December 28, 2008

DB Ebony and Ivory French Yule Logs

This month's Daring Baker challenge was a French Yule Log. Different from the rolled cake style yule log, this year's yule log is a layered, frozen confection that includes a cake/biscuit, ganache, creme brulée, and a chocolate crisp (feuillete) all floating in chocolate mousse. I had my doubts about how successful this recipe would be dairy-free so I decided to also make a full-sized log with cow's milk (real dairy) ingredients. With the challenge falling around Christmas, I knew I would have enough dairy eaters to finish it off. So Alex, my son who has a dairy allergy, wouldn't feel left out I also made a smaller log that was dairy-free. For both logs I went with an Ebony and Ivory theme, alternating white and dark chocolate. Here's the breakdown of the components and my thoughts on each:

Element #1 Chocolate Dacquoise (Almond Cake)
The dacquoise was the easiest part because the recipe was originally dairy-free. I made a double batch of the chocolate version given which includes 3 tablespoons of sifted cocoa.
Thoughts: I spread the batter a little too thin. It wasn't quite enough to cover the entire mold and I would have liked the bottom layer thicker. I liked the chocolate flavor a lot. It could have used a pinch of salt, I thought.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse
For the dairy version I made no changes to the dark chocolate mousse recipe given. For Alex’s dairy-free log I used Rich Whip, a dairy-free whipped cream substitute also know as BCoW (Blue Can of Wonder). I learned about Rich Whip from another blogging mom from Michigan who writes at Speedbump Kitchen. The ingredients in Rich Whip are just short of plastic but it does taste just like Cool-whip and is safe for Alex. Sometimes nutritional compromises must be made. For my small dairy-free log I used ¾ cup of unwhipped Rich’s Whip Topping, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, a tiny pinch of salt and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. I whipped the topping, added the vanilla and salt and sifted in the cocoa. Then I whipped it until the cocoa was evenly distributed.
Thoughts: The dairy-free version came out beautifully. It was light with just enough chocolate flavor. The dairy version was good but a little too heavy and rich for me. I would like to try the dairy milk chocolate Chantilly recipe instead.

Element #3 White Chocolate Ganache
For the dairy log I followed the directions for the white chocolate ganache insert with no changes. For Alex’s dairy-free log, I used 2 oz of dairy-free white chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons of soy milk and 1 teaspoon of Earth Balance margarine. I melted the ingredients carefully in the microwave (1.5 minutes), stirred them together until smooth and piped them in.
Thoughts: The dairy version of this is wonderful! I love the caramel flavor and the slight caramel chew to it. I wish I had made Alex's with caramelized sugar and will be trying that soon. I have had trouble finding a reliable dairy-free ganache recipe but this was spot on. I'll be keeping it around to use again.

Element #4 White Chocolate Praline Feuillete (Crisp) with Cocoa Crispy Rice Cereal
To save time, I made a double batch of the crisp with dairy-free white chocolate and used it in both logs. I used homemade praline paste with pecans from the Filbert Gateau recipe, which was part of July’s DB challenge (link at the end of this post). Then I melted dairy-free white chocolate chips and Earth Balance margar+-ine in the yule log recipe proportions in the microwave. I hate the mess of a double boiler and melting chocolate in the microwave is so easy. I had some New Morning Cocoa Crispy Rice Cereal in the house and so used that for my crisp component. Thus the crisp became another expression of the ebony and ivory theme. (I was getting carried away by this point.)
Thoughts: That praline paste is to die for! I wasn't in the mood for another nut-based cake back in July but I loved the recipe for homemade praline paste. Thanks Chris for choosing that recipe, I've used the components several times.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée
I didn't change anything in the vanilla crème brulée directions for the dairy log. For Alex's dairy-free log I decided to cheat and made a Tofutti ice cream insert. I used Tofutti Vanilla Almond Bark which is one of their best flavors.
Thoughts: I made the creme brulée layer too thin. It was the first component I made and I thought with my size pan I could get a small log and a full-sized log out of the recipe, but it gave me too thin of a layer. Also, creme brulée without that crispy, caramelized sugar top just doesn't seem right. Creme brulée is all about the cracking the top! Alex's ice cream layer was really good.

