Friday, December 26

A Daring Bakers French Yule Log

Well those Daring Baker gals really gave us a challenge this month. A divine delicious French Yule Log.

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.

I actually had less trouble with this than I did with the caramel last month lol!! I would have liked my ganache a little bit firmer, but other than that, I'm fairly happy with how it all turned out.

My log consisted of from the top. Daquoise, strawberry mousse, vanilla creme brulee, strawberry mousse, Praline (Crisp) Insert, stawberry mousse, Praline (Crisp) Insert - it should have had more mousse here, but I ran out, so it just had ganache , then dacquoise and then covered with sublime milk chocolate icing - two coats.

Recipes are as below - be warned it's a lot of recipes, but it really didn't take that much time to put together.

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond 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

Note: 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. I used it for 2 layers top and bottom

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

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.

Mango Mousse - was the original recipe - I made Strawberry
2 medium-sized egg yolks
2 Tbsp (17g) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80g) whipping cream
7 oz (200g) mango puree - I substituted 200g of fresh pureed strawberry.
3.5 oz (1/2 cup / 100g) granulated sugar
1.3 oz (36g) water
2.5 gelatin leaves or 5g / 2+1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium-sized egg whites

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.
4a. 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.
5. Soften the gelatin in cold water and melt in a small saucepan with 1 tsp of water OR melt in the microwave for 1 second (do not boil).
6. Put the melted gelatin in a mixing bowl and, while whisking vigorously, pour the lukewarm mango cream over the gelatin.
7. Carefully blend the Italian meringue into the mango mixture.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert - I made Milk Chocolate

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.

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.

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 - I substituted milk chocolate.
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

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them. Special note: If you use one of the substitutes for the gavottes, you should halve the quantity stated, as in use 1oz of any of these cereals instead of 2.1oz.
If you want to make your own praline, please refer back to the Daring Baker Challenge Recipe from July 2008.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
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

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.

I didn't make the gavottes from scratch - lack of time - so I used rice flakes from the bulk food store. I did make my own praline with toffee and pecans - and in the process destroyed my 20 year food processer - is it bad not to be sad about that lol!!

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper

Note: 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)
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.
Tartelette says: 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)....BUT I would recommend 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
Now...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 - I made Milk Chocolate Icing - and I made a double batch, so the log got a really good double coat, I had some leftoever, so next time, I'll just match batch and a half - it was the best chocolate icing though, going to make it for over cupcakes I think.

Milk Chocolate Icing
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.

How To Assemble your French Yule 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.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1) Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.

You have two choices for Step 2, you can either have Dacquoise on the top and bottom of your log as in version A or you can have Dacquoise simply on the bottom of your log as in version B:

2A) 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.
3A) Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
4A) 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.
5A) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
6A) 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.
7A) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
8A) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
9A) 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.
10A) Close with the last strip of Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

If you are doing the assembly UPSIDE DOWN with TWO pieces of Dacquoise the order is:
1) Dacquoise
2) Mousse
3) Creme Brulee Insert
4) Mousse
5) Praline/Crisp Insert
6) Mousse
7) Ganache Insert
8) Dacquoise

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.

Now some tips - Do make sure you line a reasonably straight sided loaf tin, if that's what you are using. I took the log from the freezer and into the fridge 1/2 before serving, but it could have done with a little more, it was still quite frozen to eat it. I guess this will depend on your freezer.
I followed the tips from Micha and did my log in this order.

My game plan:
1. Creme Brulee (done the night before and then frozen)
2. Praline Paste (see recipe below)
2. Praline Feuillette
3. Mousse
4. Dacoise Biscut (start once the mousse is in the fridge)
5. Start assembly, then freeze for a couple of hours
6. Ganache Insert - I then froze for 2 days
7. Icing

Overall I was very pleased with everything. It's not whizz bang decorated, as it travelled an hour and a half up to Shane's parents, and so I just took the bare necessities to finish it off. I'm glad I didn't go with the all chocolate variety - I found the strawberry mousse, really helped even things out - especially since I'm not a fan of dark chocolate anyways.


  1. I love your combination of strawberry with the chocolate. Yum!

  2. This looks absolutely amazing! Wow, I'd really love to watch you make something like this :)

  3. Wonderful job and I'm so glad you liked it! Yeah we definitely wanted to put a little challenge in the challenge. Have a Happy New Year!

  4. Well, you decorated it more than I did! So Christmas-y...I love it. Great job! I bet the strawberry was delicious.

  5. Great job on your challenge and choc/strawberry combi sounds delicious. Have a great new year.

  6. Strawberry mousse looks divine - great job!

  7. Lovely flavor combos! It turned out beautiful, well done!

  8. They are nicely layered aren't they?

  9. Your log looks lovely! Well done!

  10. Bravo! Your log looks wonderful. Great job.

  11. Mmmm... strawberry and chocolate! The best of both worlds! Way to go on this month's challenge, your yule-log looks fantastic! Love the beautiful layers :) Keep up the awesome bakes

  12. Yum, chocolate and strawberry, your buche looks wonderful!

  13. Your layers look perfect and strawberry mousse sounds delicious. YUM!

  14. I really like the red sugar! Wish I had thought to use red as an accent, beautiful!

    Happy Holidays!

  15. Gorgeous decoration!! and I love the strawberry and vanilla combo...sounds delicious!!

  16. Beautiful! I love the icing and chosen flavors!



  17. Great job and flavor combo. Congratulations for completing such a daring challenge.

  18. Yum! Strawberry sounds delish! Nice job!

  19. Very, very pretty log! Well done on this month's challenge.

  20. Very pretty and neatly done! :)

  21. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry! That's yummy! And you have perfect layers!

  22. I think this was easier than I thought too. I didn't have too much trouble. IT was just tiresome to make since I prefer more traditional baking during the holidays. Good job. Your buche was lovely.

  23. The strawberry mousse was a great idea to break up the monotony of the chocolate flavors! Looks splendid... :-)

  24. That looks SOOO GOOD!!! YUM! The strawberry and chocolate combo sounds heavenly!!! Your decorating is fantastic! Great job!

  25. Loved the strawberry idea. The log looks fabulous an I am sure it tasted great!!