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!


Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job pastry chef! I have not yet worked with lavender, too bad you did not end up enjoying it with all the other flavors. You did a great job on all the components and photo documenting everything!

Manda said...

great job!! :) this was definitely my toughest challenge yet, I think. All the different elements... wow. :) when they say Daring, they mean Daring. :D

Jenny said...

Great idea to use your leftover praline powder as a garnish! I don't know what I'll do with mine.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your log looks great!



CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

SOO INCREDIBLE!! I could not complete this challenge with everything else going on for the holidays so I seriously commend you for taking on this beast. The Yule Log looks TO DIE FOR!!!!! BRAVO ;)

Nikita's Mom said...

Your step by step photos are great! And it looked like everybody enjoyed it at church. Well done!!!

Maggie said...

Great job documenting all the steps! Too bad the lavender didn't work out, it sounds interesting.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

You felt like a pastry chef and you log certainly looks like made by one! Well done!