Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thinking Ahead

Can you believe the holidays are here already. Just two short weeks until Thanksgiving, and then a month later Santa comes. In our home we celebrate both Yule and Christmas. For those of you who don't know, yule is also known as The Winter Solstice. It is historically known as Midwinter, and occurs around December 21 or 22 each year in the Northern hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. It occurs on the shortest day or longest night of the year, marking the astronomical beginning of winter. Worldwide, interpretation of the event varies from culture to culture, but most hold a recognition of rebirth, involving festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations.

One of the customs of Yule is the buring of a Yule Log. The custom, which dates back to the XIIth century, was known in most Europeans countries, notably in France and in Italy where the Yule log was called a ceppo. This tradition persisted in Quebec as it did in France up until the last quarter of the XIXth century. Its disappearance coincides with that of great hearths which were gradually replaced by cast-iron stoves. The great log was thus replaced by a smaller one, often embellished with candles and greenery, placed in the centre of the table as a Christmas decoration.

Today, the Yule log has become a traditional pastry, a delicious cake roll, smothered in coffee or chocolate-flavoured icing and decorated with sugared holly leaves and roses.

Yule Log

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup 10x sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (optional)
Chocolate Frosting:
3 squares unsweetened chocolate OR
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa + 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 tablespoons butter (if using cocoa-will total 6 tablespoons butter)
4 cups 10x sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs until thick. Gradually beat in sugar and then slowly blend the water and vanilla in. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add to egg mixture, blending until smooth. Pour into 15x10 jelly roll pan lined with foil. (You can also use a cookie sheet with a raised edge. I bring the foil up about 1 inch all around the edge of the pan.) The cake batter is thick and airy. Spread it evenly over the pan. (The cake is thin and like a sponge cake.) Bake in a 375 degree oven 12-15 minutes. Loosen edges of foil and turn out onto a towel sprinkled with sifted 10x sugar. Remove foil-you may have to pry the corners a little from the edges of the cake. Roll the cake in the towel from the narrow end. It will only roll two times. Let sit in towel until completely cool. Work rather quickly here. The idea is to get the cake rolled up in the towel while it is still hot and pliable. When cool-unroll cake and place on a serving platter. Spread with sweetened whipped cream and then re-roll. It will rather flop back into a rolled shape. Now spread the roll with the chocolate icing. Draw the tongs of a fork along the length of the frosted log to resemble bark. Decorate the edge of the log on the plate with cherries and lemon leaves or sprigs of holly. Cream filling: Combine heavy cream, 10x sugar and instant coffee powder. Whip until thick enough to spread. Chocolate Frosting: Melt unsweetened chocolate. (or unsweetened cocoa and margarine) Mix sugar, salt, milk and vanilla. Add chocolate and blend well. Let stand, stirring occasionally until spreading consistency. To spread frosting, dip knife or narrow spatula in hot water.

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Blogger miss*R said...

I love Yule Log and make one for our Christmas day...
think of how mixed up I must feel... celebrating summer solstice on December 21/22 and then christmas day on December 25...

November 8, 2007 at 3:25 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Oh dear - if this recipe is as good as the apple cake one you did before I am going to get even FATTER!

November 8, 2007 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Sacred Suzie said...

Thank you for including the recipe, I've always wanted to try and make this! I wish I only celebrated Yule, I really don't like Christmas. A bit of a scrooge that way. It's just so materialistic. I'd rather just eat and have fun together and watch the snow fall. It's the pagan way!

November 8, 2007 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

We do the log every year and burn it in the fireplace. One year I had to use a duraflame log and chop holes into it for the candles but it worked great. I haven't made the edible kind before but this looks very tasty!

November 8, 2007 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger PEA said...

Being French Canadian, we've always had the "Buche de Noel" (yule log) at Christmas time:-) Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!! xox

November 8, 2007 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

Oh that looks SO good!

November 8, 2007 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Julie Marie said...

I MUST make a Yule Log this year, especially since I am, for the first time, incorporating Yule celebrations into my other holiday observations.

I love the new look of your blog.


November 10, 2007 at 9:29 PM  

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