Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Daring Bakers; Lime and Hazelnut Bûche de Noël

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.

Their announcement started with the words: the gauntlet is thrown.
You can say that again! I was really eh impressed by the length of the recipe(s) given. Although both lovely ladies ensured us that once we had chosen our flavourings, following the steps in completing the challenge was fairly easy I wasn't convinced. I mean this is December. Right in the middle of all celebrations, cooking and entertaining we were supposed to make an 18 page recipe?
Of course they were right. And I waited until the last possible moment to discover that. Yesterday afternoon I took my first step. My husband warned me to not play with caramel that late at night, so this morning I finished up adding the last layer, and making the icing. Once I broke up the recipes in steps to take (and please go over to Hilda/Marion for the simplified recipe) and organised my kitchen/thinking, it all went smooth from there.
Naaa, you wouldn't believe that would you? 
- Not understanding to line the creme brulee mold resulting in a set brulee which wouldn't come out in one piece? I froze it, dipped the underside in hot water, shook and there it was. Phew!

- Steeped the cream-milk mixture with lime zest.... it would have been so wise to strain it. Believe it would. Beginners mistake!

- Made a nice white chocolate praliné, it firmed up as it should. Then Mrs Clumsy stepped in and almost dropped it while transferring it to the fridge.... grabbing and crushing it in the process. Jigsaw praline in my Bûche.
My flavours and the order of the steps I took:
a) White chocolate cornflakes praliné (nice and crunchy, better than I expected)
b) lime and vanilla flavoured créme brulée (very smooth and silky, great flavour!)
c) Milk chocolate mousse (mmm, not entirely sure about this one, a bit too sweet)
d) Hazelnut-Lime dacquoise (I loved this one!)
e) Lightly salted Caramel ganache insert (caramel! How can this not be good?)
f) Bittersweet chocolate icing (Eeek! I must have done something wrong. Not good.)

The one thing I played with was the Ganache insert which was supposed to be more about chocolate with a caramel accent. I reversed it. Making some more caramel, using slightly less cream and adding just 50 grams of chocolate for firmness and a bit of extra flavour. I wanted oozing caramel in this one!! (Left over stuff is excellent in coffee!)

When having completed yet another DB challenge I go over the steps and think about what I learned and if it was worth it. The problem for me is that I'm not much of a sweet person. I'll pick a nice baguette with cheese or paté or whole rye chicken sandwich over any dessert almost any time. Choose a cheese dessert instead of chocolate mousse. The whole Daring Baker's exercise for me is about mastering (and sometimes failing) a technique, trying to get "behind the scene" and figure out how it's done. I loved to learn how to make a mirror cake, how to make excellent caramel sauce, créme Anglaise, or buttercream and genoise, and get my hands in some magic dough. I will never forget the mindboggling bagels either! 
This one for me was about learning how to make a velvety smooth créme brulée and this dacquoise was an eye-opener! Thanks to Hilda and Marion for yet another challenge!

Can't tell you how it tasted, I sliced and photographed (badly!) while still fully frozen and my tastebuds are not exactly in tiptop shape at the moment. Hope to get better pics tomorrow when it's going to be served. Advil here I come!


  1. That you managed to work out such a complicated recipe these days; I'm very impressed!

  2. I did line my dishes and had a heck of a time with my creme brulee, fortunately there were more layers to cover it up! Your yule log looks fantastic. Well done.

  3. Applause! Applause! Bravissima!

  4. Oh yeay! I'm so glad you put it together at the last minute, just so I could see what you'd decided to do and that you enjoyed learning some new things out of it (that is a reward for me). Have a fantastic New Year and please feel better.

  5. Yay! It looks great! Hope everyone in your household loved it too! (especially after all that work! :D)

  6. Beautiful! I love the lime / hazelnut combo, and I heartily approve of gooey caramel too :)

  7. I think the praline was the hardest layer to cut through once it was frozen, so maybe having it break into pieces was a blessing. You made an interesting flavor combination, nice job.

  8. Mmmm I can almost taste the lime and caramel and chocolates... lovely! It's true that we can learn something from each challenge...mine was the mousse with that syrup...wicked good in dark chocoalte...not so sweet that way. Great job!

  9. mmmm...yummy!looks delish!

  10. Looks great.. I like the decorations and defined layers ;)

  11. oh i love the flavor combination. looks so divine. well done!

    wishing you a fantastic year ahead and i look forward to all your delicious creations!

  12. Oooh up the caramel and reduce the chocolate in the ganache, what a brilliant idea! Especially with the salt. Think I will buy some ice cream today and try that for dessert!
    Your layers look lovely.

  13. Well, done my friend! So wish we could share.
    Lime - you take me by surprise again. Loved the hazelnut.

  14. Oooh, Lime and Hazelnut, great flavour combo!

    Happy New Year! :)

  15. Looks delicious!! great job.

  16. What a beautiful log! Really perfect! Well done!



  17. Hazelnut-Lime? THAT SOUNDS AMAZING!!! I just joined DB and am excited (and terrified!) for my first challenge. Your log looks wonderful and I bet it tasted fantastic!!!

  18. That's a great flavor combination - the lime and the white chocolate. And I did line my mold for the creme brulee, but the liquid went under the liner, so I had to do what you did to get it out!

  19. Your log is beautiful! I love your decorations! Are they frozen cherries rolled in sugar??? I scanned your blog but couldn't see if you said ... regardless they are SO pretty! Great job!

  20. Marjoke: I was surprised too! Didn't think I would do it.

    Haha Ivonne, thank you.

    Lynn & Madam Chow & Jude: that was a tough one to get right wasn't it?

    Thank you Natalie, Rosa, Jamy, Candice, Tanna, we really love those flavours.

    Jenny, I think we and Elle should go for coffee and ice soon!!

    Thanks Meeta, so nice! Wishing you a fantabulous blog and life year!

  21. Hilda, you really gave us some work out for December, thnks for restoring my belief in hazelnut dacquoise!

    Engineer Baker: Another one for our gooey caramel coffe klatsch!

    Thank you Y! Yours was gorgeous!

    Bakinglikebetty: Cranberries! Dunked in still hot simple syrup (some of the water replaced by orange juice) steeped overnight and rolled in extra fine sugar and left out to dry. Really delicious sweet tangy crunch.

  22. LOVE your flavor combination! Great ideas!

  23. wow! you were so imaginative in the combo!
    it looks and sounds wonderful.

  24. Lime is an inspired choice! A little zing to perk up the sweetness. It looks wonderful!

  25. I can't get over the fact that you all completed this formidable task! And well too!

    Like you, I much prefer savoury things. And like my sister, I have a horror of recipes that say "meanwhile". This 18 pager (that I'm afraid to look at) must be full of "meanwhile"s.

    But after all is said and done, the cake looks spectacularly good. If I weren't such a coward, I'd try making one myself.



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