Bûche de Noël

Above, the author’s daughter prepares meringue mushrooms as a classic decoration for a Bûche de Noël (pictured at left).

Story and photos by Katherine Larson

Looking for a spectacular Christmas dessert, one that is both decorative and delicious? Consider a Bûche de Noël.

Literally, the words mean “Christmas Log.” It is the culinary version of a yule log, the tradition that early European Christians adopted from pagan Celts and Gaels who burned a large log at the winter solstice. Christians moved the communal log-burning to Christmas Eve.

With the growth of cities, log-burning became impractical for many. Eventually, some resourceful chef invented the Bûche de Noël, and made history. Today, bûches are most popular in France, Belgium, Québec, Vietnam (all places with strong connections to French pastry), and these are all good places to visit in December when pâtisseries are filled with the delectable treats.

We, however, live in the UP, so it’s up to us to roll up our sleeves and make our own.

A word of warning: a good bûche can’t be whipped up in a jiffy. Most of the construction can be relegated to the day before the holiday. Still, if you are already up to your elbows with seven side dishes to accompany the roast goose or roast beef or roast tofu, whatever your holiday feast may involve, and you don’t have a day to devote to this project, pick something else.

To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.



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