Daring Bakers December Challenge- The French Yule Log


P1030672_webAghhhhhh…….This has been a crazy month and I’m leaving for South East Asia Tomorrow! And I won’t be back until February! So between baking, and Christmas, and visiting family, and getting ready to travel I have been swamped! But I still managed to accomplish this month’s Daring Bakers! Yeah! Because this recipe already looked so complicated I decided to stick with the recipe and not diverge too much. I have posted the recipe below with my notes. It was super fun to make and everyone LOVED it!

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.


Day 1

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).
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.
Coconut Crisp Insert
3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate               
1 oz (1/3 cup/25g) shredded coconut
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) unsalted butter       
2.1 oz (60g) lace crepes or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K
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.

My Thoughts: I decided to make the lace crepes for this recipe. It was easy enough but I had to bake it for almost 15 minutes before I got it to harden. As the edges hardened I would remove them from the pan and return the rest to the oven to allow it to continue to harden. I also did not use the praline paste. I couldn’t find any pralines and I didn’t want to make them on my own as I have never made pralines before so I opted for the option with coconut only I used milk chocolate instead of white chocolate. It turned out great, really really tasty.

Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert
Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking
Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper
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.
5.    Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly

My Thoughts: This was my first time ever making crème Brulée. And honestly I’m not a huge fan of crème Brulée so I don’t eat it very often, or ever! So I wasn’t exactly sure what it should look like. I used a water bath to cook the crème Brulée and it took way longer than an hour. After two hours I increased the temp to 300 F and cooked it another thirty minutes. It still looked slushy and since I wasn’t completely sure what to expect I decided it was cooked enough and removed it from the oven, let it cool, then froze it. It turned out tasty in my opinion!

Day 2

Dacquoise Biscuit (Hazelnut 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
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) Hazelnut 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 Hazelnut meal and the confectioner's sugar.                                                                                             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.

My Thoughts: This was really easy to make. No problems at all! Although it also took way longer to cook than the designated time. Maybe my oven is off?

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Preparation time:  20mn
Equipment: stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula
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 color (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.

My Thoughts: Ok so I have never made a pate a bombe and I don’t have a candy thermometer. I tried the knife trick but really wasn’t so sure if I was doing it right so this was definitely the hardest part for me. I kinda guessed when the syrup was hot enough and poured it into my whipped egg yolks. I whipped that sucker forever and I couldn’t get it to be thick and foamy! Thick yes! But not foamy. Eventually I gave up and went ahead and added the rest of the ingredients. It turned out fine I think. The mouse was thick and creamy and had a very smooth texture.

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.
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.

My thoughts: No problems here, everything went smoothly. I made this last and piped it into the mold when it was still fairly hot and malleable. To assemble my Yule log I used a rectangle pan with rounded edges. I lined the pan with parchment paper the assembled it with the layers below. I cut each layer to fit inside the pan.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log
1)  Mousse
2)  Crème Brulée Insert
3)  Mousse
4)  Praline/Crisp Insert
5)  Mousse
6)  Ganache Insert
7)  Dacquoise

Day 3

Milk Chocolate Icing
Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)
Equipment:  Small bowl, small saucepan
1.5 gelatin sheets or 3g / 1/2Tbsp powdered gelatin               
4.2 oz (120g) milk chocolate           
2 Tbsp (30g) butter               
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
1 2/3 Tbsp (30g) glucose or thick corn syrup
1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.    Coarsely chop the chocolate and butter together.
3.    Bring the cream and glucose syrup to a boil.
4.    Add the gelatin.
5.    Pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth.
6.    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.

My Thoughts: Although It takes a lot of patience to let the icing cool, it was pretty straight forward and easy.
I doubled the recipe because I wanted my icing to be nice and thick!!! Below is a cross section of my Yule log with all the layers labeled. Isn’t it PRETTY!!!!!!


To put the finishing touches:

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.

I basically served mine straight out of the freezer, it was a bit tough to cut but so yummy. The crème Brulée was still frozen which I actually liked a lot. It was my favorite part!

Well that is all folks! I am off to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia for the month of January. Will write if I can but otherwise will have lots of stories when I get back!



Sara said...

This is really pretty! I love how you did the icing. :) Yum!

Anonymous said...

Looks incredible! Happy New Year!

Bex said...

Looks great! Fantastic layers!

Kevin said...

Nice looking yule log! Have a great trip! Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Your yule log looks perfect! Have fun traveling...

Happy New Year!

Claire said...

Great job! I love the inserted extras in red that you did. Wonderful layers.

SusanQ said...

I've only tried Buche de Noel once and I ended up calling it Buche de H@!! LOL. It's a lot of work and you did a wonderful job.

Happy New Year, Katie, and have a wonderful time on your trip. You've been kind enough to comment on my new little blog so I hope you have a chance to visit today's post...I've 'tagged' you ;)

Maggie said...

I love the look of the thick layer of icing! Enjoy your trip!

Annarasa said...

Really beautiful!!


Francijn Brouwer said...

Happy new year to you and congratulations on completing your challenge! I like the effect of your chocolate topping!

Micha .:. Scraping the Skillet said...

Your layers look perfect! Way to rock it even when you were super busy!