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Cherry and Chocolate Yule Log -

The holidays have become something of a mad dash for the hubs and I since we have so many people we’re trying to see. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is definitely a blessing. I love having our families nearby and I couldn’t be more grateful to have such great friends and family to visit. One of our many Christmas parties is the gathering of my mother-in-law’s side of the family. It’s always a fun party and it has become a tradition for the person hosting the event to pick a theme. This year’s theme was French and we decided to bring a dessert.

So – I start googling/pinning French desserts… and I quickly realize this is not going to be as simple a proposition as I first thought. So, after much staring and reading and dissecting recipes I whittled the possibilities down to two and had the hubs pick – since it was his side of the family we were cooking for. He, of course, chose the more difficult of the two. That said, I ended up having fun making it, and it got rave reviews from the family (which always makes all the effort of desserts like this totally worth it).

This is (of course) a compilation of a few different recipes . And, as always, it was a bit of a free-for-all in terms of how closely I followed the recipe. Oooo – and sorry about the picture… it was taken with a cell-phone on the drive down to the party (Hubs snagged a picture since I had completely forgotten!). Also, based on the amount of sugar and cream – we’re definitely not going to calculate calories on this…

The cake and syrup come from Food&Wine; the filling and frosting were adapted from Epicurious.

6 large egg yolks, at room temp
¾ c sugar
5 large egg whites, at room temp
1/8 tsp salt
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375⁰ and line a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

With your whisk attachment on your electric mixer, combine the egg whites and salt and mix on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. One at a time, add 6 Tbs of sugar and continue mixing until the whites form glossy, stiff peaks. Remove bowl and set aside.

In a second mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks and 6 Tbs of sugar and mix on high until the yolks are pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

With a rubber spatula, transfer ¼ of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and mix together. Gently fold in remaining whites until completely combine. Sift the cocoa over the mixture and fold in until completely combine. Spread batter into prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes – rotating ½ way through baking.

Allow to cool completely.

Cherry liqueur Syrup
½ c water
¾ c sugar
2 Tbs cherry liqueur

Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pot and bring to a low simmer – dissolving the sugar completely. Remove from heat and stir in the cherry liqueur.

Set aside.

2 Tbl hot water
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 ½ c chilled whipping cream
¼ c powdered sugar
1 tsp cherry liqueur
1 c pitted cherries, drained and quartered

Sprinkle gelatin over hot water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. While it sits, heat up ¼ c cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat, just until warm. Add the gelatin and mix until completely dissolved. Place mixture in the fridge and allow to cool completely.

With your electric mixer, whisk the remaining 1 ¼ c chilled cream with the powdered sugar and cherry liqueur until soft peaks begin to form. Add the chilled gelatin mixture and whisk until it forms stiff peaks.

Assemble the roll:

Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the baking sheet. Cover the top of the cake with a clean sheet of parchment and a large cutting board and invert. Gently remove the baking sheet and peel off the parchment paper. Brush the cake evenly with the cherry liqueur syrup – there will be leftover syrup, I saved mine and have used it in some fun cocktails.

Spread the filling over cake, leaving a narrow border on the sides. Sprinkle the cherry’s evenly over the filling. Using the parchment paper as an aid, start at a long side of cake and gently roll into a “log,” enclosing the filling. Place the roll seam side down on a large platter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

½ c whipping cream
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 Tbs cherry liqueur

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, corn syrup and liqueur, mix together until smooth. Place in fridge to allow the ganache to cool and thicken.

Once cool, whisk the ganache until soft peaks form. Spread the ganache over the chilled roll.

I added textured chocolate “bark” and meringue mushrooms.