And there’s a lot of holiday recipes inside, which if you’re like me in this particular year you may be looking for last minute inspiration. Like Mark Abernathy’s "Abernathy's Serious Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Whipped Cream," Jamie Lauren Adams' "Granny's Scalloped Corn Oyster Dressing," John Allen Nelson's "Simply Insane Cranberry Pie" or even Linda Bloodworth Thomason's own gingerbread recipe.
Want some proof? It's in the pudding — and I do mean that to mean in the dessert sort of way. A prime delicious example from Festivities, Too is on the jump — a precious Bûche de Noël recipe from Chef Andre Poirot of the Peabody Little Rock. That's Yule Log to you and me. Makes me hungry just reading the recipe.
Special equipment: 10 by 15-inch jelly-roll pan, buttered and lined with buttered parchment
Set rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering. Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees (test with your finger). Attach the bowl to the mixer and with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until well risen, deep and firm to the touch. (Make sure the cake doesn't over-bake and become too dry, or it will be hard to roll.) Use a small paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and let the cake cool right side up on the paper. Remove the paper when the cake is cool.
Yield: 1 (10 by 15-inch) sheet cake
Crème au Beurre (French Butter Cream)
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
8 each egg yolks
1 cup unsalted butter
4 drops of vanilla extract
Boil water and sugar till it reach 248 degrees Fahrenheit about 10 minutes. Meanwhile beat egg yolk in a bowl. Gradually pour on the boiling syrup, whisking for 3 minutes. Continue to whisk until mixture is lukewarm, then whisk in the butter cut in small pieces and keep whisking for another 5 minutes adding the vanilla extract at the end. Turn the genoise layer over and peel away the paper. Invert onto a fresh piece of paper. Spread the layer with half the buttercream. Use the paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder. Transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until set. Reserve the remaining buttercream for the outside of the buche. Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end. Position the larger cut piece on the buche about 2/3 across the top. Cover the buche with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump. Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.
Transfer the buche to a platter. Sprinkle the platter and buche sparingly with confectioners' sugar "snow." I also take a little bit of butter cream and color it with green food coloring and make ivy leaves and string to decorate the log.
Refrigerate 2 hours before serving
Serve 8 to 10 peoples. It is a very rich cake.