A Buche de Noel….

Buche de Noel 1

Buche de Noel sounds rather more charming than Christmas Log doesn’t it although neither name really conveys the pleasure of eating this.  Never mind, the answer is to press on and try it for yourself to see how very, very delicious it is.

This came about because none of my family are very keen on mincemeat based puds which puts Christmas pudding, mince pies et al fairly firmly out of the window.  Indeed it came down to me to be solely responsible for the consumption of our Christmas cake last year (and the second one I made in January because I was so bereft when the first was finished, but that is another story).

So I set about finding something that is both festive and celebratory but avoided raisins or mincemeat.  Some sort of Buche de Noel came to mind and I liked the idea of Marsala as I find is heady warmth particularly suited to this time of year.  Tiramisu in its usual form is popular chez May so I decided this was the way to go.

This is both light and rich if that is not an oxymoron.  What I mean is that you feel as if you have had a proper treat, boozy and creamy and yet don’t immediately need to lie down in a cool room because you are so stuffed.  If that weren’t enough I think it is an absolute stunner – it brings to mind Biba mocha velvet with a cappuccino colour, floppy satin pussy cat bow….  Happy Christmas!

Buche de Noel 2

A Buche de Noel

This an easy pudding and you can make the components ahead of time.  The chocolate outer you see in the photographs was made a day before and kept rolled in a cool place before being filled – as you see it looks a picture and I must tell you, tasted divine.

5 teaspoons coffee (made with 1/2 a teaspoon of instant coffee and 6 of boiling water)

6 eggs

130g caster sugar

50g cocoa, plus extra for dusting

250g tub marscarpone

6 teaspoons Marsala

2 tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 170 and line a swiss roll tin (approx 34x24cm) with baking parchment.  Put the egg yolks and sugar in one bowl and whisk until pale and doubled in volume;  put the whites into another bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.  Sieve the cocoa into the egg yolks along with 2 teaspoons of the coffee and combine.  Add a third of the egg whites into the yolks and mix well to slacken the chocolate mixture then add the remaining whites in two lots, combining very gently.  Pour the whole lot into the prepared tin and cook for 15 minutes until just firm on top.  Whilst it is in the oven dust another sheet of parchment with cocoa.  When the chocolate mix is cooked, carefully tip it out onto the cocoa dusted parchment and starting from the short end, firmly (but gently!) roll up, using the paper to help you and leave it to cool.

Meanwhile mix the mascarpone, marsala, icing sugar and 3 teaspoons of the coffee together and taste, you might decide you want a little more sugar or marsala…!  Carefully unroll the chocolate outer and spread the marscarpone mixture over it, then roll it up again.  It may crack but usually stays together pretty well and anyway, it really doesn’t matter.  If you want you can dust with more cocoa, a snow fall of icing sugar or a grating of chocolate – up to you.  Serves 6-8 depending on how generous your slices are and how much you want left over…..

Buche de Noel 4

 

 

 

Mocha Cookies (or Spooky Cobweb Cookies)

Mocha Cookies 2

Who wouldn’t like a crisp and soft, deeply chocolatey cookie on a windswept October day?  These are a version of some cookies I have made many times and recently I have taken to adding a little coffee, hence the mocha in the name.  This coffee flavour isn’t hugely predominant (so don’t worry if you think your children might not like it) but there is a hint and as ever, coffee seems to boost the chocolate flavour.   Perfect as a little treat but equally at home with ice cream for pudding.  In all honesty I wouldn’t say no to one of these whatever the situation.

The dough is fairly soft and needs to sit in the fridge for an hour or so before you form the balls.  The advantage of this is you can make it ahead and then only use as much dough as you need, the rest will sit happily in the fridge for several days.

The icing sugar makes a lovely marbled effect when it cooks so if you need something sweet for your little devils this Hallowe’en, make these and call them Spooky Cobweb Cookies.

Mocha Cookies

Mocha Cookies 

1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 2 teaspoons boiling water

60g butter

175g plain chocolate

175g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

140g caster sugar

40g icing sugar

Put the dissolved coffee, butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and allow to melt then mix and set aside to cool a little.  Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale then add the cooled chocolate mixture followed by the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and put in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.  Preheat the oven to 160 and put the icing sugar into a little bowl.  Take teaspoonfuls of the mix and form into little balls, roll them in the icing sugar until well covered and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Using the heel of your hand squash the ball, the sides will split a little but this is what you want.   Bake for 12-14 minutes until firm at the edges.  Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.  Makes about 30.

Mocha Cookies 3