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 oh boy was it a challenge!
When I first saw what they were asking us to bake, I thougt I had picked the wrong month to join the DB group... this thing looked so complicated that I almost skipped this month. But hey, a challenge isn't a challenge if it's not a challenge right? Makes sense no?
Thus I proceeded in baking this log, only thing is that I don't have a loaf pan or a log mold and I totally forgot to get one while buying the ingredients I was missing and then I was just too lazy to go back and get it. So I turned it into a French Yule Bomb. And oh was it good! Rich and chocolatey and creamy!
Only thing is it is quite time consuming (took me a whole day) and I don't know if I would ever do it again because of that reason. But I'm glad I participated at the end because, not only was it a hit on Christmas Eve, but it also made me discover something new and I think that's the main purpose of the DB challenges!
PS: for the icing, make sure you sift the cocoa powder or you'll end up with lumps in it... like mine :(
French Yule Log
Chocolate Dacquoise Biscuit
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
3 tablespoons of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
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).
Sift the flour and cocoa into the mix.
Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
Grease 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 (circle, long strip etc...) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
Let cool and cut to the desired shape.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
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)
Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.) Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
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.
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.
Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.
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.
Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
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
*** Prepare the ganache only when you are ready to assemble the log ***
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).
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.
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 (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.
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
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
Add the praline and 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.
Vanilla Creme Brulee
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
Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
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) in a water bath for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.
Dark Chocolate Icing
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) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
*** Prepare only when you are ready to ice th log ***
Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
Add gelatin 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 gelify), use immediately.
How to assemble
1) Line your mold or pan with plastic film.
2) 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.
3) Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
4) 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.
5) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
6) 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.
7) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
8) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
9) 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.
10) Close with the last strip of Dacquoise and freeze until the next day.
11) The day after, unmold the log and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan and cover it with the icing. Let set, decorate and return to the freezer.
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than 1/2 hour before serving it as it may start to melt.