Friday, December 18, 2009

Recipe Friday Christmas special

Another week has gone by, and it is Friday again, Recipe Friday.

Since it is now the last Friday before the big day (that's Christmas day to you and me), I could not give anything else but a festive recipe.

But before I do so, let me give you an insight on a traditional french Christmas.

France being such a large country, traditions vary from region to region. As I mentioned in another post, the celebrations start on Christmas Eve with a very large meal. Common dishes include foie gras (a pate made from goose or duck liver), oysters, smoked salmon, prawns, some kind of poultry (usually duck or goose), and for dessert the traditional 'Buche de Noel' (Christmas log), a cake shaped like a log.

Originally, the 'Buche de Noel' was a real log. On the 24th of December, the head of the house and the kids used to go into the woods to pick up a special log that was to burn from the 24th of December until the 1st of January (and sometimes until the 6th of January, day of the Kings). The log was brought back to the house and decorated with ribbons. It was then ceremoniously put in the fireplace and wine and oil were poured over it by the head of the house. The youngest child was to light it.

To keep up the tradition and with the advent of electricity and other means of heating, a baker, around 1945, decided to bake a cake in the shape of a log. So if you don't have time to make that Christmas pudding, or haven't bought one yet, maybe you can try this for a less traditional Irish Christmas dinner.

Ingredients :

- 4 eggs

- a glass of caster sugar

- a glass of self raising flour.

- 250g of baking chocolate

- 200g of unsalted butter

- Whisk the 4 egg yolks, with the sugar and 3 tablespoons of tepid water, until it starts foaming.

-Slowly add the flour.

- Once all the ingredients have come together, add the 4 beaten egg whites (these should be stiff).

- In a flat, long tray, pour the dough (should be about 1 inch thick), and bake in a hot oven until golden brown (about 10 minutes should do it).

- Take the cake out of the tray and put down on a damp tea towel.

- Roll it up and leave to cool.

- Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (for those who are not sure, put a bowl over a pot of boiling water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water)

- Add the butter.

- Spread some of the chocolate and butter mix over the cake and roll back up.

- Spread the rest of the chocolate and butter mix over the cake and, using a fork, draw lines to resemble a log.

- Put in the fridge to cool down.

Some people sprinkle icing sugar over the top to resemble snow, or add a couple of sprigs of holly.

A lot easier and less time consuming than your traditional Christmas fruit cake! So get your aprons on and try it out, if not for Christmas day for any other day over the Christmas period.

Merry Christmas everybody.

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