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December Daring Baker’s Challenge: French Yule Log

December 30, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 11 Comments

This insane challenge was chosen by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux: a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

And I am insane for waiting until the LAST POSSIBLE day to finish this beauty! But its all good, because she’s full of chocolate, crispy and crème brûlée deliciousness! I cannot wait to continue carving it up tomorrow for the New Year’s Eve Dinner Party!!!

I went pretty traditional with this recipe- a hazelnut dacquiose, a dark chocolate ganache insert, a dark chocolate praline insert (with lace crepes!), dark chocolate mousse, a simple vanilla crème brûlée insert and a chocolate icing! I topped the yule log with extra praline and raspberries (also going into our champagne…) 😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper

Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom and top layers, or if using a Yule log mold (half-pipe) to line your entire mold with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.

Ingredients:
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1) Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner’s sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2) Sift the flour into the mix.
3) Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4) Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5) Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6) Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc…) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7) Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8 ) Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

The newest addition to my family- look at Petunia whipping up those egg whites!! Boy is she a whiz!

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse

Preparation time: 20mn

Equipment: stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula

Ingredients:
2.5 sheets gelatin or 5g / 1 + 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (10g) glucose or thick corn syrup
0.5 oz (15g) water
50g egg yolks (about 3 medium)
6.2 oz (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 cups (350g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

1) Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.)
2) Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
2a) Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
2b) Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.
2c) Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
3) In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
4) Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.
5) Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of WHIPPED cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe.
6) Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

-This was my most challenging part- I decided to make the sugar syrup before whipping the egg yolks, BAD IDEA, next time do it in order! My sugar syrup hardly dissolved in the egg yolks because of the cooler temperature…. Then when I added the chocolate to the gelatin, something coagulated but then I put it back on the double boiler to get everything to dissolve! Phew.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Preparation time: 10mn

Equipment: pan, whisk. If you have plunging mixer (a vertical hand mixer used to make soups and other liquids), it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream. It may splatter and boil.

Ingredients:
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.)Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2) While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3) Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4) Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Preparation time: 10 mn (+ optional 15mn if you make lace crepes)

Equipment: Small saucepan, baking sheet (if you make lace crepes).
Double boiler (or one small saucepan in another), wax paper, rolling pin (or I use an empty bottle of olive oil).

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them. Special note: If you use one of the substitutes for the gavottes, you should halve the quantity stated, as in use 1oz of any of these cereals instead of 2.1oz.
If you want to make your own praline, please refer back to the Daring Bakers Challenge Recipe from July 2008.

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes – recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
1) Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
2) Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
3) Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
4) Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1) Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2) Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3) Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper

Note: The vanilla crème brulée can be flavored differently by simply replacing the vanilla with something else e.g. cardamom, lavender, etc…

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

1) Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
2) Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3) Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4) Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center. Place mold into larger dish and surround with 1 inch of boiling water.
– After the 1 hour had passed and the brulee was still liquid, I turned my oven up to 300 and allowed it to cook for 20 minutes (maybe I should have done 10…)
5) Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)

Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan

Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

Ingredients:
4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1)Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2) Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3) Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4) Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log

Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.
THIS IS FOR UNMOLDING FROM UPSIDE DOWN TO RIGHT SIDE UP.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1) Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.

2) Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.
3) Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
4) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
5) Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
6) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
7) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
8 ) Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
9) Close with the Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

THE NEXT DAY… (or just 8 hours later…)
Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
Cover the cake with the icing.
Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc…
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.

Check out the rest of my daring bakers!

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11 Comments »

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  1. Biss…That is really pretty. Nice job! I can’t wait to hear how it tasted. Happy New Year. love you

  2. That is completely gorgeous. Very nice job! And I’ll bet it was delicious.

  3. Happy new year! I want my own Petunia, too, but in black.

  4. […] lardon, potato puree, braised beef, chicken with morels and for dessert: fruit tarts and the french yule log! Check out the deliciousness […]

  5. Your log looks gorgeous! I am quite jealous of Petunia – I love the pink!

  6. LOL, you’re the first person I know who’s named her KA, but it is very fitting. I’m glad you liked this challenge and especially that you’re enjoying the taste of it. I hope, if you’ve been to Paris at Christmas or will be in Paris at Christmas one year, that you’ll try one of these by our pastry masters. Your log looks great. Bonne Année!

  7. Beautiful! I love the decorations…very nice! 🙂

  8. Great job on you log. I bet you got rave reviews for the New Year. BTW I love Petunia. Pink is my favorite color!!

  9. beautiful yule log!

  10. That is so funny! My mixer is named Petunia too! YAY! Twins! (Except mine is purple)

  11. Wow, it turned out so well. Well done!


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