Michel Roux Jr’s Yule log
- November 2023
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 40 min, plus cooling and chilling. Oven time 15 min
Supremo chef Michel Roux Jr shows you how to create a classic bûche de Noël or Yule log, the traditional French Christmas dessert, with an optional splash of Grand Marnier for the chocolate orange fans. “The classic Yule log is the perfect finale to a Christmas feast,” says Michel. Scroll down to the Tips section for extra advice from our food team, too.
Recipe taken from Michel Roux At Home (Seven Dials) and tested by delicious.
Or, how about a white chocolate Yule log?
- 33g (18g saturated)
- 68g (60g sugars)
For the ganache
- 200g dark chocolate (70%), broken up
- 200g double cream
- Splash Grand Marnier (see Tips)
For the sponge
- 6 medium free-range eggs, separated
- 150g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 70g plain flour
- 30g pure cocoa powder
- 30g butter, melted
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
For the caramelised hazelnuts
- About 20 whole blanched hazelnuts
- 250g caster sugar
- About 30cm x 40cm swiss roll tin
- Wooden toothpicks
- Piece of polystyrene or small cardboard box
- Start by making the ganache. Put the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the cream into a pan and bring to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate and mix until smooth and combined. Leave to cool, then add Grand Marnier to taste. Whisk until light and fluffy.
- For the sponge, line the swiss roll tin with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. Beat the egg yolks with 100g of the caster sugar until pale, then beat in the flour, cocoa, a pinch of salt and the melted butter. In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the remaining caster sugar and beat until stiff (when you lift out the whisk the peaks won’t flop over). Fold or gently mix the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then pour the sponge mix into the lined tin. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes.
- Lay a clean tea towel on your work surface and carefully turn out the sponge on to it. Remove the baking paper. Dust the sponge with a little caster sugar and spread some of the ganache evenly all over it. Take the shorter side and roll the sponge up as tightly as possible into a neat log. Leave the sponge to cool, then put it seam side down on a serving platter. Cover it with the rest of the ganache, using a palette knife to add texture to the outside so it looks like a log, then leave to chill in the fridge.
- For the hazelnut decoration, stick a toothpick into each nut and set aside. Prepare something to stick the toothpicks into while the caramel hardens, such as a piece of polystyrene or cardboard box. Heat the sugar in a heavy based pan, without stirring, until you have a golden-brown caramel. One by one, dip the hazelnuts into the caramel, then stand them in whatever you have prepared and leave them to harden. Scoop up the remaining caramel and drizzle it in a fine criss-cross pattern over a piece of baking paper and leave it to harden.
- Dust the log with icing sugar ‘snow’ and arrange the caramelised nuts on top. Scatter the wispy caramel over and around to look like hay.
Easy swaps: If you don’t have Grand Marnier, another orange liqueur will do – or leave it out, but it does add a welcome flavour of posh chocolate orange.
Tips for success:
Step 1 Beat the mixture only for 3-4 minutes and it should thicken to a light, stiff ganache. It needs to be spreadable but thick enough to coat the sponge and stay in place.
Step 2 Be gentle with the batter and don’t overmix. Once you’ve folded in the egg whites, don’t hang around – you want to get the tray in the oven as soon as possible to keep the air in the mixture.
Step 3 Use the tea towel to support the roll along its width/length so it all rolls at the same time. Keep it tight and roll gradually.
Step 4 When the sugar starts to melt, give the pan a gentle shake and swirl to move the sugar round and ensure it all melts – no need to stir. Keep an eye on it as it bubbles and it will start to turn golden in a few minutes. For dramatic effect, put the polystyrene on a sheet of baking paper (or use the side of a cardboard box) and push the cocktail sticks in horizontally to create long spikes of caramel (as it drips onto the baking paper). To make the wispy strands, use a wooden spoon or a fork and scoop up some warm caramel, then drizzle it with a gentle wrist motion.
Afterwards Soak the pan and utensils in boiling water to soften the sugar for careful cleaning (wear gloves).
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Or, how about...?
White chocolate, orange and Grand Marnier crèmes brûlées
For a decadent dinner party dessert that’s guaranteed to please,...
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