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 was a little apprehensive at first but then again, this is the point of being a daring baker. We take on challenges like these to learn. I’m glad many other members are experts and are very generous in sharing their experiences. And the hostesses were awesome in answering questions! I have never baked a yule log before let alone a French one!
The challenge consists of 6 elements which we must make to create the log:
1) Dacquoise Biscuit
4) Praline Feuillete
5) Creme Brulee
These elements are to be assembled with a dacquoise biscuit at the bottom then the inserts inter-layered with mousse. The formed log is then finished with icing. I did a small round cake first since I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Here’s what I did:
- Almond Dacquoise Biscuit
- Purple Yam Mousse
- Dark Chocolate Orange Ganache
- Praline Feuillete
- Espresso Creme Brulee
- Dark Chocolate Icing
And here’s the rest of the recipe for the elements:
FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS RECIPE by Flore of Florilège Gourmand
Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)
This is my favorite element of the challenge. I just wished I had better piping skills.
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbs almond meal
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tbs all-purpose flour
- 3 medium egg whites
- 4 tbs granulated sugar
- 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 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.
- Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.
Element #2 Mousse
For the second element, we were given many variations of the mousse from dark chocolate, vanilla and even mango mousse. I chose to make a Purple Yam Mousse or Ube Mousse. Purple yam is a very popular (and favorite) tuber in the Philippines. I had a package of purple yam powder (4.06 oz) and used it to make the purple yam puree and followed the mango mousse recipe. I posted the recipe for the purple yam mousse separately here. I also had some leftover which I assembled into another “cake sandwich” with the almond dacquoise biscuit.
Element #3 Ganache
For the ganache, I used the dark-chocolate one with peppermint and orange flavors infused. Here is the recipe for the Dark Chocolate Ganache.
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 5 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 3Tbsp + 1/2tsp unsalted 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. (I then added 1 tsp peppermint oil and 2 tsp pure orange flavor at this point.) 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 fast. The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.
Element #4 Praline Feuillete
This is my other favorite element. According to our hosts, feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. I had the option of making my own gavottes or using rice krispies. Well…I don’t have kids at home and wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of the rice krispies so I decided to make the gavottes instead. I also made my own praline paste.
- 3.5 oz milk chocolate
- 1 2/3 tbs butter
- 2 tbs 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.
Gavottes (Lace Crepes)
To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes – recipe by Ferich Mounia):
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2/3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup – 2tsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs beaten egg
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vegetable oil
- Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
- Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
- Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.
Element #5 Crème Brulée
For my creme brulee, I made two different flavors based on the vanilla creme brulee recipe below. One is espresso, dissolving 1 tsp of espresso instant granules into the whole milk. The other one is a green tea flavor, using 1 tsp matcha green tea.
Vanilla Creme Brulée
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- 4 medium-sized egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp 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) 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.
Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing
This was the last element that I made and I decided to stick with dark chocolate icing. I’ve had purple yam cake at the Circle’s Restaurant at the Shangri-la Hotel in Manila topped with chocolate icing so I know the flavors go very well together.
- ½ tbs powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 5 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 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.
Thank you Hilda and Marion for such a challenging recipe!