The Daring Bakers' Challenge this month was quite the experience. I decided to make it for my family when I went home for Christmas. Turns out, I had the perfect opportunity to make it...I was left alone for an entire day while my parents went to a wedding and brother went to see the Rockettes with his girlfriend. 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. Though the end result of this challenge was very pretty, I don't think I'd make it again. The combination of elements just wasn't fantastic enough to do all that work. Let's go element by element.
The Daquoise: I made a pecan version. I think this was very similar to the cake that we used in the opera cake. For some reason, I really like this kind of cake, though this one was a bit sticky. In the whole of the dessert, I think it added more to texture than taste as the chocolate overwhelmed it's delicate taste. Very simple and quick to make.
Ganache insert: I made a cinnamon version; however, I don't feel that you could really appreciate the cinnamon taste. I almost burned it because my sugar wasn't cooking evenly. This ended up pretty good and strong flavored. I enjoyed the thickness of the texture.
Crisp insert: OH MY! I almost burned my house down (literally) trying to make this. I decided to do the coconut version, so I placed my coconut in the toaster oven to toast. When the timer went off, I returned to the kitchen to smoke. I thought, "Man! I burned the coconut," which I did. However, when I opened the toaster door the coconut burst into flames. I just stood there trying to figure out WHAT to do. The flames didn't get any smaller when I tried to blow it out and the flames were soon lapping at the cabinet above the toaster. AHHH! I went to get the fire extinguisher (which I REALLY didn't want to use b/c it makes a big mess). PROBLEM...I couldn't figure out how to use it! So, by this time the flames were a bit smaller; I decided to just grab the pan by the corner (with a pot holder) and take it to the sink...fire doused! All that to say...this crisp was pretty boring! No praline, no coconut, just chocolate and rice cereal. I must say, however, that the crunch added a lot to the finished product while at the same time making it difficult to cut! I bet my mom liked this element because of the added crunch! :-)
Creme Brulee insert: What can I say...this took SO long to cook. I put it in the water bath as suggested but it never cooked in this. When I finally took it out it cooked pretty quickly. Overall, it took about 2 hours just to cook! Then it had to cool, etc. Additionally, when frozen, it got an icy texture. I did a coffee version, which when taste alone did taste of coffee; however, with all the other flavors going on, didn't really add much. Another curious thing with this element was what it did after frozen. As you can see, it pretty much covered the entire area of my log. However, when I cut into it, it had shrunk! Since when do things SHRINK when they freeze? Apparently, creme brulee does!
Mousse: I did a white chocolate version. This was my favorite part! I could have just eaten this alone. It was SO good. Wonderful just chilled as well as frozen. Mmmm!
Glaze: I had to cook this twice. For some reason, I have a hard time getting my glazes to be thick enough. The first version would have just rolled off the log leaving ugliness. So, I started over and paid a little more attention ending in what I consider success! This was probably the most challenging DB event I've done yet! Thanks to our hostesses for pushing me to do something I would not have done otherwise. To see more results, visit the blogs listed here. The recipe is posted on Hilda's site.