Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Daring Bakers' December Challenge - A French Yule Log











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. (Recipe HERE.)

I became a member of the Daring Bakers back in September, with the expectation of being truly challenged. The lavash, the pizza and the caramel cake all had challenging aspects to them; but this month's French Yule Log has to "take the cake" when it comes to challenges! When I first looked at the recipe (which went on for page after page), my knees started knocking in a combination of trepidation and anticipation. "Take a deep breath and take it one step at a time," I told myself.

I decided to break the recipe into its six parts, and do them over a three-day span. I started, one evening, with the creme brulee section. I've made creme brulee before, but the recipe we were following had us bake the creme in a 210 degree oven, supposedly for one hour. Oh, my! One hour went by and the creme brulee was still nowhere near set. In the end I gradually bumped the temperature up to 250 degrees, and ended up baking it for over two hours!

In order I continued on, over a span of three days, to make the chocolate mousse, the praline insert (feuillete), the dacquoise (an almond/meringue "cake"), ganache (a rich, creamy milk chocolate layer) and the milk chocolate icing. I read the comments of several other Daring Bakers . . . "It really isn't that hard" . . . but I must take exception! I found it quite difficult, especially finding the time to complete it, during this, the most busy time of the year. And then there were the three dozen pots, pans and bowls that were soaked and scrubbed, just to be used again, for another ingredient - oh, my aching back! And, finally, there were the struggles of getting frozen portions out of their molds. I'd have given up right there, twice, if it hadn't been for Dan's skill and patience in getting them unmolded. In fact, it was only because of Dan's encouragement that I persevered and completed the French Yule Log (known, also, as a buche de noel).

I didn't take pictures along the way. I was too busy, and my hands were too sticky to touch the camera. But below are a couple shots of the completed dessert. Had I had more time . . . and energy . . . I would have (should have) spent some time making decorations for the log. Some traditional decorations include chocolate curls, thin chocolate or cookie leaves, berries, meringue mushrooms, etc. But since I finally finished my log the night before we were leaving for my mom's house, in Carlsbad, I felt pretty satisfied just to have completed the basics. Maybe next time I'll go the final step, and add an artistic touch. BUT, what I must report is that this rich French dessert tasted better than the sum of its parts! It really was delicious! Dan went back for seconds, and our neighbors, to whom I delivered a couple slices, called us to say it was wonderful. Nothing warms a Daring Baker's heart more than such compliments.


Other Completed Daring Bakers' Challenges: Lavash, Pizza Napoletana, Caramel Cake

26 comments:

juliemcleod said...

Linda, that looks absolutely delicious! Buche de Noel is quite common here in Canada and I make a very rich chocolate one complete with ganache and meringue mushrooms. Not quite as complex as yours, I must say.

Linda said...

Julie, yours sounds scrumptious! Can you post a picture, where I can see?

Hope you had a great Christmas! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Chris said...

looks totally yummy!

Hilda said...

Linda, good job making this! and I'm so glad you liked the taste of it in the end and were complimented. Have a happy new year!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and have a great new year.

Nikita's Mom said...

excellent job! i had to laugh at the aching back....:) the pots and pans alone will be enough to make me quit. *wink* marvelous!!!

ktm said...

this looks so delicious!

Sara said...

Your Yule Log is really beautiful! Yum.

Claire said...

Glad you had such good reviews! Looks great!

Papa John said...

Whoa Up! Wait a minute, Linda. Just hold on! I'm not so sure you should be posting pictures like this without having sent samples for friends (like me) to approve. Cakes, pastries, cookies, Yule Logs - - - Makes no difference. Please give this some serious consideration.

Can't you see the drool marks on the previous comments?

Hmmmm. Well, OK. Keep it up, but remember what an effect you are having on your readership.

Finally, I knew your Dad well enough to know that he would be mighty proud of you, and that's the straight truth.

Linda said...

Thanks, John :-)

Nichole said...

Oh, it's lovely! Your icing turned out beautifully.

Renee said...

Great job! What a beautiful log! Looks scrumptious!

silverrock said...

What a lovely looking yule-log! The layers look perfect and the entire log looks soo chocolatey-delicious! Congrats on this month's challenge, and keep up the great bakes!

Olga said...

Completely agree with you re not taking photos during the process :)

Amy said...

Linda - this is wonderful. Great job!

Amy

rainbowbrown said...

I love it, it looks awesome!

ARLENE said...

You did an incredible job, Linda. Your neighbors must love you!

juliemcleod said...

Linda, I didn't get around to making it this year but will look around and see if I have a photo from previous years. If not, I'll have to try and remember to do it next year and send you the pic!

The meringue mushroom recipe comes from Joy of Cooking (VERY easy to do and the kids love them)and the cake recipe is from Gourmet Magazine (I think). Let me know if you're interested in the recipe and I'll send it to you.

madcapcupcake said...

Looks yummy to me!

Tartelette said...

Well done on this challenge Linda! Your log was a success!

Happy New Year!

breadchick said...

Beautiful log! Well done on the challenge.

Lori said...

It did take some time! At a very busy time! But it was yummy, I say Bravo for completing it despite time constraints.

Madeleine said...

Great job Linda!!

Happy New Year!!! :)

Vera said...

Linda, your log is beautiful! Happy New Year!

Linda said...

Thanks, Vera. Happy New Year to you, as well!