Festive Roulade

This holiday season my husband requested a buche de noel for our Christmas Eve festivities. I always like to try new baking projects so I was excited to give this a shot. I settled on this chocolate chestnut roulade recipe.

When baking (or cooking really I’m a stickler for following directions) I follow the Julia Child belief that measurements are very important. So I got my husband’s brewing scale out and measured my chocolate.

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My other main concern was that the recipe called for caster sugar. At first I thought that might just be a British term for regular granulated sugar but I wanted to be sure. Turns out caster sugar is a super-fine sugar that falls somewhere between granulated and powdered (icing) sugar. The local grocery store did not have caster sugar and I’m not crazy about buying ingredients that I might not use again. Some online searching revealed that you can spin granulated sugar around in the food processor a few times to make it more fine and that is usually sufficient. So that’s what I did. I measured the sugar before and after just to be safe.

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The recipe called for plain chocolate with less than 50% cocoa solids. We used Ghirardelli semi-sweet and milk chocolate bars mixed together. As you see below, it’s very important to use a double boiler when melting chocolate – do not apply chocolate directly to the heat.

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Using my stand mixer ( I love this thing, it has completely transformed baking for me) I beat the egg yolks, sugar, and then the melted chocolate together.

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We do not own a jelly roll pan. I found this cookie sheet that fit the length and width specified in the recipe but was unsure about the depth. Especially once I poured this batter in and it went to the tip top of the pan. So I placed a larger pan underneath in case it rose above the edges – I’m glad I did!

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After the cake finished baking and was cooling, I made the filling. We couldn’t find a chestnut puree at the grocery store so we had to make our own. Fortunately we were able to find precooked and shelled chestnuts which we pureed with some sugar.

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The finished product! I was very nervous while rolling and couldn’t stop to take pictures. I was very glad for years of observing a baker make pumpkin rolls at the bakery I worked at in college! In the end it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The recipe called for chocolate holly leaves but instead I melted the remaining chocolate, spread it onto parchment paper and let it set. Then I took mini holiday cookie cutters and pressed them into the chocolate – leaving the indents. I set it outside to cool again and once the chocolate completely hardened broke the shapes out – ta da!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful and delicious holiday! Do you have any traditional foods you make every year or do you like to try out new recipes too?

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