Nutcracker Buche, Hazelnut praliné yule log

The Nutcracker Buche (or Christmas Yule Log) is a bit complex to make but is so delicious that it is worth every minute spent preparing it.

The recipe is from the book Bûches, from Christophe Felder. I really recommend the book, there is a ton of amazing buche/yule log recipe. Unfortunately, it seems to be only available in French.

What do I need to prepare the Nutcracker Buche

The great thing about this recipe is we do not need a Buche mold.

I really recommend a stand mixer if you are into pastry and think you will be doing a lot of them. I have had my KitchenAid for at least 10 years now and it is my best friend. If you don’t want to spend the money or don’t have much use for it, you will at least need an electric hand mixer.

You will also need piping bags and two different tips: one 12mm and one 10mm.

We are working with sugar for this recipe, so my last recommendation is a thermometer.

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Can start preparing the buche in advance?

If you don’t want to run around to get it all the same day, I do recommend you break it down into different steps:

  • Prepare the hazelnut succes a couple of days in advance (up to a week if you make sure to have it in an airtight container in a dry place)
  • Prepare the pastry cream the day before

You can also prepare the buche in advance and freeze it. On the day you need it, make sure to take it out for at least 4 hours in advance in the fridge.

nutcracker buche

This seems too complicated for me!

I know! When you have a quick look at the Nutcracker Buche recipe, it can seem daunting. But once you break it into different steps, it is actually not that bad. This recipe is not really made to just do one, as you will see you will get extra quantity of almost everything. So I actually recommend you do a try first maybe and share with friend, and keep those extra bits for the next one.

Note that the recipe of the hazelnut succes call for meringue or even better pieces of a previous succes. So if you do try this recipe before big day, make sure to keep the left over of sucess you made to incorporate in the next batch. You can freeze it without problem.

Where can I find praline and hazelnut paste?

If like me you live in the US, it is a bit complicated to find certain ingredients. It seems like you can find a type of praline on Amazon (see here). I haven’t tried it to be honest but looking at ingredients, it seems ok (it should be only hazelnuts and sugar). You can also buy this one, but it is more for professional and it is a lot! My recommendation if you have a very good mixer (like a thermomix, kenwood etc) is to make your own. Simply roast 100g hazelnuts (or 50g hazelnuts/50g almonds) in the oven for 10 mn. Make a caramel with 100g sugar and pour on top of your nuts. Let cool down and blend until you get a paste. Store in an airtight container.

For the hazelnut paste, roast 50g hazelnuts in the oven. Blend in your mixer with 50g powdered sugar until you get a smooth paste. You can add 1 tsp of walnut oil if needed (if too dry).

Nutcracker Bûche

Prep Time4 hours
Cook Time1 hour
Resting time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French


Pastry Cream

  • 320 g whole milk
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 3 g dry milk
  • 30 g egg yolk
  • 50 g sugar
  • 30 g corn starch

Hazelnut succes

  • 250 g egg white
  • 200 g sugar
  • 120 g hazelnut powder
  • 120 g powdered sugar
  • 1 g vanilla powder
  • 40 g crumbled meringue
  • 100 g sliced almonds

Italian Meringue

  • 80 g sugar
  • 10 g water
  • 60 g egg white

Butter Cream

  • 170 g pastry cream
  • 150 g butter room temperature
  • 70 g Italian meringue prepared above

Praliné mousseline cream

  • 85 g pastry cream
  • 300 g butter cream prepared above
  • 55 g hazelnut praliné
  • 50 g hazelnut paste
  • 90 g whipping cream


  • Slices almonds
  • Hazelnuts


Pastry Cream

  • Bring to a boil the milk with grated vanilla bean and dry milk.
  • In a bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar. Add cornstarch.
  • Pour one third of the milk into the egg mix, stir well and add back to the pan with the rest of milk. Stir constantly until it comes back to a boil (and gets a creamy consistency). Place in a clean bowl, wrap with plastic (touching the cream) and reserve in the fridge

Hazelnut succes

  • Preheat your oven to 150C (302F).
  • Whisk egg white with a bit of sugar. Slowly add remaining sugar until the egg form a peak.
  • Add hazelnut powder, powdered sugar, vanilla and meringue. Gently fold with a spatula to keep all air in eggs.
  • Using the 12mm tip, pipe rolls of about 25cm (9.8in) long doing only one, then 2 next to each other, then 3 and to finish 4 (that is what we will use to assemble the bûche.
  • Add sliced almonds on top of it and sprinkle some powdered sugar.
  • Bake for 1 hour (if needed turn your baking sheet at half time)
  • Let cool down on a wire rack.

Italian meringue

  • Heat the 70g of sugar and water in a pan, until reaching 117°C (242°F).
  • When the sugar reach about 110°C, start whisking the egg white. When they start foaming, add the 10g of sugar and keep on whisking until you get the soft peak. Slowly add the sugar syrup while whisking; Keep on whisking until it cools down.
  • Since you only need 70g of this preparation, you can keep the rest in an airtight container and freeze it for another use.

Butter cream

  • Whisk the pastry cream to loosen it.
  • Whisk the butter until you get a cream. Add it to the pastry cream and make sure to stir well. Finish by adding the 70g of Italian meringue gently with a spatula.

Praliné mousseline cream

  • Whisk the pastry cream until you have a creamy and smooth consistency.
  • Using a stan mixer, whisk the butter cream (it should get more volume). Add the praliné and hazelnut paste while whisking. Add the pastry cream. The final consistency should be of a soft cream but shouldn’t be runny. If too soft, place it a bit in the fridge, if too hard, use a blowtorch to warm it up.


  • Use the 4 band succès as the base. Pipe with the 10mm tip 5 bands of mousseline cream on top of it, top with the 3-band success, pipe 3 bands of cream, 2 bands success, pipe 2 bans of cream.
  • Reserve in the freezer for about 30 mn. Add the last band of succès. You can use the rest of cream to decorate the cake by adding hazelnuts or slices almonds. Sift powdered sugar and serve.

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