Category Archives: holidays

December’s Daring Bakers Challenge

Welcome to the December 2008 Daring Bakers challenge! Yeah!

And the Challenge this month is…

A French Yule Log!!!

To start with, our hosts for this month were Hilda of Saffron ( & Blueberry & Marion of Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux (Il en faut peu pour etre heureux (

The recipe this months comes from:

The author is : Flore

Here is what our hosts say about our challenge this month:
SO, what is a French Yule Log you say & how is it different from the Yule Log we made last December if you were a member then? In France you can buy 2 kinds of Yule log, either the Genoise & Buttercream type that we made last December, or what is more commonly purchased which is a frozen Yule Log very reminiscent of an ice cream cake, only often it’s not made of ice cream but rather frozen mousse of some sort. In French this is called an entremets which is sometimes loosely translated in English as simply a cream dessert. This also means that this recipe is not holiday-specific, it is also just a scrumptious dessert recipe.”

This recipe comes almost entirely, except for one small labeled portion & some of the variations courtesy of our dear Daring Baker Fairy Tartelette, from the website: Florilège Gourmand (address above) which belongs to Flore (who has not disclosed her last name to me in my exchanges with her) & is unreal. Her website is in French & different portions of the recipe have been pulled from the recipes in the entremets section.”

So, to the business of our Yule log:
#2 THE CHALLENGE RULE is that you MUST MAKE ALL 6 of these elements for the log:
1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing
The assembly will essentially be a Dacquoise Biscuit at the bottom, & the inserts inter-layered with mousse, with an icing finish. That’s about it for rules. Oh yeah, please have fun!”

We were able to use different flavor components to our Yule Log, I will only be sharing the ones that I used, you can find all the delicious different flavors of each component at all of the other Daring Bakers sites:

FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS RECIPE by Flore of Florilège Gourmand
Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)
Preparation time: 10 min + 15 min for baking
Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper
Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom & top layers, or if using a Yule log mold (half-pipe) to line your entire mold with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.
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 (I used Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs, as well as 1 tsp each of baking powder and vinegar)
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1. Finely mix the almond meal and the caster sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2. Sift the flour into the mix.
3. Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4. Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5. Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6. 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).
7. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse I used:
CREAMY DESSERT PUDDINGS This recipe was created by one of our cooking instructors at the McDougall Program, Alex Bury. Prep: 10 min Chill: opt Serves: 4

2 12.3 ounce boxes lite silken tofu (1 box silken, 1 box firm)
½ cup Wonderslim cocoa powder
¾ cup agave nectar (use ½ cup honey)
¼ cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor & process until creamy & smooth. Serve at once or cover & refrigerate until serving time.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert
Preparation time: 10 min
Equipment: pan, whisk. If you have an immersion blender, it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar & then adding the cream. It may splatter & boil.
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content) (soy creamer)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened (Earth Balance)

1. Make 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).
2. While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel & stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter & boil.
3. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds & stir until smooth.
4. Add the softened butter & whip hard & fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth & shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert
Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate (dark chocolate)
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter (Earth Balance)
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline (Hazelnut pralines from last months challenge)
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes)/rice krispies/corn flakes/Special K (Nutty Rice, gluten free cereal)

1. Melt the chocolate & butter in a double boiler.
2. Add the praline & the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3. Spread between 2 sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert
It is not a crème brulée per see, it’s a recipe for “Pastry Cream” (Custard) a few alternative bakers used this one as a sub. I think it ended up too floury to me, but it wasn’t bad.

From “The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (Highly recommend)
65g granulated sugar (1/3c)
16g unbleached AP flour (2 tablespoons)
32g cornstartch (4 tablespoons)
60ml water (1/4c)
315ml nondairy milk (I’ve used soy & it works well) (1 1/3c)
2 teaspoons lemon or vanilla extract

Beat together sugar, flour, cornstartch & water on high speed until creamy, about 2 mintues. Set aside.
Bring milk to a simmer, pour about 80ml (1/3cup) of hot milk into the sugar mixture & stir to combine. Add the mixture back to the saucepan with the milk. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It will begin to thicken immediately.
Scrape the bottom & sides of pan as you whisk. Cook until it begins to bubble, then whisk (as vigorously as you can) for 30 secs, and remove from heat. Stir in extracts. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing
Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)
Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan
Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin (vegan gelatin powder)
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content) (soy creamer)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2. Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3. Add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4. 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.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log
Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1) Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.
2) Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.
3) Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute & set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
4) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around & on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
5) 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.
6) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
7) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
8 ) 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.
9) Close with the Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

Unmold the cake/log/whatever & set on a wire rack over a shallow pan. Cover the cake with the icing. Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc…
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.

