Although, I am always hyper stressed when I get to discover our monthly challenge, I nonetheless obstinately force myself to not get influenced by the sheer task that awaits me. And, I can tell you, that I need to gather a hell of a lot of courage in order to start baking without listening to those terrible demons of doubt whispering discouraging messages in my ear and telling me to quit because I don't have the capacity to go through it all without ending up feeling desperate and in tears!
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. And let me tell you that this recipe is particularly daring...
So, it is with not much confidence, but with a lot of willpower that I started to organize myself and to concentrate on the work to be done. After making all six different elements, I finally assembled my log with an immense feeling of relief and pride.
At the end of the day, I was kippered! Not only had I to go through the process of making the log, but I also had to wash dozens and dozens of dishes as well as ustensils as well as to put away things, so that my kitchen would not look like a crime scene anymore... I can tell you that, this evening, I slept like a little baby!
I won't say that this "French Yule Log" is really difficult to make as all elements demand no special skills, but it sure requires a considerable amount of organization and time, extreme patience and the adequate ustensils, as putting this treat together is quite a finicky and tricky task.
Anyway, once I had a good night's sleep, I was ready to enjoy the fruit of my labor. And, boy oh boy, it was worth every hour spent sweating, stressing and cursing in the kitchen as this marvelously luscious log is truly heavenly. A frozen chocolate delight that'll get you hooked!
I really want to thank Hilda from "Saffron And Blueberry" (France) and Marion at "Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux" (France) - trop bien ce challenge! - for having chosen that fantastic recipe!
See the past challenges here.
~ French Yule Log ~
Recipe by Flore from "Florilege Gourmand" (France).
ELEMENT #1 - DAQUOISE BISCUIT (ALMOND CAKE)
10 minutes + 15 minutes for baking
2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper
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.
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) or 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.
***************ELEMENT #2 - DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula.
You will see that a Pate a Bombe is mentioned in this recipe. A Pate a Bombe is a term used for egg yolks beaten with a sugar syrup, then aerated. It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes. It makes mousses and buttercreams more stable, particularly if they are to be frozen, so that they do not melt as quickly or collapse under the weight of heavier items such as the crème brulee insert.
2.5 Sheets gelatin or 5g / 1 + 1/4 Tsp powdered gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) Granulated sugar
1 1/2 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 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.
***************ELEMENT #3 - DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE INSERT
Pan, whisk. If you have plunging mixer (a vertical hand mixer used to make soups and other liquids), it comes in handy.
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.
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
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).
Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp.
3.5 oz (100g) Milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) Unsalted butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) Praline (see recipe here)
2.1oz (60g) 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
15 minutes + 1h infusing + 1h baking.
Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper.
The vanilla crème brulée can be flavored differently by simply replacing the vanilla with something else e.g. cardamom, lavender, etc...
1/2 Cup (115g) Heavy cream (35% fat content)
1/2 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 (You can bake it without a water bath since it is going to go inside the log - the aesthetics of it won't matter as much since it will be covered with other things - nonetheles it would be recommendable to use a water bath for the following reasons: you will get a much nicer mouth feel when it is done, you will be able to control its baking point and desired consistency much better - it bakes for such a long time that I fear it will get overdone without a water bath. Since it is baked in a pan and it is sometimes difficult to find another large pan to set it in for a water bath, even a small amount of water in your water bath will help the heat be distributed evenly in the baking process. Even as little as 1 inch will help).
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
25 minutes (10 minutes if you don’t count softening the gelatin).
Small bowl, small saucepan.
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.
I doubled the quantity.
4g / 1/2 Tbsp Powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
1/4 Cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) Granulated sugar
1/4 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.
*****************ASSEMBLING THE LOG
When doing the assembly upside down with two pieces of Dacquoise, the order is:
3) Creme Brulee Insert
5) Praline/Crisp Insert
7) Ganache Insert
A) 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.
B) Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
C) 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.
D) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert. E) 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.
F) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
G) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
H) 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.
I) Close with the last strip of Dacquoise.
J) Freeze until the next day.
The next day:
1. Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
2. Cover the cake with the icing. Let set.
3. 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...).
4. Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than 1/2 hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.
Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!
C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.