Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Holidays (and a Bûche de Noël!)

I hope all of my readers are having a wonderful holiday season! I can't believe the New Year is already around the corner. This has been a wonderful year for food, and I've shared tons of really amazing cookbook reviews and lots of delicious recipes throughout the year. I'm really looking forward to what 2015 will bring, both into my kitchen and my life.

Christmas turkey

Today I'm not sharing any recipes, but I just wanted to share some photos from my family's dinner on Christmas Day. I only took a few, but the food was fantastic all around. We enjoyed a wonderful roasted turkey, courtesy of my brother-in-law, the turkey master. We also had buttermilk mashed potatoes and gravy to pair with the turkey, rice pilaf and tas kebab (a Middle Eastern beef stew), Dijon-Panko encrusted salmon, sauteed Swiss chard and mushrooms, black trumpet mushroom pâté (I'll be featuring this on a future post) with crostini, a variety of cheeses, and more.

Buttermilk mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, and tas kebab

The pièce de résistance on the dessert table was my bûche de noël. I used the recipe from the Flour, too cookbook. I made a bûche de noël many years ago from my Tartine cookbook and I must say, although there were definite pluses to both versions, my overall favorite is the one from Flour. The cake itself was a bit more difficult to roll (it actually broke a little at first), but overall I loved all the flavors more.

I prefer the filling from Flour (they use a white chocolate whipped cream as opposed to Tartine's coffee-flavored Swiss meringue buttercream, which I found too buttery and rich). Both use ganache for decorating the log, but Tartine uses sliced almonds mixed in to offer some texture, while Flour uses a comb to create the look of bark. I skipped making meringue mushrooms on both occasions due to time restraints (they bake/dry out for several hours).

Tartine's bûche de noël (Christmas 2007)

Tartine suggests using finely chopped pistachios to look like moss, while Flour's recipe includes instructions for making holly using fresh cranberries and rosemary. Both give the log a really unique and festive look. Dusting with confectioner's sugar adds an element of snow to the Tartine version, and I can see myself perhaps doing that to the Flour version in the future as well.

I can see myself making Flour's bûche de noël for many future Christmases. The recipe is broken down very nicely for creating components/assembling over the span of three days (the cake is actually frozen overnight before final assembly), so you never feel too overwhelmed by it at one time. Even though the cake itself broke when I rolled it, this may have been my own fault perhaps slightly overbaking. Even in the photos of the assembly of the log in the Flour, too cookbook, you can see the cake is broken on the inner most part of the spiral. I'm sure this is a common issue, since no log is perfect. It still tastes utterly fantastic and intensely chocolatey with a really light and creamy filling. Definitely two thumbs up! Happy holidays!


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