Element #6 White Chocolate Icing
For the dairy-log I followed the provided recipe for white chocolate icing. For Alex’s dairy-free log I tried using the recipe as written using dairy-free ingredients, which was a big mistake. After letting it cool, it was too runny so I added another ounce of chocolate and warmed it until the chocolate was incorporated. Still too runny, so I tried adding a teaspoon of soy milk powder. This helped a little but by now I was done playing with it and just went ahead and poured it over the log. It didn't coat thickly enough and the mousse showed through. Bah, you can't win them all.
Thoughts: I coated my dairy-free log first and with the different properties of dairy-free white chocolate it just didn't get thick enough to coat well. Then when I made the icing with dairy I was nervous about it not covering well and let it cool too much. This caused the icing to set into drips on the sides which was not the look I was going for. I wasn't a big fan of the gelatin texture of either icing and would have preferred a gelatin-less ganache coating.

Element #7 Decoration
For the dairy log I made a chocolate ganache, again using a component of the Filbert Gateau recipe (link at end). For Alex's log I used the same proportions as in the ganache insert (1 oz of chocolate, 1 teaspoon of soy milk and 1/2 teaspoon of Earth Balance margarine).

Overall impressions: This was a fun recipe with a lot of techniques that I have never used or only used once before. It was a great learning experience and very satisfying to complete. Overall the two logs were interesting to try side by side. My favorite components were the caramel-white chocolate ganache from the dairy log and the mousse from the dairy-free log. And what did Alex think? He pulled the icing and ganache decoration from the top and that was all he wanted to eat. Kids-- you just never know what will please them! My husband was a big fan of the dairy-free log and my family seemed to enjoy the dairy log. I served both on Christmas Eve and the leftovers on the day after Christmas. Here are some more pictures:

The components for my dairy-free yule logI'm never left alone when I'm taking food photosThe finished logs: dairy-free on the left, real dairy on the rightSlices of both logs (dairy on the left, dairy-free on the right)


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 Links:
For the complete recipe (Beware, it's huge!) visit Saffron and Blueberry or Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
The original recipe comes from a French recipe site, Florilege Gourmand.
The recipes for the praline paste and chocolate ganache with dairy came from the Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream recipe at Mele Cotte.

Dairy-free Ingredients:
Rich's Whip Topping, New Morning Cocoa Crispy Rice Cereal, Tofutti Vanilla Almond Bark, and my source for dairy-free white chocolate Chocolate Emporium

Visit the Daring Baker Blogroll to see more decadent logs.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exceedingly impressive and attractive! I can't wait until they start making it possible to pass samples through the internet! LOL I'll be the first in line!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What gorgeous logs! Beautiful!

Cheers,

Rosa

Jo said...

hi maggie, love your log decorations and the pictures you had posted as well. Have a very happy new year.

Chris said...

Great job! Looks wonderfully inviting!

teafactory said...

Absolutely stunning, well done!

VeggieGirl said...

INCREDIBLE!!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Absolutely lovely! You've done such a spectacular job with this!

The Irreverent Cook said...

oh oh oh, these are gorgeous! Kudos on making the recipe TWICE, and once dairy free!

Hilda said...

Fantastic write-up with your thoughts on the individual components Maggie. I'm so glad both versions worked out for you and am very happy that you had fun with this recipe. Happy New Year!

Joelen said...

Awesome job! I love how you presented both and each looks delicious!

Ricki said...

Truly, a remarkable amount of work (TWO of these!! How lucky is Alex?!) and stunning final products. Just reading about the layers made me want to rush out and buy one somewhere (don't think I'd have enough patience to make one!!) :)

Isabelle said...

C'est superbe !

Dayna said...

I see I'm not the only one with a sneaky little boy. But any wonder? Your log looks delicious. & kudos to pulling it off dairy free!

Marija said...

Very beautiful! And you did amazing job on making the dairy free one!

Photos with the components are so cute :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Two logs!? They both look delicious, great job!

Micha .:. Scraping the Skillet said...

Both logs look lovely! I love the ebony and ivory theme you chose. Alex is a lucky boy to have a special buche de noel made just for him!

Melissa said...

Wow! you did a great job, I was wandering how it was all supposed to work out.

Lorraine E said...

Wow, well done on making two of them and dairy free? :o Sounds like it was a major challenge-I had trouble with just one lol

puppymomma said...

That's a very impressive set of yule logs you made! It looks very intimidating, especially when you make one according to the recipe and one with the dairy-free modifications.

