Friday, February 4, 2011
Chef's Bûches de Noël
With the baking and assembly done and dusted, today's was a simply task of finishing up and garnishing the log with all things festive. I gotta say, feeling festive and Christmassy on a hot February morning was just beyond me. In fact, this being Chinese New Year, as my dear San Fran pal Miss Lisa pointed out, surely pineapple tarts would have been a more suitable topic for today's lesson?
(I had to fly back on New Year's Eve to start class on the 1st day of the New Year, collecting no Ang Baos as a result. Loved ones and darling relatives...are you reading this?)
Warm Cream + Glucose (For Shine) + Dark Chocolate = Decadent Chocolate Glaze
Blanket Of Oozy Goodness
You'll notice the jaconde has been lined with the almond flakes facing out, to provide the log with the characteristically rugged look of well, a log. Pouring on the still warm and viscous glaze will thinly coat the log, while still allowing the almonds to show through.
Chef's Marzipan Plaques
Blowtorch-ed For A Touch Of Rustic
Preserved Orange Peel In The Making
Pirate Gert Checking The Brix
At this stage of the preservation process, the peels have been drained and added to a pot of sugar solution brought to a boil. The sugar concentration of the solution has to be carefully monitored to achieve a Brix of 33.
Layers Of Amazing Textures & Flavors
As usual we tasted the cake after demo, though having cake at 10 in the morning isn't my usual feeding routine. I honestly cannot say if it tasted good, I'm sure it did, but I've been down with a serious case of the flu and have not been able to taste anything for the past week! I can say though, the texture of the jaconde was a pleasant surprise, providing the perfect crunch against the creamy mousse and soft, juicy berries.
I miss my taste buds, but things lost and found again are twice as precious, quips Simon. In that case, I can't wait to better appreciate clear breathing and a good night's sleep not interrupted by treacherous coughing fits: I've hardly slept in 3 days, and was still feeling miserable yesterday, but once I stepped into the kitchen and started working on my cake, I was instantly calmer, my nerves soothed, and I was in my happy place once again.
My Bûche de Noël ... & A Timeless Take
You cannot really see it, but my log was actually kinda cute. Chef Andre liked the height of the plaque and the white chocolate stars. I also added some golden dragées (decorative confectionery commonly made with sugar) and flaked almonds for a splash of color and Christmas glam.
To better suit the post-Christmas season, I made a much simpler, more elegantly decorated round cake, swishing the glaze across the top for a subtle pattern and sparsely dotted it with more dragées: silver was my first choice but we didn't have any today. Almond flakes around the edge covers the somewhat messy bits!
This log was topped very simply with broken meringue pieces, flaked almonds and more dragées. For reasons I cannot clearly pinpoint, I've decided to name this creation Tiffany. ;)