This post is also available in: French
Yeah I know. Very Very Original. A Yule Log for Christmas.
After that he ate my birthday cake early this month my oncle asked me if I would like to bake the Yule Log this year. Usually in my family, it’s my oncle that buy the Yule Logs. They mostly are limited edition coming from Lenôtre or lately from Pierre Hermé. The bar was set Very Very High. So I first said no. And then, my oncle was very busy, moving his office to his own place, and didn’t got time to book the Log, so I thought : « Why not ? Of course it won’t be as good as Lenôtre or Pierre Hermé’s but I can still come up with something good. Right ? »
So here I was once again in the Quest for « The Recipe ». Of course I’d never baked a Yule log in my life. So, yes I could have done « Simple ». But as you might have noticed I can’t make simple, I like making my life complicated. Plus I must confess that I’ve never been a big fan of French Yule Logs and even more of dacquoises ; so I had to find a recipe that would involve less dacquoise as possible.
While surfing the web ,I finally came accross an old Daring Bakers Challenge . Well , I never baked one single element of that log (even the mousse) but I was ready to take up the Challenge. Then I found that Clumbsy Cookie Peanut Butter version and I had a revelation, I had to make it a Chocolate Praliné Yule Log. Plus my younger brother is a Nutella Addict and that would really pleased him.
No sooner said than done ! If only … Instead I had two main problems with that Log : the mousse and the unmolding part. First the mousse because I first decided to « innovate » and do half pralinoise / half chocolate. A Disaster. Innovation is not always rewarded in pastry, this was another proof. After a second try that failed as well (but without Pralinoise this time), I changed a bit the recipe ( melt separatly the chocolate and gelatin plus cream) and it worked !
Then the unmolding part.. After the dark chocolate icing was done , I took out my log from the freezer and then .. Impossible to unmold it. I tried everything : Poured hot water on it, tapped it, hit it, shook it .. nothing seemed to work .. The bad quality cling film was tearing when I tried to pull it. And that’s when I was close to nervous breakdown ( I know again and just for a yule log) , when I was ready to throw away the log plus the mold, that my two guardian angels came to my rescue : My mom and my Bf. With loads of patience and a hair dryer, they Did it.
Of course the icing wasn’t that much fluid anymore. I could have warmed it up in a double boiler, but to be honest I wasn’t really enthusiastic about a new double boiler session, but really not . At all. So I decided to use it like a classic ganache frosting and to smooth it with a hot spatula. After that the modeling chocolate decorations were set, I sprayed it with golden spray and it was ready to go back to the freezer for a few hours.
Of course after a Christmas Eve diner already hearty , it wasn’t much of a « light » dessert., but i t was very good. I had a hard time cutting it even though I took it out of the fridge and let it at room température one hour prior to eat it.
I think it was mainly because my crisp was too thick.. But despite the fact that we’ve been eating it for 3 days now ( A Yule Log for 14 when you’re 7 … Always the same problem …) it’s still real good. I even think that she got much better everyday . I even like the dacquoise !
But enough about me. I hope that you all had a really great Christmas ! And now The Recipe !
Dark Chocolate and Praline French Yule Log . ( Makes 14 to 16 )
This dessert has 7 elements:
- Hazelnut Dacquoise Biscuit
- Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Dark Chocolate Nutella Praline Ganache Insert
- Dark Chocolate Praline Crisp Insert
- Nutella Creme Bruleé Insert
- Dark Chocolate Icing
- Modeling Chocolate
Hazelnut Dacquoise Biscuit :
– 80g / 2.8 oz / 3/4cup + 1Tbsp hazelnut meal
– 50g / 1.75 oz /1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
– 15g / 2Tbsp all-purpose flour
– 100g / 3.5oz /about 3 medium egg whites
– 50g / 1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
– 50g / 1.75 oz /4 Tbsp crushed, toasted hazelnuts
– Preheat oven to 350° F (150 °C).
