Buche de Noel

  • Preparation Time60 mins
  • Cooking Time23 mins
  • Serves12
  • DifficultyMedium
5 eggs, separated, room temperature
100g caster sugar
25g maple sugar
125g cake flour, sifted
85g toasted walnuts, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
55g cornflour
40g sugar, plus 75g sugar
75g maple syrup
2 Tbsp whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniels)
450ml milk
28g butter
225ml double cream
113g sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 to 2 Tbsp whisky (recommended: Jack Daniels)
340g butter, room temperature
225g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
450g cranberries (cannot have been frozen)
Candied walnuts, store-bought
Candied orange peel, store-bought
225g butter, at room temperature
350g maple syrup
240g egg whites
225g plain flour
Luster dust, optional
For the walnut biscuit:

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4. Butter a half sheet pan, line with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust with flour.

2) Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Beat in both sugars and whip to a stiff, glossy meringue.

3) Alternately fold the cake flour and egg yolks into the meringue in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in the nuts.

4) Spread the batter evenly in the pan, and bake until the cake is pale gold, the centre springs back when you press it lightly with your finger, and the edges start to pull from the sides of the pan, 10 to 12 minutes.

For the pastry cream:

5) Whisk the yolks, cornflour, and the 40g sugar in a medium bowl; the mixture will be very thick, but try to whisk enough to remove most of the lumps.

6) Put the 75g sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until dark brown; don't worry if it crystallises a bit. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the maple syrup, then whisk in the whisky, turn up the heat, and let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to boil off the alcohol.

7) Whisk the milk and vanilla pod scrapings into the caramel mixture and bring to simmer. Slowly whisk about half of the hot mixture into the yolks, then whisk that mixture back into the pot, bring to a boil, whisking, and cook, still whisking, until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, salt and maple extract. Pour into a shallow dish, press plastic wrap onto the surface, and chill until set and very cold, about 4 hours.

8) Beat the cold pastry cream in a standing mixer until smooth. When ready to use, whip the cream until it is very stiff, then beat into the pastry cream. Chill until ready to use.

For the buttercream:

9) Put the sugar in a medium pot and add enough water just to moisten; use your fingers to wet the sugar evenly. Bring to a boil. While the sugar is heating, start beating the yolks and egg in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment.

10) When the syrup reaches about 115 degrees on a candy thermometer (softball stage), pour it into the yolks with the mixer still running, taking care not to pour it onto the whisk. Beat until cooled to room temperature. Beat in the whisky and the maple essence.

11) Cream the butter in another mixing bowl using the paddle attachment. Beat in the cooled egg mixture until smooth. You can use it right away, or chill it overnight; if you chill it, re-beat when you are ready to assemble the cake.

For the sugared cranberries:

12) Have a cookie sheet or shallow dish and a slotted spoon next to the stove. Put the sugar in a medium pot and add enough water just to moisten; use your fingers to wet the sugar evenly. Add the cinnamon stick.

13) Bring to a boil, add the cranberries, and immediately pull from the heat. Transfer the cranberries to the cookie sheet with the slotted spoon. Cool.

For the maple tuiles:

14) Cream the butter, maple syrup, vanilla pod scrapings and salt until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in egg whites until smooth. Beat in the flour. Let the batter rest and hour or so at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking.

15) Preheat the oven to 160 to 170 degrees, gas mark 3. Line a sheet pan with a silpat. Using a stencil, smear the batter thinly on the silpat and bake until dark golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan while still warm. If you want to shape the cookies, put them over a bottle or rolling pin while warm; let cool. If desired, brush lightly with luster dust.


16) Turn the cooled cake onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper with a long side near you. Spread the chilled pastry cream evenly over the surface, leaving a 5cm border across from you. Using the parchment paper to lift, roll the cake as tightly as possible. Set seam side down on a platter or large pan, and chill for an hour or so.

17) Frost the cake with the buttercream, smoothing the surface so it looks like bark. Decorate with candied cranberries, walnuts, orange peel, and tuiles.

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