Chocolate Yule logs

buches_2015 (14 of 15)
Written by Ben

I made and sold 24 “buches de noel” -yule logs- for Christmas.
It was quite a challenge to do those in our kitchen with only two molds and a small fridge !

The cakes were composed of a layer of good milk chocolate ganache perfumed with some yuzu zest, and another layer of dark chocolate ganache with some vanilla. In between the ganache was a chocolate macaron biscuit and some fresh pears in the center.

The glaze is almost just dark chocolate and milk.
I made some swiss meringue, tempered some chocolate and caramelized almond and hazelnuts for the decoration.
The idea was to have a 100% edible decoration that can also last several days without going bad. All of those added some crunchiness and texture.

It is the first time I used a huge amount of ingredients and I was excited to play the pastry man in his lab:
around 4 kilos of dark chocolate, 3.5 liters of heavy cream, 1.5 kilos of milk chocolate, 1 kilo of almond powder, and more than 50 eggs.
It is a little bit tricky when you have small bowls and only one spatula.
But with the recipe below, you can make 1 big or two little yule logs without buying a lot of ingredients.


RECIPE:

Get a yule log mold about 35 cm long, 8 cm large and 6 cm high.
I made 2 long yule logs in a mold of 30 cm long, 7.5 cm large and 4.5 cm high. In my case, the last biscuit sits on top of the cake, and goes over the mold.
You can also make your own mold with cardboard or with a plastic bottle…
A good alternative would be to use small pound cake molds.

I suggest you to make the biscuit -cake part- the day before and do the rest later, and then, do the glaze and the decoration the day you eat it.

Chocolate Macaron biscuit:
130g almond powder
130g sugar powder
30g coco powder
8 egg white
100g caster sugar

Preheat your oven at 200 C.
Sift almond powder, sugar powder and chocolate powder in a big bowl and mix together.
Put egg white with a pinch of salt in a big clean bowl and whisk it till foamy.
Add the first third  of the caster sugar and whisk at high speed.
The foam will turn into thick mousse after 30 seconds.
Add the 2nd third of sugar, whisk at high speed during 30 second-1 minute, add the last third of sugar and whisk till stiff peaks form.
Fold the the powders into the meringue you just made with a spatula.
When everything is incorporated, pour the batter in a pastry bag.
Cut the pastry bag to make a hole about 8-10 mm of diameter -not more-
And spray it evenly on a pan covered by parchment paper or Silpat.
Use an offset spatula to spray the batter more evenly and fill some holes if there is some.
Bake for about 15 mins. Check a little bit before in case your oven cooks faster than the average.
Now, you have a smooth spongy and chocolate cake!

Pear insert:
2 pears or 2-3 pears in can -or other fruits you like-.
You can buy pear in can you slice or also cook some sliced or diced pear in a stir fry with some butter and honey till it is soft, like apple on a tarte tatin.
You can also use apple or other fruit, since it isn’t too watery.
Use paper towel to remove the excess of water from the fruit.

The ganaches:
300g of good dark chocolate -not hersheys or other low quality chocolate-
225g of good milk chocolate.
around 60cl of heavy cream.
some yuzu, orange or the citrus zest you like, or nothing.
1 vanilla pod, cut and gratted.
1/2 of a gelatin sheet.

Pour the gelatin in some cold water.

Put the dark and the milk chocolate in separate bowls.
Bring to a boil 22.5 and 15 cl of cream. the 22.5cl is for the dark chocolate and the remaining is for the milk chocolate.

Set aside the rest of the cream in a boil and put it in the fridge with the whiskers.

When the cream is boiled, put the soften gelatin in the milk chocolate bowl.
Pour around 15 cl of cream on the milk chocolate with the gelatin.
Stir gently with a spatula, trying not to incorporate air bubbles in it.
Stir till you see no trace of gelatin and everything is well incorporated.
You can add some yuzu or orange zest, but be careful to not put too much or it will overpower the chocolate taste.

Put the scrapped vanilla in the dark chocolate bowl and put the remaining boiled cream in it. Stir gently till the ganache looks smooth.

Whisk the cream you sat aside in the fridge to make a chantilly (whipped cream).
Pour around 5cl -50g- of chantilly in the milk chocolate ganache and the rest in the dark one.
Fold the chantilly.

Put a parchment paper, a piece of silpat or ideally a piece of Rhodoid in the mold, or you willn’t be able to unmold the yule log.
Pour the milk chocolate ganache first in the mold with a ladle. Put some fruit on it.
Cut a band of macaron biscuit and put it on the fruit. Press the biscuit in to not let some air space between the fruit and the milk chocolate ganache.
Pour the dark chocolate in a pastry bag, or a big ziplock bag. cut the tip of the bag to make a diameter of about 1 cm. Pour the dark chocolate on the biscuit. Flatten evenly the dark choco ganache with an offset spatula.
Cut the second layer of biscuit which will be the “sole” of the yule log.
Put it on the dark choco ganache and apply some pressure on it.

Put the cake in the freezer for about 6h to 1 full night.
When you start to remove the parchment paper or the rhodoid and the ganache parts is not slick but somewhat fluffy, or worse, tearing off, put it back in the freezer for several hours.

Chocolate glaze:
40 cl milk
425g dark chocolate
30g glucose or honey
30g butter

Bring the milk to a boil. Pour it on the chocolate.
Add the glucose or honey.
Stir it gently to not add air bubbles in the glaze.
Add the butter and keep stirring it carefully.
You can use a hand blender to make it completely smooth and air bubble free.
Do not use a plastic bowl, or anything that makes too many vibrations or you will add more bubbles with your hand blender. Use a sturdy metal bowl. Our cheap wooden table makes a lot of vibrations too, so we put a big wooden cutting board in between.
Install a grid on a big deep pan.
When the glaze temperature is around 30 C, put the unmolded yule log on the grid  and pour the glaze with a laddle.
The glaze will solidify in a minute on the frozen cake.

After several minutes, use 2 offset spatulas and transfert the yule log to a plate.

Decorate and reserve it in the fridge.
After several hours, it is ready to eat .

Decoration:
-For the caramelized nut, use this recipe and stop before mixing the nuts in the food processor.
-For the tempered chocolate, follow the temperature curve written on the bag of the chocolate you bought. For instance, with the dark chocolate I use, I melt it at 45 C in a double boiler, cool it down at 26-27 C and reheat it slowly at 30-31 C to make it workable. I pour it in some rhodoid sheet quickly and voila!
-For the swiss merringue, use the double amount of sugar compared to the amount of egg white.
Whisk them on a double boiler till the temperature reaches 55-60 C.
Keep whisking at high speed out of the stove till very stiff picks. It is kind of long, around 10 minutes in my case.
Don’t use powder sugar for cake decoration which has a lot of extra ingredients in it. Indeed, you will have a soup instead of a meringue.
This rule is the same for other meringue and macaron.
Ideally, use 100% sugar powder with no starch in it.

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