I have dreamed, thought, considered, planned – whatever verb you choose – to bake a Buche de Noel for many, many years; always deciding that baking one would be far too much work, far too complicated and far out of my reach in terms of decorating something that fancy. In other words, fear of failure kept me from attempting something I’d really wanted to do for a very long time. So why in the world would I attempt to make a gluten-free Buche de Noel now? Chalk it up to . . . age.
It’s true what they say about life in your 50s – that with age comes a little more wisdom as well as a ‘throw-caution-to-the-wind’ attitude about living life and actually embracing the failures that are sure to come your way. And yes, I completely understand we’re talking about baking a Buche de Noel – not jumping from an airplane with a parachute strapped to my back, or scuba diving with sharks – I do have enough wisdom to know that I like my feet planted firmly on the ground thank-you-very-much.
But this was the year I stopped telling myself (and believing) that I’m not a real baker, that taking on baking projects I’ve dreamed about for years would not only stretch me, but any failures – and there will be failures – would push me towards my personal goal of being an excellent baker – and an excellent gluten-free baker at that.
This Buche de Noel started with a recipe from a dear friend, Jamie of Life’s a Feast – an expat living in France who happens to make fabulous pastries all year long; last weekend I made her recipe exactly as written substituting only gluten-free flours for her all-purpose – and it turned out really well. I was able to roll the genoise cake into a tea towel without it cracking or breaking; I filled and rerolled the cake and frosted with with a simple mascarpone cream cheese frosting. Typically, you’ll find quite a few recipes made with chocolate cake and/or a chocolate filling; but The Professor has an allergy to chocolate so I wondered if I might be able to make a tiramisu-like Buche de Noel.
Coffee, dark rum, whipped cream, mascarpone cheese all rolled up into a light and tender genoise cake, cut and decorated like the trunk of a tree – I have to admit to being quite pleased with this version. No cracks or breaks in the cake, it filled and rolled beautifully and tastes divine. An added bonus is that this cake can be assembled the day before, wrap lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight – it holds up well and tastes even better the next day.
There are four components to the recipe but I promise you, none are difficult – give it a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
NOTES: My starting point for this recipe comes from Jamie over at Life’s a Feast; I’m giving you the list of ingredients here but please head over to her site for the method and instructions as to how to assemble.
Additionally, I use chestnut and white buckwheat flour as part of my gluten-free mix; white buckwheat has a more mild flavor than regular buckwheat and I have a flour mill so I am able to purchase the whole groats and mill my flours as I need them. Regular buckwheat can be substituted but the buckwheat flavor will be a bit stronger – or you can substitute superfine white and/or brown rice if you’d prefer.
And finally, I dropped the oven temperature to 350 degrees and baked for approximately 15-minutes
GLUTEN-FREE TIRAMISU BUCHE DE NOEL
FOR THE SYRUP:
½ cup strong brewed coffee
80 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
3 Tablespoons dark rum
NOTE: you will have leftover syrup but you’ll use 1 Tablespoon in the frosting
FOR THE GENOISE:
25 grams chestnut flour
25 grams white buckwheat
38 grams potato starch
37 grams tapioca starch
5 eggs, separated
100 grams (½ cup) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (pure vanilla extract can be subbed as well)
1 pinch of salt
FOR THE FILLING:
½ teaspoon gelatin + 2 Tablespoons water
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup mascarpone cheese
1 small can chestnut puree
NOTE: Once the filling is blended, reserve 3 Tablespoons for frosting
FOR THE FROSTING:
½ cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons reserved filling – see note above
1 Tablespoon reserved syrup – see note above
Click here for the instructions on the method and assembly
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Chocolate Buche de Noel from Jenni Field