What Is A Bûche De Noël?

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What is a Bûche de Noël? You may have heard that friend of yours who did a winter semester in Paris talking (and talking) about it. Seems like it's some sort of dessert or something. But really, what is it?

A Bûche de Noël is a traditional Christmas "Yule Log" (a "bûche," pronounced "boosh," is a log) served on or around the 25th at French holiday celebrations. While its main characteristic is that it's made to look like a log, the ingredients vary slightly depending on who's running the kitchen. Meringue, mousse, ganache — all usually play a role in this chocolate-y treat. It supposedly gets its name from the Yule log that would burn in the fireplace on Christmas (now available as a video Yule log with bacon, thanks to Applegate farms).

At Benoit, Alain Ducasse's bistro in Manhattan, the bûche is composed of an almond dacquoise (a sort of almond meringue), layered with chocolate mousse, a vanilla mousse center and a milk chocolate and hazelnut glaze. Chocolate truffles and gold leaf garnish the bûche, which is available for pick-up at Benoit for $35 (serves 6-8).

Should you feel the urge to make one yourself, some companies even make molds for a bûche, such as this one from the reliable Restaurant Supply Pro.