Tuesday, December 30, 2008

French Yule Log

Wow this month's challange was a big one, what with all the other xmas baking going on, not to mention all the indulgent eating already afoot as well!

I enjoyed making this challange, as I experimented with changing a few of the layers, and it gave me quite a good opportunity to be creative :)

I made a strawberry moose, which I can wildly recommend, it tasted so strongly of strawberry, and was such a light fresh and cooling desert to eat, I could have had the whole bowl if I didn't have to use it in the challange! Plus the sugar for the french merange used to airate the moose what just enough sweetness for the tart frozen strawberries I used in the puree.

I also changed the creme brulee layer, and made it with some fresh french and ordinary cottage garden lavender I had growing in my garden. I think I was remembering back to a sorbet combination that used strawberries with lavender and thought they would compliment each other. They did, but the creme brulee took a bit longer to cook through, even though I used the water bath method, and was quite a slippery item to deal with, requiring a good freezing before I dare lift it out of the tray to cut it to size. One thing I might change, if I can figure out how, is the amount of lavender I use, or maybe trim more off the stem, as there was a slight bitter taste to the brulee, from the essential oils in the plant I think.

I made the praline crisp layer, and the biscuit layer with hazelnuts, using a mix of rice puffs and cornflakes in the praline layer, and the hazelnut meal, and also some grated orange rind in the biscuit. The biscuit was probably my second favorite layer, and was really tasty on it's own. But sadly I was getting over chocolate by this stage of cooking and xmas eating, or I would have loved the praline layer too.

the ganache layer was easy, but I should have let it cool a bit more before putting it in the mould, but it didn't matter. But I REALLY should have awaited till the icing cooled. I was worried about it 'gelling' up as it had for other challangers, and not getting it to cover the log, but I didn't really give it a chance to cool...at all...and it ran straight off! luckily I scraped the remains back and let the first covering freeze a little, and just added the rest later. I didn't find it gummy to eat, it was pleasant enough, just so rich all together.

I ran out of moose in the assembly, which was a shame, as I would have liked some left over to eat :), but I just substituted some whipped cream instead. I made a large log to share with family, and a mini log to drop off to some friends who were doing volunteer work on christmas day. So I ended up having no strawberry moose to make their log. Luckily, I have my birthday on 21 Dec, and had made a chocolate moose raspberry cake, and had moose left over from that, so in that went, thinned down with some whipped cream, as that was already very rich.

All the layers stacked well, but just looked a bit awkward. I would have had a nice pic of the finished big log before the cutting, but it had to travel in an eski to my aunt's place on xmas day. It was a hot day, which didn't help matters, but sadly, the log had a car accident, when the eski tipped going round a corner, so the attempted icing of an xmas tree on top, got very smooshed, as did the choc icing coating as well :(

People seemed to like it, and be able to taste the lavender in the brulee. I forced some down, but sadly I was so over making it and over chocolate, that I didn't really enjoy it as much as I'd have liked. Like everyone else, the creme brulee layer just didn't defrost as well as the rest of the log, and had to be eaten still icy. I think it too a lot away from the creaminess it had in it's semi frozen state.

I loved being able to be creative changing the elements in the layer. Although my pics don't tell a very good story, I enjoyed the challange and hope the new year of DB challanges is just as exciting and new as this one :)

- Monique

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