Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Christmas with a Daring Baker's French Yule Log

It's Christmas time and to usher in the spirit of yuletide, this month's Daring Baker's challenge is a French Yule Log.

You'll probably thinking huh .. yule log! Isn't it something that most families would have for Christmas, so where's the challenge! Well, that's where you are wrong! This log being called a "French Yule Log" must come from France. This is correct! In France you can buy two kinds of Yule log, either the Genoise and Buttercream type, or what is more commonly purchased, a frozen Yule Log which is very reminiscent of an ice cream cake, only often it’s not made of ice cream but rather frozen mousse of some sort. In French this is called an entremets which is sometimes loosely translated in English simply as a cream dessert. This recipe comes from Flore of Florilège Gourmand (by the way, the website is totally in French). Our darling hostesses for this month's challenge, which also happens to the last challenge to close off 2008 calendar, are Hilda of Saffron and Blueberry and Marion of Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.

This challenge is really going to challenge us all - would you believe that it comes in 6 parts. The instructions itself when posted up was more than 15 pages long! You can say it freaked me out! I read, and re-read and re-read the recipe over the next 2 days before it finally sank in. Talk about a challenge, this certainly takes the cake - it was that daunting! However I did realize that a number of variations (which added to the somewhat lengthy instructions) had been provided by Hilda and Marion so as not to make the majority of us swim in quicksand.

I for one have never made any one of the 6 elements required for this log before, let alone eaten a French Yule Log is (unless you can count an ice-cream cake as a close semblance). The more well known type of yule logs that we get here are the genoise or swiss roll types.

The recipe below is based on the flavours I had chosen for this challenge. I also did not have a half pipe mould and thus made mine using two 4" cake pans. I've also posted the elements based on the order I had tackled the 6 elements (you can opt to make the elements over a 2-day period instead of doing everything in a day.) I made all first five elements over the Sunday and did the final icing on Monday.



FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS
(Recipe by Flore of Florilège Gourmand)
(makes one 8" cake pan dessert or a 9" x 4" loaf pan dessert)

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)
Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Ingredients:

80g almond meal (you can use hazelnut meal as substitute)
50g icing sugar
2 Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3 medium egg whites (about 100g)
4 Tbsp (50g) granulated sugar

Method:

1) Finely mix the almond meal and the caster 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.

Element #2 Chocolate Creme Brulée Insert
Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 1 2/3 Tbsp (140g) whole milk
2/3 cup + 1tsp (140g) heavy or thickened cream
1/3 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
3 Tbsp (40g) granulated sugar

Method:

1) Heat the milk and cream to just boiling. Add the cocoa powder.

2) Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).

3) Pour the cocoa 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.

5) Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Element #3 Coconut Crisp
Preparation time: 10 mn

Ingredients:

3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
1 oz (1/3 cup/25g) dessicated coconut
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter
2.1 oz (60g) rice krispies (you can use cornflakes instead)

Method:

1) Spread the coconut on a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes at 375°F (190°C) to toast (a different temperature might work better for you with your own oven).

2) Melt the white chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until smooth and add the toasted coconut.

3) Add the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.


Element #4 Mango Mousse
Preparation time: 20mn

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized egg yolks
2 Tbsp (17g) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80g) whipping cream
7 oz (200g) mango puree
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
36g water
5g (2 1/4 tsp) powdered gelatin
100g (about 3 medium eggs) egg whites

Method:

1) Beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch until thick, white and fluffy.

2) Heat the cream in a medium saucepan and once hot, pour a small amount over the egg yolks while whisking vigorously.

3) Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the rest of the cream in the saucepan, add the mango puree and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens considerably, at least 3-5 mn. Let cool to lukewarm temperature.

4) Make an Italian Meringue: Cook the sugar and water on medium heat until temperature reaches 244°F (118°C) when measured with a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test the temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water. If it forms a soft ball, you’ve reached the proper temperature.

5) Beat the egg whites until foamy. Pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin stream while continuing to whisk vigorously (preferably with a mixer for sufficient speed). Whisk/beat until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The meringue should be thick and glossy.

6) Soften the gelatin in cold water and let sit for about 3 minutes. Then zap the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 1 or 2 seconds.

7) Put the melted gelatin in a mixing bowl and, while whisking vigorously, pour the lukewarm mango cream over the gelatin.

8)Carefully blend the Italian meringue into the mango mixture. Cool the mousse and put it into the fridge.

Element #5 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert
Preparation time: 10mn

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:

4 Tbsp (50g) granulated sugar
2/3 cups less 1 Tbsp (135g) heavy or thickened cream
135g dark chocolate, finely chopped
45g unsalted butter softened

Method:

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 #6 Dark Chocolate Icing
Preparation time: 25 minutes

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:

1/2 Tbsp (4g) powdered gelatin
1/4 cup (60g) heavy or thickened cream
5 Tbsp (60g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:

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 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 the 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.

Your assemble of the log will depend on the mould you are using. As I was using a cake pan, my assemble would be in the below order:

1) Cut the Dacquoise into a shape fitting your mold and set it in there. If you are using an actual Yule mold which is in the shape of a half-pipe, you want the Dacquoise to cover the entire half-pipe portion of the mold.