The results are beautiful and I hope you got lots of complements!

Have a happy new year!

Meryl

Nikita's Mom said...

you made two? WOW! And they both look so delicious! Amazing....!!! great job.

Hannah said...

I'm so amazed that not only were you able to make two yule logs, but they both look specular! I sure hope your dairy-free eater appreciated the effort, it sounds delicious.

Ethan said...

Totally impressed with the dairy free version. Great job.

Aparna said...

Both your logs look very good. That's a lot of effort you've gone to.

Best wishes for the festive season and a Happy New Year.

vibi said...

Beautiful, Maggie!
I especially love your step-by-step pictures!
Allthough I know for a fact this was extremely long to prepare... you make it look sooooo easy! BRAVO!

Marysol said...

Sinful is the only word that comes to mind.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Well done you for making 2 version dairy and dairy free! I also enjoyed reading your thoughts! Great! Happy new year!!!

kellypea said...

WOW! You made two. Okay, so now I feel like a complete loser for not completing this challenge. I'm tempted, though, and the way you've written the steps and labeled the photos makes something challenging seem so much more doable! Nice work.

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Good for you and 3 cheers for the BCoW!!

Gabi said...

Maggie!

This is fantastique!
That White Chocolate Ganache. You got a recipe for the diary version?

Cheers and Happy 2009!!!!!

Gabi.

Esi said...

WOW!! I can't believe you had the energy to do this twice, but both look great. I love the ebony and ivory theme.

Priscilla said...

Wow. This looks so yummy! Great blog and I love your kittie!

Lynn said...

I think you win the prize for best baker. Making two yule logs is an amazing feat. Your yule logs look super. Well done.

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

That is a beautiful work of art! Looks delicious!

Y said...

Love the photos! Both logs look excellent :)

Kevin said...

Great looking yule log!

Bex said...

They look great! Go dairy free!

Jenny said...

Both look great and I'm glad you were able to pull off a dairy free version!

Janet said...

Both logs are so pretty!

Alisa said...

Both are gorgeous! I would love to feature this post on Godairyfree.org. Let me know! My email is alisa at the web address in this link. Great job!

Yasmeen said...

Scrumptious Yule log! Have a wonderful and healthy new year:)

shellyfish said...

I love how you drizzled the icing - it looks so elegant! I also think the sneaky little hand is too cute!

Annarasa said...

Looking delicious!!

Apu

http://annarasaessenceoffood.blogspot.com/2008/12/piquant-sweet-lemon-chocolate-yule-log.html

Claire said...

It is interesting to look at the logs side-by-side! What's funny to me is how white the outer layer of the dairy version is and how that characteristic flip-flops with the creme brulee! Great job on BOTH logs.

seamaiden said...

Awesome job. I enjoyed your photographs of the different elements of the yule log. It was fun to see a dairy free version of such a challenging recipe- how sweet of you to make one your son could enjoy.

-Sea

breadchick said...

Incredible job on both logs!

May you and yours have a wonderful New Year; especially as you move Up North!

Jo said...

Beautiful! :)

Happy new year! I hope that 2009 is your best year ever sweetie :) It's been a pleasure getting to know you this past few months!

Ivana said...

Looks delicious!
Happy new year!!

All Adither said...

I found you by searching for Sanders Caramel Cake. And I'm so glad I found you! I bake dairy free too (my son is allergic) as well as nut and egg free. It's a challenge, but we manage to have lots of treats around.

Angie (from over at www.HalfAssedKitchen.com)

Audax Artifex said...

Love how you did two versions. Your photos are great and how you did step by step pictures. THis is a recipe to impress people and it was a smash hit at the New Year's Eve party and I have to do it again for a few birthdays now. It's mainly organisation since each element is easy. Hope you house is going well. Happy NY to you and your family and friends.

Audax Artifex said...

Forgot to mention I saw your picture on tastespotting congrats!!!!!

Chef E said...

Wow you are like me with the assorted blogs...this is a beautiful and well put together dessert!

Maggie said...

Thanks everyone! This was such a fun challenge. Happy New Year!

alana said...

These are gorgeous! And I love your set up photos!

Cakelaw said...

Lovely job Maggie - I like the ebony and ivory theme, and that you made both the standard and dairy-free versions.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your yule logs!

Happy Holidays!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go