Daring Bakers and A Buche de Noel

This will be a short post as we have just arrived home from a week long vacation in Mexico, where I had the most relaxing time in years. Our friends Paul and Robyn were kind enough to share their vacation house Casa Lagarto outside of Puerto Vallarta. Lots of food, sun, peace and great conversation. I will share some photos from our trip soon, but first it is time for December’s Daring Bakers challenge.

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.

I made this yule log before we left for our trip during a very busy month full of other commitments and parties. It all seems like a blur now, but I can tell you this yule log was delicious and it was devoured in one day, in one seating. A layer of lemon crème brulee with gianduja praline feullentine, dark chocolate ganache, hazelnut dacquoise, dark chocolate mousse and covered in dark chocolate glaze.

Here are the recipes for it and please visit other Daring Bakers for other fabulous interpretations. Now I am off to bed…

Hazelnut Dacquoise

2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner’s sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds). Sift the flour into the mix.

Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.

Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.

Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it. Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc…) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).

Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

2.5 sheets gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (10g) glucose or thick corn syrup
0.5 oz (15g) water
50g egg yolks (about 3 medium)
6.2 oz (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 cups (350g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

Soften the gelatin in cold water.

Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white). Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer. Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.

In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.

Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of WHIPPED cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe. Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).

While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.

Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.

Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Praline Feuillete Insert

3.5 oz (100g) gianduja
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

Melt the gianduja and butter in a double boiler.

Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.

Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Lemon Creme Brulee Insert

1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
Zest of half a lemon

Heat the milk, cream and lemon zest to just boiling.

Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white). Pour the milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.

Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.

Dark Chocolate Glaze

4g or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.

Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling. Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

Assemble the Yule Log

Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.

Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.

Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.

Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.

Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.

Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.

Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.

Close with the Dacquoise.

Freeze until the next day.

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70 Responses to “Daring Bakers and A Buche de Noel”

  1. Rita says:

    Your Buche de Noel looks stunning! The recipe sounds so intimidating, but the results sure look worthy of a try.

  2. I’m glad you’re back, Aran!
    I wish you and your beautifull family a lovely and delicious new year!
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and your extremely good looking photographs with us. God bless you!

  3. cookemila says:

    Aran ya se que estas de vacaciones, me alegro por ti…yo estoy aqui babeando por tu precioso tronco de navidad..alla donde estes, feliz reto y feliz año nuevo

  4. Stunning! That’s such a perfect, elegant and beautiful log! Very well done!

    Best wishes for the New Year!



  5. very tempting! i’m drolling…
    anyway allready add your blog to my link.hope its ok. Happy Holidays and wish you a Happy New Year too!!

  6. Marija says:

    Wonderful, perfect log!

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Aran, it both looks and sounds delicious! Hope your vacation in Mexico was a pleasant one! Happy New Year!

  8. idu says:

    Mexico lindo
    Biziberrituta itzuli izana espero dut, gu zain gaituzu eta!
    eta etorrera goxoa eman diguzu gainera. Argazki oiek ikusteko zain geratzen gara

  9. VeggieGirl says:

    Welcome back!! And welcome home :-)

    AMAAAAAAZING yule log!!

  10. Yasmeen says:

    WOW..very creative presentation.

  11. MeetaK says:

    As always you make me gasp with each of your creations. WHat a lovely looking buche Aran. Wishing you and your family a happy new year!

  12. Welcome back Aran. Glad you had a wonderful vacation. This is much more beautiful & gorgeous than I dared to think it would be. Was eagerly looking forward to this post!!! Hope you & your family have a wonderful 2009, filled with warmth, joy & much happiness!

  13. Hilda says:

    Yay you’re back! It’s gorgeous as always, especially the decorations, and I’m so glad you found a little bit of time to make it. I was inspired by your caramel cake post to surround my log the way you did your cake. I hope you had a lovely vacation and a very Happy New Year!

  14. Gfron1 says:

    Glorious! Here’s to 2009!

  15. Absolutely beautiful – I love the addition of lemon to yours. I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season!

  16. my god that is so many steps, so many steps!!! but brilliantly complicated is oh so so beautiful!!! those put to shame the VAST majority of buche de noels that sit in paris street windows! and i am in love with that mushroom truffle…i’m working on a project with mushrooms and Finland right now…i had a wonderful christmas hope you did as well, happy new years!

  17. cindy* says:

    gorgeous aran! it seems as if your getaway was lovely and relaxing.

  18. Thip says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. So glad you liked this. Your flavor choices sound incredible. Nice work.

  20. Que bueno, vacaciones en Mexico!!! El log esta bellisimo, me encantan sobretodo las pequeñas hojas de chocolate en los lados!

  21. Sugar Chef says:

    Your Yule log is outstanding. Yummy flavors too. Sounds like you had a great vacation in Mexico.
    Have a happy New Year.

  22. Vera says:

    Gorgeous looking log, Aran!

  23. PheMom says:

    I was excited to see how yours turned out and of course it is beautiful! I am so glad you had a wonderful time in Mexico! Happy New Year!

  24. creampuff says:

    You’re an artist. That is seriously beautiful! Happy New Year!

  25. Bea says:

    A true gem, just the way you know well how to make!

  26. Zahra says:

    I just found your blog and I think its amazing!!!! :D I’m totally gonna be following it! your desserts are so decadent, and classy ! And as an amateur photographer….I LOVE your pics!

  27. Absolutely exquisite, Aran! I am never disappointed by your gorgeous creations.

    Happy Holidays to you! :)

  28. Jen Yu says:

    Aran, you must be tired of how often I say this, but your creations are divine and I only keep saying it because it’s true!! :) I hope you and your family had a wonderful vacation. Here is to a happy 2009, dear!

