Chili & Cherry Chocolate Yule Log

yule-log-sprinkles

This month’s challenge was hosted by Hilda of Saffron and Blueberry and Marion of Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux

Together they brought to Daring Bakers a recipe that would stretch my culinary skills to its limits; a French Yule Log , recipe by Flore of Florilege Gourmand, (click here for the original recipe source)

After a month of no refined sugar, I was keen to get back to baking normal desserts. However, I had become accustomed to minimal sweetness; I decided to reduce the sugar content. I also freaked-out (just slightly) when I read that the original recipe required 660g double cream and 410g chocolate, so opted for a fruit-mousse variant which required a lot less of those ingredients. In the recipe below I’ve stated the changes that I’ve made.

Being lactose intolerant and yet to find a suitable alternative to double/whipping cream (suggestions welcome!), I thought I’d make mini-logs as I’ll be able to eat a slither of this dessert without suffering too badly. I constructed four small log pans out of cardboard and sticky tape, they measured 6” long, 2 ½ “ wide and 2 ½ “ deep. I halved the amount of all the elements apart from the mousse which seamed to be the right amount for my mini logs.

Inspired by chili-cherry dark chocolate by Lindt (absolutely DELICIOUS!), I aimed to bring these flavors to my yule log. Being out of season, tinned cherries were used. I added a pinch of chili powder to my dark chocolate ganache to provide a spicy kick to the otherwise gentle flavors. I found each element relatively simple, the mousse being the most problematic for me. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to agar and it solidified into chunks really quickly so didn’t blend too well. My icing didn’t come out all glossy like everyone else’s, another likely agar mishap…

At the end of this ordeal, I really felt like I had achieved something. I’d learnt new techniques (that I have to admit needs a lot of perfecting). The log itself tastes fantastic, all the different elements work wonderfully together. This was a tasty alternative (or in my case, an addition) to the traditional seasonal treats.

yule-log-stars

Decorated with  matcha white chocolate & marzipan stars

Chili Cherry Yule Log

FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS RECIPE by Flore of Florilège Gourmand

Elements required:

  1. Dacquoise biscuit
  2. Mousse
  3. Ganache insert
  4. Praline(Crisp) insert
  5. Crème brulee insert
  6. Chocolate Icing

Make this in the following order:

  1. Crème brulee
  2. mousse
  3. Praline insert

Assemble these 3 items and freeze for 2-3 hrs until set. Then make

  1. Dacquoise biscuit
  2. Ganache insert

Finish assembly then freeze until the next day. Lastly make the icing.

1. Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar (I used 1 tsp)
1 vanilla bean

1.    Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
2.    Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3.    Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4.    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.
5.    Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

2. Cherry Mousse
2 medium-sized egg yolks
2 Tbsp (17g) cornstarch
1/3 cup (80g) whipping cream
7 oz (200g) Cherries, pureed in a blender
3.5 oz (1/2 cup / 100g) granulated sugar (I used ¼ cup)
1.3 oz (36g) water
2.5 gelatin leaves or 5g / 2+1/4 tsp powdered gelatin (I used agar)
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium-sized egg whites

1.    Beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch until thick, white and fluffy.
2.    Heat the cream in a medium saucepan and once hot, pour a small amount over the egg yolks while whisking vigorously.
3.    Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the rest of the cream in the saucepan, add the cherry puree and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens considerably, at least 3-5 mn. Let cool to lukewarm temperature.
4.    Make an Italian Meringue: Cook the sugar and water on medium heat until temperature reaches 244°F (118°C) when measured with a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test the temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water. If it forms a soft ball, you’ve reached the proper temperature.
4a. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin stream while continuing to whisk vigorously (preferably with a mixer for sufficient speed). Whisk/beat until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The meringue should be thick and glossy.
5.    Soften the gelatin in cold water and melt in a small saucepan with 1 tsp of water OR melt in the microwave for 1 second (do not boil).
6.    Put the melted gelatin in a mixing bowl and, while whisking vigorously, pour the lukewarm mango cream over the gelatin.
7.    Carefully blend the Italian meringue into the cherry mixture.

3. Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert
3.5 oz (100g) dark chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K 

1.    Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2.    Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3.    Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

4. Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s (caster) sugar (I used ¼ cup)
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour (I used rice flour)
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar (I used 1 tbsp)


1.    Finely mix the almond meal and the caster sugar.

2.    Sift the flour into the mix.
3.    Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4.    Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5.    Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6.    Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7.    Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8.    Let cool and cut to the desired shape.


5. Dark Chili Chocolate Ganache Insert
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream    (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped

¼ tsp chili powder
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.    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

2.    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.
3.    Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate & chili powder. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4.    Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

6. Dark Chocolate Icing
4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin (I used agar)
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar (I used 1 tbsp)
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1.    Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.    Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3.    Add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4.    Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well, use immediately.

yule-log-mould

How To Assemble your French Yule Log

  1. Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with acetate or plastic film.
  2. Cut the Dacquoise into a shape fitting your mold and set it in there. If you are using an actual Yule mold which is in the shape of a half-pipe, you want the Dacquoise to cover the entire half-pipe portion of the mold.
  3. Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
  4. 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.
  5. Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
  6. 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.
  7. Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
  8. Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
  9. Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight eidge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
  10. Close with the last strip of Dacquoise.
    Freeze until the next day.

THE NEXT DAY…

1. Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.

2. Cover the cake with the icing. Let set. Return to the freezer.

3. 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.
yule-log-un-iced1

Pre & Post icing

yule-log-slices




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12 responses to “Chili & Cherry Chocolate Yule Log

  1. Its really great to see you mastering the many skills required to complete this complex challenge. The marzipan stars look so cute adorning the cake.

  2. Wonderful Feng! I’m so pleased you learned lots of new things and I think your flavor combination is so original and compelling. I also could only eat a little sliver of mine, but that’s because of my belly-dweller. Good job altering it to fit your needs. Happy New Year!

  3. tiene que ser una combinacion sublime el chili+chocolate..tengo una tableta de Lindt con ese sabor y me enamora por su sorpresa.Me encanta el contraste de sabores para una navidad lujosa.Feliz reto y feliz año nuevo

  4. I like your decorations on the log. I wish I had more time to do something so decorative before the holiday, but I was happy just to get it iced. Great job! Happy New Year.

  5. My sister and I were looking at posted challenges and she said she thought yours looked like starfish. 🙂 I love the three-ch’s – cherry, chocolate, and chili! You just can’t go wrong.

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