Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another year...another 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.

The Daring Bakers decided to welcome in this holiday season with another traditional French yule log. This version of the yule log was a multi-step, mousse based version. Instead of the buttercream and genoise cake of last year, this year saw a more traditionally European style dessert. Each version is a wonderful addition to any holiday table and I'm not sure I can pick my favourite. Each had its wow factors.
Last year's log was an almond genoise rolled around a buttercream filling and topped with more mocha and rum flavoured buttercream. The decoration was a rustic and somewhat realistic looking log decorated with almond paste mushrooms. The Italian meringue buttercream was wonderfully silky, subtle and the perfect complement to the airy cake.

This year's log has a dacquoise base and I used a hazelnut version. It made a very light and airy base for the dessert. Then there are layers of chocolate mousse, creme brulee insert, praline feuillette for crunch and chocolate ganache. The whole log is then covered in the most decadent chocolate icing which I ate, in large part, right out of the bowl! The finished dessert is frozen for stability and then when brought back at room temperature for 1/2 hour or so. It tastes wonderfully decadent with each layer bringing its own flavour profile to the table. On the whole it may be a little more work than the buttercream version given the various components that need to be assembled. But many of the layers can be made in advance so the work could be spread out over two days. I also had fun creating a chocolate clay poinsettia for decoration.
Thanks to Hilda and Marion for a wonderful recipe. A big thanks also to my photographer Jason who has, by taking photos each month, by default taken on the monthly DB challenge with me. He patiently listens to my vision for the pictures and how I see the dessert being photographed and then does his own thing! The good thing is that his vision always results in a great shot and I'm very grateful for the time and effort he puts in to taking the pictures, editing, sizing them and sending them to me. A big shout out to Shelly as well who never begrudges the time this process takes. Christmas is the perfect time to count your blessings. We've been so happy this year to find such good friends across the backyard fence which now has a section removed and a well worn (and snowplowed!) path between our back doors.
Happy Holidays everyone!