It will soon be three years that I have lived in France, and as the years pass I become more and more invested in learning as much as I can about French traditions…especially at this time of the year. I love seeing the different Christmas decorations, fairs & markets, and, most importantly, digging into the seasonal foods.
In general, Christmas in a more subdued affair than in the US, but there is a huge focus on honoring specific traditions. On French tables, you’ll find certain dishes that vary from region to region, but ultimately, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a healthy consumption of foie gras, oysters, & stuffed-turkey – delicately combined with champagne & crisp white wines.
In Provence, the meal ends with the traditional 13 desserts (which are springing up in shops & supermarkets all around the region) and it’s also the season of the Bûche de Noël – the Christmas “yule log”.
Bûches can be cakes of all different flavors and colors, or they can come in ice cream form – la bûche glacée. I had about 10 different bûches that I wanted to make on my first run (including a tiramisu bûche that sounds so so buono) but I settled on a simpler Nutella log for the first go. And really, who doesn’t love Nutella? I have to keep that jar under lock & key in our house
We’re off to the north of France to hopefully experience a “white Christmas” & eat our little hearts out. I would like to extend a very warm Merci to everyone who has followed and supported this blog, and wishing you all a très Joyeux Noël & a 2013 plein de belle choses … full of beautiful things.
Bûche au Nutella
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 large jar of Nutella
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another.
Whisk the yolks with the sugar for 2 minutes. Add in the flour while still whisking, and then add the melted butter. Beat the whites with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks, incorporate them into the flour mixture.
Spread the batter on the baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes. Wet a clean dish towel, wring it out, and lay it on the kitchen counter. Turn the cake onto the towel and remove the parchment paper. Roll the cake in the damp towel and let in cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Unroll the cake and cover it generously with Nutella. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top and roll it back up. Wrap it in a fresh sheet of parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator.
Before serving, remove the parchment paper, cut off the two ends so they are even, and glaze completely with Nutella. Decorate with hazelnuts and/or Christmas figures.
recipe credit: Cuisine et Vins de France