Ok, yeah, I should be writing all about new year stuff: fresh beginnings, what I did and didn't do in 2009, hopes for 2010. But I'm not. First, you're probably getting sick of that stuff, second, I've never been able to get too excited about changing numbers, and third: I promised you I'd tell you what a bûche de Noël is, didn't I?
Well, yes, I did. And be prepared, my friends, for there follows a regular Passel of Pictures, a Plethora of Photographs, a Collection of...Colored Images?
And why, you may ask, would I have so many pictures of a single dessert item, specialty though it may be? Because, I answer, not only am I "married" to a chef, but this particular chef just happened to land herself a contract for ten of these cakes, to be delivered this past Tuesday.
So guess where I was this post-Christmas weekend? Right by her side, in the professional kitchen of her third employer, who graciously allowed her to use his facilities for this project. (He was in France anyway, what did he care?)
So, for those of you still interested, hereforth follows a pictorial instructory of How to Make a Bûche de Noël (sort of).
This dessert requires lots of mixing of stuff (especially of eggs...)
And a bit of melted chocolate (with butter and cream...it's French, whaddya expect?)
I think I was supposed to be watching the butter melt over the double boiler (yawn!), but I ended up wandering around trying to take "artsy" shots of the kitchen.
Ok, this isn't artsy...this is the attachment for the floor mixer. See that red lid on the lower right? That's a 2 lb. jar of peanut butter immediately behind it. Just for perspective.
Ladle dee dee...
Stiff peaks, baby!
Ok, well, Miss Chef did put me to work. First, there were eggs to be separated (where do you think those stiff peaks came from?):
...LOTS of eggs (oh, look, how artsy!)
In the meantime, Miss Chef had whipped herself up a little batch of almond cake batter (for the gourmets among you, joconde and genoise are two types of cakes used).
(Oh, and that bowl weighs about 20 lbs, FYI.)
Miss Chef spreads the batter very, very thin.
Those are the building blocks to my next assignment: shrooms!
And then some other, more squat ones that I went behind her and smooshed down the peaks on. These will be the caps; the pointy ones will be stems.
...and voila! Shrooms! (They dry better upside-down.)
She wanted a shroom for every serving. How many was that? Over a hundred!
Ok, well, once the cake was baked off, Miss Chef brushed it with a simple syrup (just lots of sugar melted into hot water), and left it to soak overnight. This whole process took us 3 visits, partly because of a missing recipe on Day 1.
The next day, the cakes were spread with chocolate pastry cream (thus some of the melty chocolate and egg yolks from earlier).
That's not one of my shrooms, but that's where they went...on the log as decoration, dusted with cocoa powder for color.
Yummy snow! Notice Chef Adam uses a thicker cake. Doesn't matter; it's all good! This was the cake he served us at the annual Christmas dinner he hosts to thank all his employees at the end of the year. He's also very generous in inviting family too. We eat well, drink lots of wine, play charades, and go home buzzed, tired, and happy. Restaurant people may be crazy, but they're fun!