Completed Log:


This is a tip I got from a fellow DB’er and it helped a lot!

Make these first in this order:
1. Creme Brulee (freeze then cut)
2. Mouse (refrigerate at least 1 hour)
3. Praline insert (freeze then cut)

Then assemble these 3 items & freeze for 2-3 hours until set.
Now make these:
1. Dacquoise Biscuit (allow to cool and cut)
2. Ganache Insert (pipe on previous frozen Yule log)

Finish assembly and FREEZE UNTIL NEXT DAY.

Lastly make Icing, remove log from mold & coat.


I forgot to say how much I liked this one.  It tastes great (although I usually scrape off 1/2 of the creme brulee layer). 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!  For all of you Irish out there, or just Irish lovers, here is a take on Corned Beef and Cabbage for you.  Now, its not the same, just something to have in place of the very salty and not healthy for you corned beef.  This one is good with colcannon potatoes or just plain mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

Miso-Glazed Tofu with Cabbage and Peppers

This one is wonderful by itself or served with mashed potatoes or over rice. A small salad on the side or a piece of artisian bread is also a great way to serve this.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Rest Time: 30 to 60 minutes Marinade Time: 30 to 60 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

1 lb. Exta-firm tofu, cut into 8 slices (or triangles if you want to get fancy)

3 TBSP mirin

3 TBSP miso

2 TBSP ginger, minced

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP soy sauce, reduced sodium

1 ½ tsp sugar

1 tsp chile paste with garlic

1 small green cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges

2 large red bell peppers, seeded and sliced (about ½” wide)

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced at an angle

1 ½ TBSP sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Press your tofu by placing it on a wire rack over the sink, or a plate, and put a plate on top of the tofu with a brick or heavy cans (like a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes). Let it sit for 1 hour, then cut into 8 slices, or, for a “fancier” presentation, cut into 4 slices, then cut each of those on the diagonal. (You can also press the tofu overnight in the refrigerator)

  2. Whisk together the mirin, miso, ginger, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, and chile paste in a small bowl until combined.

  3. In a shallow pan, arrange the tofu in a single layer and cover with 1/3 cup of the marinade, turning the tofu to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to and hour.

  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and have a second piece of foil ready to cover the baking sheet completely (you may need two smaller sheets to cover well).

  5. Arrange the cabbage wedges in two rows on your baking sheet and scatter the bell peppers around the cabbage. Sprinkle with the green onions. Pour the rest of the marinade over the vegetables and cover tightly with the remaining foil.

  6. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

  7. When the vegetables are tender, remove from the oven and place the tofu slices in the center of the baking sheet, overlapping them, and cook uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes more.

  8. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve over rice, with mashed or colcannon potatoes, or just with a piece of hearty bread.

Tip: To toast the sesame seeds, place them in a non-stick skillet over low heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 5 minutes. They will become fragrant when they are done. Don’t overheat, they burn easily.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well Magazine 1999


Colcannon Irish Potatoes

This is a classic Irish Mashed Potato dish, made with kale or cabbage. You could probable use spinach or Swiss chard as well.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Yield: 4 servings

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (Yukon Gold or Russet work well)

1 cup kale, julienned

2 leeks, julienned

½ medium onion, diced

1/3 cup almond milk (preferably room temperature)

2 TBSP roasted garlic, minced

3 TBSP nutritional yeast (opt)

1 bunch green onions (or chives)

3 cups vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Add the potatoes to a pot of water, bring to a boil and cook until tender.

  2. In a skillet, cook the kale, leeks, and vegetable broth until the vegetables are tender, then strain. (You can use the reserved liquid as broth in another dish. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.)

  3. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher, a ricer or a food mill. Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast (if using), garlic and vegetable mixture to the potatoes.

  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 I hope you enjoy it!  A little Guiness alongside would not be bad either (or a vegan stout, since Guiness is not vegan, their refining process uses isinglass).