  29. Mrs.French says:

    I can’t decide which is more tempting…the trip to Mexico or your magical Yule Log…I don’t have to decide…in my dreams I could have both…so happy to hear you had a lovely holiday my dear…xo t

  30. Tartelette says:

    No golden mushrooms? :)
    The log is just as gorgeous as you described it…did I recall you saying ‘messy’ inside…I will not believe you from now on!! Or…our messy have two different meanings, ahahaha!! That shiny glaze makes me wish I still had a slice!

    Glad to hear you had a great time!

  31. leaca says:

    Gorgeous stuff. Looks yummy!

  32. Christy says:

    Aran, I am loving your yule log!! And your meringue mushrooms look so so cute!! I’m happy that you enjoyed your vacation in Mexico and had a great time relaxing. I wish Christmas was less stressful for me this year. I hope you’ll have an equally wonderful new year, and send my greetings to your family!

  33. Y says:

    What a pretty log! I can’t wait to see your Mexico holiday pictures :)

  34. Fantastic effort! It all looks so great.

    Your little meringue mushrooms are amazing. :)

  35. Jude says:

    So beautiful.. All the layers so perfectly defined. Did you use the matfer mold?

  36. Aran says:

    Jude- yes i did! i only use them about once or twice a year but they are one of my treasures.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. I’m still trying to reorganize after our trip so I might be slow getting back to you and going by your blogs but I appreciate all your comments!

  37. Candace says:

    Gorgeous! Love all of the details… fabulous!

  38. Candace says:

    BTW… how GORGEOUS is Puerto Vallarta? We were just there a few months ago, and I’m ready to go back!

  39. Aran says:

    Candance- we stayed in a small town 2 hrs outside of PV called Platanitos in the state of Nayarit. Very rural but beautiful. I can’t wait to go back!

  40. breadpitt says:

    happy belated christmas and happy new year . lovely logssssssssssssssssss u have here

  41. Hannah says:

    Absolutely breath-taking… Yours is by far my favorite yule log of the season! It’s elegant, beautiful, and completely perfect.

  42. Zerogluten says:

    Ya te he dicho en otras ocasiones que mi inglés es absolutamente precario, pero he hecho un esfuerzo y he visto que has estado de vacaciones en Mexico. Te han debido de sentar de maravilla, porque el tronco de Navidad te ha quedado absolutamente sublime.
    Feliz Año Aran, te lo deseo de corazón. Ojala te tuviera más cerca y así podía ir a verte y aprender mucho de tí. Soñar es gratis, verdad?
    Millones de besos navideños para tí

  43. gaga says:

    Yours looks amazing! I love the fillings you used. Yum!

  44. Cherie says:

    We finish this year on a perfect note. What a fantastic job you did on this yule log!
    Feliz Ano Nuevo!

  45. Aran- gorgeous! Your elements are so perfectly smoothed into one another!

  46. jillian says:

    Simply gorgeous! It looks so precisely assembled.

  47. Complex and gorgeous, no wonder it was gone in one seating!

    Welcome back, Aran and Happy New Year!

  48. Angela says:

    What a beautiful and elegant buche de Noel, Aran! I love the colour contrasts inside.

  49. Camille says:

    I’m sure your yule log is just as amazing to eat as it is stunning to look at. Lovely! Happy New Year!

  50. linda says:

    Such a pretty buche!
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  51. Lori says:

    How beautiful! I marvel at your artistry, often.

  52. amy says:

    oh my, it looks so scrumptious!

  53. breadchick says:

    If that is messy… well it looks perfect to me!

  54. Venus ~ Vi says:

    It’s simply gorgeous and I heart the meringue mushrooms! The pictures are as stunning as always ^^
    I hope you have a lovely New Year!

  55. morgana says:

    Precioso, perfecto, una delicia…

    Espero que lo hayas pasado fantásticamente bien en esas bien merecidas vacaciones. Aprovecho para felicitarte el año y desearte lo mejor.

    Un abrazo.

  56. Claire says:

    THis is just beautiful! YOu did a fantastic job.

  57. Hi,I try your Pasta of my husband birthday.incredible taste.Your make a nice image, but I did not nice image ,but taste is great…
    You are great .. your recipes are all beautiful.


  58. I am drooling and reading and tasting this amazing creation.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Hi Aran,i ve been following ur blog for a while and i have to tell u it’s one of the best and ur creations are more than amazing
    but i have a question about this cake,what happens after getting it out of the freezer,do u have to leave it for some time at room temperature or in the fridge before cutting it?

  60. I did not make the buche de noel, but I used the chocolate glaze on one of my cakes and wanted to say a huge THANK YOU! I have been looking for this recipe for a loooong time and I’m very glad you had it here)) What I was looking for was a glaze that would keep glossy in and out of the fridge, unlike regular ganache this one is perfect! Thank you!

  61. Aconitum napellus says:

    Just loved your Chocolate Glaze :)
    Just what i searched. Beautiful taste and texture.
    I almost feel bad that i just used that and not the actual buche noel. But i will try it in the future for sure and keep an close eye on your really cool blog :)

  62. Mary says:

    Love the recipe. Is there any way to make this in different stages and freeze prior to Christmas? My Christmas dinner is very involved and I can’t spend all of my time on dessert, but would love to prepare this in stages. Do you have a game plan?

  63. Qing says:

    This looks amazing! I would love to make this for Christmas, can you please tell me what is the dimension of the mold?

  64. […] flavours and layers to experiment with. The three recipes that I combined my elements from were Cannelle Vanille, Patisserie Makes Perfect and La Fee Chantilly (in French). There you can pick your winning […]

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