2)Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.

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 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 Crisp 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 eidge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.

9) Close with the last strip of Dacquoise (you can omit the dacquoise on the top if you wish).

10) Freeze until the next day.

If you are doing the assembly UPSIDE DOWN (eg using a loaf pan or a half pipe tube, your assembly would be in the below order:

1) Mousse
2) Creme Brulee Insert
3) Mousse
4) Praline/Crisp Insert
5) Mousse
6) Ganache Insert
7) Dacquoise
8) Freeze the assembled log over night before applying the icing.

THE NEXT DAY...

1) Unmold the cake (or log) and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan. Cover the cake with the icing. Let set. Then return to the freezer for a couple of hours.

2) 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...

3) Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.






47 comments:

Mary said...

Your mini cakes are just adorable!

Chris said...

Yes, I too love the smaller version. Well done!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, well done! Your logs are really pretty! I love the decorations!

Cheers,

Rosa

The Irreverent Cook said...

Love the decorations! Utterly christmas-y, and so adorable =D

Passionate About Baking said...

I love these Jo...they are absolutely precious. Well done indeed. Have a wonderful new year my friend!! Cheers Deeba

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

Both the lil cuties are gorgeous, Jo!

I thought about making smaller versions but thought I would go crazy if I'll have to assemble more than one! ;-)

Wishing you a great New Year!!

Hilda said...

Both versions are delightful! and I'm so glad that you tried all this new stuff, that being a big part of what Marion and I were trying to do.
Hope you will be using some of the components in other desserts again. Happy New Year!

Elra said...

Wow this look very festive, good job!
Cheers,
Elra

Anna at Mediocre Chocolate said...

The mini-version is a perfect idea--it's so rich you only need a taste! Beautiful!

Esi said...

Your mini logs are a good idea! They look so good and are decorated beautifully.

Sarah said...

how cute are your cakes! i love the snowman on top. i should have decorated mine like that to hide the bad icing job it did! :)

BitterSweet said...

Oh, your cakes are just lovely! So elegant and tastefully decorated. :)

Sara said...

This looks delicious and so cute! Your mini cakes are really adorable. :) Yum!

Claire said...

I love your mini cakes...they are just fantastic! And the almonds around the edges is great.

rainbowbrown said...

My, my. That is just too pretty. Well done.

Lori said...

I remember seeing your log on the site. You did a great job! It is so cute!

Gfron1 said...

Very cute! I love how you handled this cake.

Linda said...

I love your round versions! And you went all out, and added beautiful decorations! You must be so proud of yourself. Great job!

Laurie said...

They are so cute! Really beautiful.

Ethan said...

They look so festive, great job!

Mrs Ergül said...

What a hardworking daring baker!

Dharm said...

Nice to see a fellow Malaysian on DBs! Well done on your challenge and I hope you had a great Xmas season!

Rysheda said...

Your mini cakes are absolutely precious and the look so yummy. I liked the way you piped the almond cake layer. Further, the contrast of color between the chocolate and the mango mousse is devine. Great challenge and happy new year!

Barbara Bakes said...

So beautifully decorated and well photographed. Well done!

Esther said...

love your little round versions very sweet.

Olga said...

ooh, the snowman one is my favorite: so adorable!!!

And I chose the mango mousse (sp?) too!

Renee said...

They both look wonderful! Great job!

silverrock said...

Everything always looks adorable when it's miniaturized! way to go on this month's challenge, the cakes look spectacular! Keep up the great work!

NOT SO VANILLA said...

How sweet looking is your buche!!! I love the snowman.
<3 Not So Vanilla

chef_d said...

the mini cakes are so cute!

pinkstripes said...

I love your yule cakes and how you decorated them. Great job!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Wow, wonderful flavours! And cute presentations!

Amy said...

Fantastic job - the little cakes look so good! I might need to try to make a few myself...

Amy

Ally said...

I just adore the idea of little cakes, they are beautiful!

Jowers Inc. said...

Both of your cakes are too cute! So very festive! Bravo!

Happy Holidays!

Maggie said...

Both little cakes look great! I really love the color of the mango mousse.

Big Boys Oven said...

this is a very unique style of it's class, just love it! so petite and cute!

madcap said...

I love the little cakes - so pretty and elegant!

Laura Rebecca said...

Your cakes are so sweet looking. What a lovely interpretation on this challenge -- nicely done!!

linda said...

Cute mini entremets, they look very pretty!

breadchick said...

Mini logs are so cute and lovely.

Namratha said...

The decorations are beautiful, very well done! :)

Eat4Fun said...

Great job on your French Yule Log! Very festive and cutely decorated mini-cake/logs. :-)

Celeste said...

I love your decorations...so cute and pretty!! GREAT job! :)

Audax said...

Love how you did mini cakes the cut log looks fab. Happy NY to you and your family and friends.

Sugar Chef said...

Your mini cakes are so cute and I love the snowmen and santa's in your pictures. Nice post.

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