Bûche de Noël is a classic French Christmas cake whose name translates as “yule log.” These bûchettes, meaning “little logs,” are intended to be mini-versions of this classic made with, instead of cake, the crispest, lightest, cocoa meringue. They are a perfect accompaniment to hot chocolate, coffee, tea, eggnog, Cognac, or even milk.
Notes and Tips:
- Pipe the bûchettes at even intervals on the cookie sheet to avoid creating a large empty area on the sheet.
- To prevent cracking, do not open the oven door during the first three quarters of the cooking time.
- Fold in the powdered sugar and cocoa with a wire whisk for the best incorporation with the least amount of deflation of the beaten whites.
- Store cooked meringue in an airtight container at room temperature at low humidity. Keeps for many months at low humidity.
Makes about 3/4 pound (340 grams) bûchettes
You will need:
- 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment
- pastry bag
- number 6B (1/2-inch diameter) large star pastry tube
- 1 cup (115 grams) powdered sugar, lightly spooned into the cup
- 2 Tbsp. (12 grams) unsweetened cocoa (preferably Dutch-processed)
- 4 large egg whites (120 grams) at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 Tbsp. + 1/2 cup (113grams) superfine sugar
In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar, and beat at medium speed while gradually adding one tablespoon of the superfine sugar. When soft peaks form when the beater is raised, add another tablespoon of superfine sugar and increase the speed to high. When stiff peaks form then, gradually beat in the remaining superfine sugar and beat until very stiff and glossy.
Sift the cocoa mixture over the meringue and fold it in, preferably using a large wire whisk or a large rubber spatula.
Spoon the mixture into the bag fitted with the tube. Starting at the top of the sheet, squeeze the meringue with study pressure. Leave about 1/2 inch between the lines of the meringue. Don’t worry if the lines are nubbly or not straight; it adds to their charm.
Allow the bûchettes to dry for 1 hour or until set ( when your fingertip touches the surface, the meringue stays intact).
Preheat the oven to 200F.
Bake for 1 hour or until completely set. The centers can be slightly sticky as they will harden on cooling. Cool completely before carefully removing the meringue strips from the cookie sheets.