Sunday, December 28, 2008

Daring Bakers December 2008 Challenge

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.

This challenge took the most time of all the challenges I have done so far - but it was really fun.

There were so many different places to start on this bugger. We had to make six elements:

  1. Dacquoise Biscuit
  2. Mousse
  3. Ganache Insert
  4. Praline (Crisp) Insert
  5. Creme Brulee Insert
  6. Icing
After looking through the PAGES and PAGES of the challenge, I decided to start on the Creme Brulee since it takes three hours (one hour to infuse, one hour to bake, and another to freeze). One of the options was to infuse the Creme Brulee with lavender - which I did. . .

After tasting the final product, I wish I hadn't infused with lavender. If the log was white chocolate based, then I can see it being tasty. As it was, the lavender just didn't go with the dark chocolate and hazelnuts. Should have gone with vanilla bean.

The next thing was to make some praline powder for the praline crisp layer. Here's a photo of the caramel.

And the one cup of hazelnuts mixed in and poured out onto a parchment paper to cool:

Next I had to make get the Dacquoise Biscuit started. Here's the egg whites whipped up with sugar.
Then I added the hazelnut meal. Here's the biscquit before I baked it. I made the size approximately the size of my "mold". I put this in the oven.
Then I put the hazelnut pralines in my food processor.
I added the egg yolks to the lavendar infused cream, and put it in the oven with a water bath.
Here's what the biscuit looked like when it was done cooking.I then finished up the praline crisp. I forgot to get a photo of the finished product, but here's the chocolate melting in a double boiler. I used rice crispies for that layer and now wish that I had mushed the rice before adding it to the chocolate. It stilled worked well.
Here's the creme brulee finshed and in the freezer.
Part of the mousse is to make a pate bombe. Here're the yolks being whipped until white-ish.
Here's the sugar syrup I made that will be added to the yolks.
This is the chocolate & 1/2 cup whipped cream mixture.

This is what the egg yolks looked like after I added the syrup.

Next thing left is to assemble the log. I put in some plastic wrap.
Added 1/3 of my mousse.
Put the creme brulee on top.
Added another 1/3 of the mousse. . .

I didn't get a photo, but I put the praline crisp and the final 1/3 mousse on that. Then came the dark chocolate ganache and I cut the biscuit down to fit the bottom of the loaf. This went into the freezer for an over night freeze.

Today, I mixed up the cream and cocoa.

But softened the gelatine at the same time I was boiling it.
Here's what it looked like after I added the gelatine. This icing was made with Special Dark cocoa and it was so black in color.
This is what the loaf looked like right after pulling it from the freezer.

After I iced the loaf. . .Since I had some hazelnut praline powder left over, I dusted the sides.

Here's what it looked done and ready to go.
I took it to church and here it is being cut into many different pieces. The praline crisp layer made it difficult to cut - which is another reason why I wished I had crushed them smaller when making the crisp.
Wow! What a challenge! I really felt like I was being a true pastry chef!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Maker Faire

This is cool. I was video taped at Maker Faire and it was just posted earlier this week.

Antique Sock Knitting Machines - CRAFT Video Podcast from make magazine on Vimeo.

M being a supermodel

Originally uploaded by civilgrrl
M had a great time in Cozumel - mainly because there were more kids there her age this year. That, and she was not afraid to go to the Pirate's Club this time. When the kids were at the club, the professional photographer's came around and took pictures. She hammed it up for the camera and they said that she was a supermodel that day.

Click here if you want to see her in all her supermodel glory.

Silly goose.

Home again!

So after the big marathon trip to Nashville and Las Vegas, we were actually home for a week before we headed off to Cozumel, Mexico.

Yeah, we went away for ANOTHER week.

I have never been so happy to be home. We arrived home on Saturday around 6 pm and had a party in Granbury were were invited to.

I became an absolute brat and put my foot down and said I wasn't going to go. I just had to sleep in my own bed that night. We woke up early and I had a HOT shower - the first in a week. We then headed off and got a Starbucks - I was tired of having really bad coffee. It was heaven.

We ended up going to Granbury and found out that we missed out on a singing cowboy the night before. We were sad to hear, but it was nice to see all our friends.

I have been hand knitting and will post my projects later. It's just so nice to be home.

Merry Christmas

Originally uploaded by civilgrrl
M with Santa when we went to Las Vegas.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I wanna go home


We've been on the road since Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It's Friday - the second Friday we've been away from home.

Fun stuff we've done:

Seen J's family in Nashville. Ate at Aquarium restaurant there for J's birthday. M essentially disappeared as she was glued to the hips of her cousins. I missed her a great deal.

We got to Las Vegas last Saturday and stayed downtown at the Gold Nugget. M got to see the big movie in the sky. She also declared the Gold Nugget pool to be the coolest pool EVER. They have a slide and you get to slide through a shark tank towards the bottom. We actually opened the pool and closed it in one day.

Monday rolled around and we had to move hotels to the MGM - it's the hotel we stayed at for the Autodesk University. The twin beds were twin queens, not two twins. M & I actually got some good sleep. The day before my birthday, M & I went to see Mama Mia. We didn't make it through the whole show as M just got too tired. We still had a good time.

On Thursday, we went to Craftsteak located at the MGM. It's one of Tom Colicchio's restaurants. I wanted to eat in a celebrity chef restaurant. We stopped by a couple of them that were located in the MGM. One actually had a menu starting at $459 per person. (Yikes!)

Tonight is Friday - we're tuckered out and really just want to be home. M want's to go down to the Excaliber midway (yes, we're staying there tonight) and we just don't have the room to fit one more stuffed animal - so she's a little upset with us right now. That and the Excaliber doesn't have Nickolodeon - which is M's all time favorite channel. So she's essentially unpleasant right now.

So we get home tomorrow only to leave one week later for Cozumel.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

AU Day 3

I felt like such a fan boy today - I saw Dana Probert was speaking at the conference and had to go stalk her down and say hi.

I did buy her book on the Expo floor today. I'm finding that there's SO much about Civil3D I just don't know. I think the book will be a great reference.

Also, it's my birthday today. So happy birthday to me, damn it!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Autodesk University

AU rocks. It just does. I'm here and just am learning a great deal. Plus, it's in Las Vegas - let's face it, Vegas is great.

I'm halfway through and have already used some of the tricks I've learned - plus AU has the added benefit of making you feel so not worthy!

Looking forward to going home, though. We went to Nashville for Thanksgiving and flew directly to LV. I want my own bed. . .