Exquisite holiday creations

Nearly every year for the past decade, I’ve made a bûche de Noël for a holiday dinner. I try to vary the design – some years it’s been a white chocolate paper birch log, other years a more traditional dark chocolate. Meringue mushrooms, pistachio crumb moss, cake crumb sawdust, and other trompe l’oeil items have made an appearance. This year I think I’m packing it in, however, after viewing what several French pastry chefs are doing with their holiday creations.

If you follow Cédric Grolet on Instagram, you already know the kinds of amazing things he produces. The bûche shown in this article consists of realistic vanilla bean pods that contain vanilla praline, a vanilla coulant heart and vanilla mousse. If you go to his website you can buy one of these pods for €18.00, but you can also order something different, a Christmas house buche (pictured above) that features yuzu gel, biscuit mousse, cinnamon biscuit, caramel, shortbread, and cinnamon ganache. It will set you back €120.00, plus the cost of travel to Paris to pick it up. (I didn’t check to see what’s available at his London or Singapore locations.) Read more about Cédric Grolet, his cookbooks and Jane’s visit to his Paris shop here (contest is over).

The other chefs may not be as well known as Grolet, but they have fantastic trompe l’oeil items as well. Chef Christophe Michalak pays tribute to the cinema with his popcorn-box themed affair, which holds biscuit de Nantes, grilled corn praline, and popcorn ganache. Pastry chef Eric Raynal’s bûche is more traditional appearing. It looks amazingly realistic but it’s made of a chocolate crust and Joconde biscuit with olive oil that surrounds an olive oil mousse, among other things. Some of the items in the article stretch the definition of bûche, like Naraé Kim’s bejeweled brooch. It is amazing to behold, however.

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  • Jane  on  November 29, 2023

    Wow, way beyond my decorating skills. My one buche didn’t go beyond bark effect and some snow! Tasted good though.

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