As a kid, I waited all year long for Christmas.
Throughout December my blog posts will be devoted to Christmas, my favorite celebration of all. Why do I love Christmas and December so? Don’t all Capricorns?
There’ll be Christmas lights and decorations around Paris (including department store windows), the Christmas market in Lille’s town square, and then, later in the month, Christmas in London.
Yule logs, called bûches de Noël, are big in France over the Christmas holidays. Light and creamy, they concorde beautifully with a glass or two of sparkling wine or champagne. Prepared in every pâtisserie around the country, they come in different sizes and flavors. My favorite flavor is chestnut. I was watching Melissa Clark make her yule log (with the help of a pastry chef) and thought it would be fun to compare her log with the log of a French chef.
What Melissa didn’t do, once the sponge cake was rolled up, but what the French chef did before it was rolled up, was to brush it generously with syrup made from sugared water and Cointreau. This moistens the cake and gives it added flavor. If children are eating the log, then substitute the Cointreau with a mixture of sugared water, orange zest and vanilla. The French chef rolled his cake a lot tighter than Melissa did hers (I thought her roll-up was too loose.) He also used a silicone cake pan. But what’s really interesting is the icing (or frosting, as Americans call it.) The French chef used a pastry piping bag and piped lines of icing onto the cake. This is niftier than using a spatula. He made the whole operation look, well, effortless. Either way, the end result of both logs is a decorative and delicious work of art.