– In a baking pan toast hazelnuts in one layer in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly colored and skins are blistered. Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in towel to remove loose skins (don’t worry about skins that don’t come off) and cool completely.
– Roughly chop the nuts.
– Finely mix the hazelnut meal and the caster 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 hazelnut 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).
– Sprinkle batter with the chopped and skinned hazelnuts. Lightly press them down.
– Sprinkle the disks lightly with icing sugar. Let them rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle again, and let rest again for 10 minutes.
– 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
– 40g / 1.5 oz /3 Tbsp granulated sugar
– 10g / 0.3 oz /1 ½ tsp glucose or thick corn syrup ( Golden Syrup)
– 15g / 0.5 oz / 1 Tbsp water
– 50g / 1.75 oz / about 3 mediums egg yolks
– 175g / 6.2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
– 350g / 12.3 oz / 1.5 cups 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 one small saucepan in a larger one), heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream , add the gelatin. Stir until completely melt.. In another double boiler heat the chopped chocolate.. Add the gelatin / cream mixture. Stir until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
– Whip the rest of the cream until stiff.
– Stir in chocolate , 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 Nutella Praline Ganache Insert
– 50g / 1.75 oz / 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
– 135g / 4.5oz / 2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp heavy cream (35% fat content)
– 135 g /4.5 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
– 45g / 1.6 oz /3Tbsp + 1/2tsp unsalted butter softened
– 30 g / 1 oz/ 2 Tbsp praline
– 30g / 1 oz /2 Tbsp Nutella
– 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. 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 , praline and Nutella. 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.
Dark Chocolate Praline Crisp Insert
– 100g / 3.5 oz (100g) dark chocolate
– 25g / 1 2/3 Tbsp butter
– 30g/ 1 oz / 2 Tbsp praline
– 60g / 2.1oz 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.
Nutella Crème Brulée Insert
– 115g / 4 oz /1/2 cup heavy cream (35% fat content)
– 115g / 4 oz / 1/2 cup whole milk
– 72g / 2.5 oz / 4 medium-sized egg yolks
– 25g / /0.75 oz / 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
– 60g / 2 oz / 4 tbsp Nutella
– Heat the milk, cream, and nutella to just boiling. Remove from the stove.
– 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.
Dark Chocolate Icing ( I doubled that recipe)
– 4g / 0.15 oz / 1/2 Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
– 60g / 2.1 oz / 1/4 cup heavy cream (35 % fat content)
– 60g / 2.1 oz / 5 Tbsp granulated sugar
– 50g / 1.75 oz /1/4 cup water
– 30g / 1 oz/ 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.
Modeling Chocolate ( Adapted from : Ehow.com)
– 284 g / 10 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
– 118 g / 4 oz / 1/3 cup plus ½ tsp corn syrup or Golden Syrup or Glucose
– Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Cool the melted chocolate until it feels cool, but is fluid.
– Heat the corn syrup (Golden Syrup , Glucose) until it just starts to boil.
– Add the heated corn syrup to the melted chocolate and mix with a rubber spatula until it forms a smooth paste.
– Wrap the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
– Allow the modeling chocolate to firm and chill all the way through. This may take up to an hour.
– Remove the modeling chocolate from the refrigerator and knead until it becomes soft and pliable.
– Shape into logs for easy storage. Store wrapped and refrigerated.
NB : Roll out each portion between parchment paper , or dust your hand and work surface with cocoa powder when you shape it .
How To Assemble your French Yule Log
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.. If you are doing the assembly UPSIDE DOWN with ONE piece of Dacquoise on the BOTTOM ONLY the order is:
2) Creme Brulee Insert
4) Praline/Crisp Insert
6) Ganache Insert
– 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 saran wrap or cling 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.
– Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.
– 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.
– Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
– 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.
– Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
– Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
– Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
– Close with the Dacquoise.
– Freeze until the next day.
THE NEXT DAY…
– Unmold the log and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
– Cover the log 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.
Bon Appétit !