I just bought a Buche de Noel from my favorite bakery, Isabelle et Vincent, because, quite frankly my dears, I ran out of time. On a similar note, I am going to re-run my post from last year. Merry Christmas to all of you and havea very peaceful 2013!
JUST ABOUT EVERY YEAR SINCE 1988, I have made a Buche de Noel for our family's Christmas Eve dessert. It caps off a rather bizarre gustatory affair which includes Hot and Cold Antipasto, Jambalaya, Coq Au Vin, Potato Salad, Spicy Kidney Beans and a Spiral Ham. It all works somehow and it wouldn't be Christmas dinner without any of those dishes.
I guess I started making the B de N because my mother always had a Gateau Saint Honore made especially for Christmas - Saint Honore being the patron saint of bakers (love the French, don't you?). There was always some leftover and it made an excellent breakfast. And lunch. The recipe I use is from Michael Kenyon's "Buche de Noel: Peter Kump's New York Cooking School" as it appeared in Cooking Up A French Christmas (Gourmet, December 1988). The article is charming and it features Paul Grimes, currently a food stylist, but also my favorite teacher when I was a student at the school. It is possible to order back issues of this wonderful magazine, as well as the beautiful cover art.
First of all, do not be afraid. Any recipe you find that you are comfortable with is fine and this is so worth it because
A. the presentation is beautiful
B. it's really, really fun to do and
C. and it's not difficult. Just think of it as just a large Christmas Yodel.
Yup - now you're interested, aren't you? I will make one suggestion, however. If you have the time to make home-made meringue mushrooms and rain is not in the forecast, then by all means make your own. If you do not have the time and you live in Seattle, then by all means buy them. So these are my plans for today: There are a few gifts to buy and a few cards to mail. White Christmas, which I will review for tomorrow, has got to be on somewhere, and I will start preparations for my Buche de Noel because it just wouldn't be Christmas without it.
And I'll say a little prayer to Saint Honore.
Take care, Byrd