"How do You Say Broken Yule Log in French?"

Silver Valley Girl saying, "Bon appétit!"

Each year on Christmas Eve my sister Silver Valley Girl orchestrates a dinner highlighting the food and customs of a country in the world. Our family has many fond memories of Christmas Eve dinners that have included food from Thailand, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and others. This year we celebrated France so it was my task to make a Buche de Noel for dessert. This is the chocolate roll made to resemble a log. I love to make desserts and was looking forward to this challenge. I had made other cake rolls pretty easily. I got a bit stressed when I had to beat eggs, put them over simmering water, then use a candy thermometer so they would get to a certain consistency. I have had bad experiences with a candy thermometer. Not only was the top of it cracked, but it didn't hang on the bowl correctly.I don't think I cooked the egg mixture long enough and I don't think I baked the chocolate roll long enough, but it came out of the pan beautifully and rolled up in the towel just fine. Whew! Relief!

As the roll was cooling I discovered the filling required more complicated steps using a candy thermometer. It had completely broke at the top by now so I searched for another filling recipe. I found a much simplier one that called for cream, espresso, rum, and cocoa. I could handle this!
I whipped it up and even made my first marzipan mushrooms to make the dessert look like a log ( it's a French thing).

The cake was cooled and I unrolled it. The roll began to crack a bit. I thought," I can piece this together with this creamy filling." The roll cracked more and basically fell apart. I stood there staring at this broken up log trying to come up with Plan B for the Christmas Eve dessert.

I found a large,clear bowl. I broke apart the already cracked chocolate roll, mixed it with the filling, sprinkled the chocolate "twigs" on top next to the marzipan mushrooms. I don't think I invented a new recipe, just a variation on a theme. I guess you would call it " Sawdust de Noel". It resembled a dessert I have loved to make in the past called Punchbowl Cake.

It didn't match the picture on the cooking sites. It didn't fit very well in any container as I packed it for a trip to Idaho. All I know is by the time this new French dessert sat and chilled for a day it really was a delicious dessert.... it just had to be renamed!
To see the menu, read about another small disaster, and see more pictures of this tradition in our family go to Silver Valley Girl's post here.


  1. Sawdust de Noel,That is perfect for the wintery north! eEveryone knows that the French are too prissy anyway. Besides the great part is that most of my cooking, looks like Sawdust de Noel, so now I have a name for it. Thank you!

  2. Stdash26.12.07

    Broken yule log: Brisées bûche

    No matter how french cooking looks, it does have its tastiness.

  3. What a creative solution you found! Delicious looking 'sawdust' :)
    Hope you had a very merry Christmas!

  4. That looks delicious. I'm all for improvisational cooking. It's all about the taste not the presentation when I cook. My daughter starts over if it doesn't look right, but not me.

    On another topic those are beautiful photographs in your next post. It's almost like vicariously having a white Christmas, for me.

  5. mmmmm, I could be a chocolate termite for sure.

  6. Everything looks so pretty and scummie :)


  7. Thanks for all the comments... yes, it did end up being a good tasting dessert.

  8. Thank you Thank you! You have saved me as mine just broke apart, probably too severely to get pieced back together. I can still deliver on Christmas. :)


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