Monday, December 29, 2008
Vive les Daring Bakers!
Oh la la, this month's challenge was a doozy.
Oodles of cream, chocolate, nuts, more chocolate and more cream. The Daring Bakers kept the festive spirit alive and well with a gorgeous and cheery challenge direct from France.
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. The original recipe can be found on their blogs.
First of all, kudos to the hosts Hilda and Marion this month for kindly advising all of the Daring Bakers on the forum. It's a big job each month. Not only did Hilda and Marion actively listen and answer all questions, but they deserve extra credit for translating everything into English from French. This month's challenge turned into a virtual cultural exchange and I loved the openness that it encouraged.
This picture is a shot of my -20 degrees Celsius light box.... it was a lot of work but I pulled a few strings and managed to have white snow cover everything. Those beach chairs belong on the Mediterranean coast but they have shivered their way through 17 Canadian winters.
In the spirit of cultural openness fostered by the French connection I decided to decorate my Yule Log with a lovely flowing Noel written on top. My son was a bit puzzled that I didn't chose Merry Christmas or the Italian "Buon Natale".
Well honey, mommy is only so talented and Noel is a lot shorter. Joyeux didn't even make the cut. But, I covered all my cultural bases by .... "posing my Yule Log on Italian beach chairs outside on a freezing Canadian winter day."
Try writing that sentence on the top of a cake.
The cultural exchange on the forum provided a lot of discussion and the liveliest discussion concerned measurements. Measurements are an exercise in the theory of relativity because they are neither universal nor clear to everyone.
Each of our gorgeous bakers comes from a different measurement tradition. Metric fluid measures, metric weight measures, British imperial, and American imperial were flying around the forum like an explosion in a physics lab. Every month, this hot topic needs to constantly be clarified. Luckily, we have some of the best and most helpful bakers in the entire world (no exaggeration) who patiently explain conversions and direct bakers to great resources.
1) There is such a thing as too much chocolate. I almost didn't have a second helping of my Yule Log.
2) This is the second time I have made a frozen creme brulee and each time it was a little too frozen for my taste. Even though there was plenty of fat and I had no problems making or cooking it, I would omit the creme brulee portion as the flavour was frozen and the texture was disappointing.
3) The mousse was gorgeous and silky but a fruit flavour for the mousse would offset the overwhelming chocolateness of the dessert. Not that I'm complaining about the chocolate, but one member of my family barely finished their dessert and (gasp) didn't want seconds. That's just not natural. My flavour choice would be different the next time... or I have to choose chocolate over my hubby.
I am in so much trouble.
4) I enthusiastically over worked the ganache so it was the same colour as the mousse instead of a dark chocolate layer. The subtle caramel flavour from the caramelised sugar was lovely but I have to learn to lay down my beaters at the end of a task.
Would I make this again? Yes, with a few changes of flavour and omitting the creme brulee. This challenge scored a solid nine out of ten for my family so it goes into our family recipe box.
Scroll through the Daring Baker's blogroll and look over the other Yule Log creations.
Gluten free conversion will follow later this week.