This contemporary version of Bûche de Noël is the perfect opportunity to make something extra festive for Christmas. Instead of a roulade and buttercream icing in the traditional French yule log, this modern take is composed of a silky mousse layered with crème brûlée and crispy chocolate praline.
I decided to set the entire mousse cake on chocolate biscuit, a thin sponge cake layer, because I thought it resembled terra firma. The chocolate mousse is also complemented with minty elements — the crème brûlée insert is infused with mint and the chocolate biscuit is brushed with a simple mint syrup.
The measurements in the recipe that follows are in metric weights. All of it. I thought of converting everything to volume and imperial measures like I usually do but take a peek at the recipe and I’m sure you’ll understand. If you don’t own one already, may I recommend this fine weighing scale?
All of the Bûche de Noël components are scaled for a 13-inch half pipe mold, which is about the same size as a roll of aluminum foil. It’s difficult to work with such small amounts, but at the very least, the waste is minimal (resulting in less mindless snacking).
Chocolate Mint Mousse Bûche de Noël / French Yule Log
makes one 13-inch cake
Mint Crème Brûlée Insert
Gavottes / Pailleté Feuilletine
Praliné Feuilleté au Chocolat / Crispy Chocolate Praline Layer
- Use 64 to 85 percent for bittersweet chocolate.
For the Mint Crème Brûlée Insert:
Ingredients Grams powdered gelatin 2 cold water 10 whole milk 8 heavy cream 61 fresh mint leaves, chopped 20 granulated sugar 22 egg yolks 16
Mint Crème Brûlée Insert Directions:
- Line the bottom of the Bûche de Noël mold with parchment.
- Bloom the powdered gelatin in the cold water.
- Bring the milk and heavy cream to a boil and remove from the heat, Add the mint, cover, and infuse for 30 minutes.
- Strain into a bowl set on your weighing scale. Add additional heavy cream to rescale the mixture to its original weight (69 grams).
- In a small saucepan, bring the infused cream and half of the sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat.
- Mix the remaining sugar with the egg yolks.
- Temper the egg yolks with about one-third of the infused cream.
- Return the tempered mixture to the saucepan. Heat the liquid to 180ºF / 82ºC.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or chinois.
- Add the bloomed gelatin and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour into the parchment-lined Bûche de Noël mold and freeze. Remove from the mold and store in the freezer.
For the Gavottes / Pailleté Feuilletine:
Ingredients Grams whole milk 40 unsalted butter 4 all-purpose flour 18 egg, beaten 8 granulated sugar 2
Gavottes / Pailleté Feuilletine Directions:
- Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
- Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
- Bake at 430°F / 220°C for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.
For the Praliné Feuilleté au Chocolat / Crispy Chocolate Praline Layer:
Ingredients Grams milk chocolate, chopped 35 unsalted butter, room temp 9 praline 11 gavottes / pailleté feuilletine 21
Praliné Feuilleté au Chocolat / Crispy Chocolate Praline Layer Directions:
- Melt the milk chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
- Add the praline and the coarsely crushed gavottes / pailleté feuilletine. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
- Spread a 1.5- by 13-inch layer between two sheets of wax paper. Refrigerate until hard.
For the Chocolate Mousse:
Ingredients Grams powdered gelatin 3 cold water 15 granulated sugar 27 glucose or light corn syrup 7 water 10 egg yolks 33 heavy cream #1 20 bittersweet chocolate 116 heavy cream #2 212
Chocolate Mousse Directions:
- Bloom the powdered gelatin in cold water.
- Make a pâte à bombe.
Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
Cook the sugar, glucose, and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F / 118°C. If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature).
Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.
Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
- In a double boiler, heat heavy cream #1 (20 grams). Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
- Whip heavy cream #2 (212 grams) until stiff.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in about one-third of the whipped cream to temper. Add the pâte à bombe.
- Add in the rest of the whipped cream and mix gently with a spatula.
For the Mint Syrup:
Ingredients Grams granulated sugar 35 water 49 fresh mint leaves, chopped 7
Mint Syrup Directions:
- In a small saucepan, bring the granulated sugar and water to a boil.
- Add the fresh mint leaves and immediately remove from the heat.
- Let the mint infuse for at least 15 minutes. Strain and discard the mint leaves.
For the Chocolate Biscuit:
Ingredients Grams pastry flour 20 cocoa powder 20 egg yolks 36 eggs 82 sugar #1 65 egg whites 52 sugar #2 26
Chocolate Biscuit Directions:
Preheat Oven 400ºF / 205ºC Prepare a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silicone mat Mix (Separated Egg Sponge Method) Sift together the pastry flour and cocoa powder. Whip the egg yolks, whole eggs, and sugar #1 to the ribbon stage. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and sugar #2 to soft-medium peaks. Add the meringue to the egg yolk foam in 2 to 3 installments. Fold in the sifted pastry flour and cocoa powder only until absorbed. Pan Deposit the batter into the lined sheet pan and spread evenly. Bake 400ºF / 205ºC for about 9 minutes, or until the edges are slightly dark brown. Cool Immediately transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely at room temperature. Finishing Brush with mint syrup (preceding recipe).
For the Chocolate Ganache:
Ingredients Grams heavy cream 50 bittersweet chocolate, chopped 50 unsalted butter, room temp 8
For the Chocolate Glaçage:
Ingredients Grams heavy cream 50 bittersweet chocolate, chopped 50 unsalted butter, room temp 17
Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Glaçage Instructions:
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil and immediately remove from the heat.
- Cool to 190ºF / 88ºC and immediately pour over the chopped chocolate. Let rest for about a minute.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir gently in a circular motion from the center and work your way outwards as an emulsion is formed.
- Once the chocolate cools to 95ºF / 35ºC, add the butter and continue stirring gently just until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. The finished emulsion should be shiny and smooth.
- Use immediately for best results.
Crispy chocolate praline layer and mint crème brûlée insert
Chocolate Mint Bûche de Noël Assembly:
Line the bottom of the Bûche de Noël mold with parchment.
Pipe one third of the mousse component into the mold. Take the mint crème brûlée insert out of the freezer at the last second and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
Pipe second third of the mousse component around and on top of the mint crème brûlée insert. Cut the crispy chocolate praline layer to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
Pipe the last third of the mousse component on top of the crispy chocolate praline layer. Level and freeze for a few hours to set.
Lightly dust the chocolate biscuit with confectioner’s sugar. Apply a strip of chocolate ganache to serve as the base for the Bûche de Noël log.
Unmold the frozen bûche de noël and place on a wire rack. Lightly dust with cocoa powder and apply the chocolate glaçage. Set on top of the chocolate ganache and refrigerate until ready to serve.