Global Goodies: International Holiday Desserts (Recipes)

Spice up your holiday table with an international dessert


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yule log

Christmas Cake Magnifique: France

The French classic bûche de Noël, literally translated as “yule log,” can be traced back to a pagan tradition celebrating the winter solstice. Originally made of thinly rolled sponge cake filled with jam or cream, today’s bûche de Noël is a highly decorated dessert that comes in a wide variety of flavors and presentations.

At Jean-Claude’s Patisserie & Dessert Cafe in Warwick (there is also an outpost in Greenwood Lake), renowned pastry chef Jean-Claude Sanchez crafts his famous cylindrical cakes in five flavors: orange, Grand Marnier, hazelnut, double chocolate, and lemon. He also shares a recipe with us. Ooh la la.

Chocolate Bûche de Noël

Serves 10 to 12 people

Ganache filling (prepare one day ahead of time):

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 16 oz bittersweet chocolate
  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil
  2. Pour over chocolate chunks
  3. Let stand for a moment, then stir gently
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next day

Rum syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Rum to taste
  1. Put water and sugar into a pot and bring to a boil
  2. Cool and add rum to taste


  • ½ cup hazelnut flour
  • 1 oz pastry flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 eggs yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  1. Mix hazelnut flour and pastry flour
  2. With a hand mixer, beat the whole eggs, egg yolks, and ½ cup sugar until ribbon-like and pale in color. Reserve in a bowl
  3. Mix egg whites with remaining sugar until glossy in color and soft peaks form
  4. By hand, delicately fold half of egg mixture and half of the flour into the egg whites; finish with the second half  
  5. Line a tray with parchment paper and spread biscuit mixture evenly
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees until light golden brown
  7. When you are ready to make the bûche, peel parchment paper from the biscuit, then replace underneath the biscuit until ready to roll
  8. Moisten biscuit with rum syrup using pastry brush
  9. Bring ganache to room temperature. Beat gently until soft peaks form. Spread about half over biscuit and, with the help of the paper, roll the bûche
  10. Store in refrigerator for two hours
  11. Remove parchment paper. Spread leftover ganache over the cake. Use a fork dipped in hot water to create “bark.” Decorate and serve.

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