I admit that the reason I joined the Daring Bakers was to be challenged month after month with baked goods that I would never dream of tackling on my own. Some months I have felt anxious when seeing the posted recipe wondering how I will ever complete it successfully. Other months, I am confident that with one try, I will achieve success. This month was yet another clear reason I joined Daring Bakers.
As I looked upon the French Yule Log recipe, I felt fear. Six components? Flavor options? A frozen dessert? I was intimidated. Excited but intimidated! Last December, we made a Yule Log and decorated it as a tree trunk. It was composed of a jelly roll and buttercream frosting. In France both the jelly roll and the frozen cream versions are available.
My choices for flavors were based on the fact that I wanted to use passionfruit as a primary flavor since I love how it’s tartness compliments chocolate so nicely. I used passionfruit for the mousse portion and flavored everything else with chocolate. Aesthetically, I liked the contrast of the light mousse and dark layers in between. Challenges are an opportunity to learn new techniques and I certainly was challenged by some new techniques in making the French Yule Log. Creating my own mold for the crème brulee was fun since it made me realize that I have more freedom than I ever realized when it comes to cream desserts. Making the crisp was something new for me to do. It was not difficult, but made me wonder if I could decorate desserts with crisps such as this one. The dacquoise seemed easy enough to make and I would like to try some other Peruvian layer desserts which use the dacquoise as the base. The mousse for me seemed to be the most involved step, as in it really took the most time. I do not own a candy thermometer, but I have heated sugar enough times to know what to look for and how to test it. The caramel base of the ganache gave me just a bit of trouble simply because I was trying to do too many things and the sugar wanted my full attention. It tasted delicious and I would be tempted to make it again as a salted caramel ganache. The concept of the icing was a good one; I just think my execution needs practice. To me, the icing seemed to coat a spoon immediately, yet I did not want the hot icing to melt the log and I wanted the icing to be thick enough to cover the holes created by air bubbles. By the time I got to the end, the icing seemed to clump a bit and I was slightly discouraged by the final coat. I wonder if I were to make it again if I would make two coats of icing so that the second may be a bit smoother?
As for the provided recipe, I was thrilled we were given so many options and notes to help guide us along the way. The part I found frustrating was the ambiguity of amounts the individual recipes would make. I understood that a complete recipe would require a 4 cup mold and since my silicone bread mold is just that, I chose to make a full recipe (even though I didn’t know who would eat it!). Once I got started on the individual recipes, it was obvious that I would not be using all I had made of each component and felt as though I was wasting ingredients. Now that I have made it, I would be able to more easily conceptualize the form and amounts needed if I were to make it again. I included timing notes as well as some notes regarding the amounts actually used for a four cup mold but left the recipes in the entirety.
FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS RECIPE
Adapted from Flore of Florilège Gourmand
- 2/3 cup of whole milk
- 2/3 cup of heavy cream (35% fat content)
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 medium-sized egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- Heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan to just boiling. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to thoroughly dissolve.
- In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Temper the eggs with the milk mixture, and then add the eggs back to the saucepan, mixing well.
- Pour the chocolate cream into the mold (I created my own foil form but the problem was that it floated in the water bath.) and the mold into a water bath and bake at 250F (which is as low as my oven goes) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
- Let cool and put in the freezer overnight to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.
I used just more than half for the Yule log and baked the rest in small Pyrex dishes. I would definitely make this recipe again; it was delicious on its own!!
- 100 grams of dark chocolate
- 25 grams of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of manjar blanco (Yes, I know I still owe you the recipe for this!)
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened corn flakes, coarsely crushed
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan.
- Add the manjar blanco and the corn flakes. 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.
I used one third for the Yule log and the rest is still in the fridge.
- 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of almond meal
- 3 medium egg whites
- 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1. Sift together the cocoa powder, powdered sugar and flour. Sprinkle in almond meal; stir to combine.
- Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the almond meal mixture into the egg whites.
- Grease (mmm...just saw this!) a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it. Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
- Bake at 350F for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
- Let cool and cut to the desired shape.
I used one third for the Yule log although I felt that the layer should have been thicken. The added cocoa powder thickened the mixture and made it difficult to spread and impossible to even out. Baking time was difficult since instructions include baking until browned. Ha!
- 2 medium-sized egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1/3 cup of whipping cream
- 7 ounces of passionfruit puree
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin
- 3 egg whites
- Beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch about five minutes or until thick, white and fluffy.
- Heat the cream in a medium saucepan and once hot, pour a small amount over the egg yolks while whisking vigorously. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the rest of the cream in the saucepan. Add the passionfruit puree and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens considerably, at least 3-5 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm temperature.
- Make an Italian Meringue: Cook the sugar and water on medium heat until temperature reaches 244F (soft ball stage).
- Beat the egg whites until foamy. Pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin stream while continuing to beat vigorously. Beat for 5 minutes or until cool to the touch. The meringue should be thick and glossy.
- Soften the gelatin in 1 tablespoon of cold water and melt in the microwave 15 seconds. Put the melted gelatin in a mixing bowl and, while whisking vigorously, pour the lukewarm passionfruit cream over the gelatin. Carefully blend the Italian meringue into the passionfruit mixture.
I used all of this for the Yule log and it was definitely the most involved step. Turns out, I really don't like the sponge texture.
DAY TWO AM
ASSEMBLY PART ONE
1. Mousse – Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold. Tap mold gently on countertop to get rid of air bubbles. (Unfortunately I did not see this until afterwards!)
2. Crème Brulee Insert – Take the Crème 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.
3. Mousse – Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Crème Brulee Insert. Tap mold gently on countertop to get rid of air bubbles.
4. Crisp Insert – 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.
5. Mousse – Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Crisp Insert. Tap mold gently on countertop to get rid of air bubbles.
6. Freeze for about 8 hours (all day) to set.
ASSEMBLY PART TWO
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup of heavy cream
- 135g of dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 50g of salted butter softened
- 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.
- While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling (can add a spice to infuse here). Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
- Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
- Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast. The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.
I made half the recipe for the Yule log and it was a perfect amount.
7. Ganache – Pipe the Ganache onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out.
8. Dacquoise – Place the Dacquoise on top and press down gently to seal.
9. Freeze until the next day.
- 1/2 tablespoon of powdered gelatin
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream (35 % fat content)
- 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- Soften the gelatin in 1 tablespoon of cold water for 15 minutes.
- Add cream, sugar, water & cocoa powder to a small saucepan. Heat to boiling and cook an additional 3 minutes. Heat gelatin in the microwave for 15 seconds and add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
- Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gel), use immediately.
I made the entire recipe for the Yule log and felt it was just a bit short.
ASSEMBLY PART THREE
10. Unmold the log and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan. Cover the cake with the icing and allow it to set. Return to the freezer. Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than 30 minutes before serving.
French Yule Log is being served up for the December Daring Bakers Challenge. This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.