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30 December 2008

Daring Baker Does December

Just in case you thought I accomplished nothing but skiing, skating, and shoveling during my winter time, here's some pictures that demonstrate otherwise. During my vacation, I completed my December Daring Baker project - a French Yule Log! Besides the challenge of six layers, I had the added challenge of baking at my mother's house. Upon retirement, Mom donated or threw out most of her baking/cooking pans and utensils. Seriously, the women only owns a tablespoon measuring spoon - no teaspoon. Don't even ask about different measuring cups for liquids and solids!
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.

My Mom and I decided that the Yule Log was to be used as dessert for Christmas. Although my enthusiasm to bake was a bit less than usual due to the holiday craziness, I found the recipe quite manageable as I broke up the baking over a couple days. The recipe as presented to the Daring Bakers had numerous options, and when printed was over ten pages! But once I narrowed my choices and put them in order, the actual baking was more straight forward than I first thought.

My French Yule Log was composed of the following six elements and Hubby who has a serious chocolate addiction made many of the selection:
1. Chocolate Dacquoise (Almond Cake)
2. Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream (Chantilly)
3. Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert
4. Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert
5. Chocolate Creme Brulée Insert
6. Dark Chocolate Icing

My visiting relatives included some young men who were not waiting for me to take "pretty pictures" before digging in, so I had no time clean up the plate or the cake to show the six layers. Additionally, my only available baking pan was a full size bread pan, so my "log" is rectangular. My chocolate ganache insert was too thick and never really softened. I was quite happy with the crisp layer and the Dacquoise was moist and tasty,even though I made it ahead of time and kept it in Tupperware.
If you look to make the recipe (check out Saffron and Blueberry for it), here are my suggestions. I found that I had to double the dark chocolate icing recipe. I know the recipe warns about the Milk Chocolate Chantilly's inability to stay frozen, but mine never ran and it was out of the freezer for more than an hour. And yes, I did actually make the lace crepes and not substitute Rice Krispies for the Praline Feuillete. Also, I did not have a cake holder to use in the freezer, and instead used wax paper and tin foil, resulting in my mirror finish becoming tacky. I just covered the top with a bit of powdered sugar and ground almonds. Where the recipe called for piping, I made do with a spatula.
Even with the equipment challenges, the Yule Log tasted wonderful and was devoured. The teenage boys had two slices within two minutes, each trying to make a clean cut through the frozen ganache! At some point, I'd like to try this recipe again with some other flavors, a true yule log pan, and my piping bag.

Thanks to this months Daring Baker Hosts!


Madeleine said...

great job!!!!

Beatiful log!! :)

Sara said...

This looks really yummy! I like your fix for the messed up icing--mine got somewhat messed up in the freezer too but I just ended up serving it like that...yours looks very pretty and Christmas-y!

Expat Traveler said...

Oh that looks so yummy!!!! We battled with the same odds and have been doing it for a while since most of our stuff is still in storage!

seamaiden said...

Looks great! I agree- I made the almond cake ahead of time and stored it in a bag in the refrigerator and it stayed plenty moist. Cheap and easy piping trick: We take a ziploc bag, fill it with whatever we want to pipe, and cut the corner out. We don't have a piping bag at our house and never miss it with this trick. :)


PH said...

It tasted delicious!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great log! Very well done!



christina said...

Oh wow, that looks fantastic! I can just imagine how it tasted. My mother has also thrown out most of her baking stuff so it's always a challenge when I'm "home" trying to make anything.

Audax Artifex said...

Yes a challenge and a half. I understand totally about the lack of cook ware and 'mum' did the same thing. Your log looks smashing and it is one of the best dessert I have had. The mirror finish can only be acheived if you don't have to wrap the log. Happy New Year.

Laura Rebecca said...

You are so right; I wish I'd doubled the chocolate icing, too! I think you did a great job with the finish; the candy canes add just the right holiday spirit as well. Nicely done!

Chahira said...

You did a great job, your log looks amazing and full of joy!!
Happy new year dear!!
wish you all the best!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great to hear that you *want* to make it again! Sounds like some interesting challenges while baking. I think it is funny that your mom threw everything out upon retiring. I think when I retire, I would bake more!

Ally said...

Thank goodness I doubled the icing, even though I had some left over, I had enough to cover and recover. Your log looks amazingly chocolatey, yum!

Tartelette said...

You did a fantastic job doing it and at your mom's place to boot! I bet the memoeries of that log will live for a long time!

Claire said...

SO pretty! I just LOVE the candy cane topping.

Joy said...

Love the festive foliage - well done!

Anonymous said...

Looks lovely! I like how you dressed it all up. Very festive!

Merisi said...

the log looks delicious,
and the presentation and the picture both are quite a feat,
seeing as you had those pesky teenagers at your heels! :-)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love the candy canes on top! Sounds like it was an extra challenge at your mother's home!