Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Chestnut Buche de Noel

Posted by osakaben41 on January 1, 2010

My apologies for going dark there for the last month or so.  The long story made short, a few weeks back I was commissioned to make cakes for a local company for a charity event serving over 300 people.  Awash with pride and excitement I killed myself for a week, staying up late each night, ruining our kitchen, and going through more than 50 eggs to make the deadline.  At the end of it all, the overall sense was that the cake was too dry.  And they were right, I didn’t use enough syrup on my genoise, and knew it at the time but charged ahead anyway.  After having a ball making little tarts and the occasional ice cream I tried to take it to the next level and was rightly smacked down for my hubris.  I’ll probably get back up on that horse sometime soon, if the opportunity presents itself again, but had to retreat temporarily and lick some wounds, if not just catch up on some sleep.

That said, Santa* was kind to me this year, with plenty of molds and baking equipment ending up under the tree.  We’ve got friends coming over with their kids tonight for New Years Eve, and with my mother in law in town helping around the house, I was able to steal some time to whip up something.

The initial inspiration came from Aran’s Buche de Noel, itself a former Daring Bakers challenge.  Now the proud owner of a Buche mold, I just had to take this sucker out for a spin.  Right away it became obvious how surprisingly thin the mold is which is probably a good thing.  I need to tone down the portions I serve people, after nearly killing a group of friends with heaping buckets of Charlie Trotters Quince Crumble (Poached quince with a cornmeal-thyme crumble, served with a frozen Chardonnay-Rosemary sabayon).

In the interest though of trying to be more original, or at least not to just post recreations of other peoples projects, my buche went in a different direction.  It’s primarily Chestnut Mousse (thank you FoodBeam), with a sweet Mascarpone mousse center, and a devils food cake base.  The shiny chocolate glaze I took straight from Cannelle et Vanilla, as she had already scaled it for my mold anyway.  For decoration I slapped on some Coffee flavored macaron shells, and filled some others with an espresso ganache for the kids (decaf of course, I’m not that stupid).

The mold was very easy to work with, though I had to blast it with my kitchen torch to pop it out this morning, and moving it once it was glazed was an engineering feat (it broke in half, but you can hardly tell).  We trimmed the ends for presentation sake this morning, and just had to try the resulting small pieces.  Overall I’m pretty happy with it, though the Chestnut could be stronger next time.  I can see why Aran put a crunchy element in the mix as well, as it comes off as very creamy with a creamy center.  I’ll serve it tonight with some filled macs on the plate just to provide some texture, but otherwise it came out pretty close to what I was shooting for.

Feels good to be back in the game again.

*”Santa” of course being my lovely, paitent, and supportive wife, who I have promised will not have to eat endless cakes and tarts throughout all of 2010

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