Yule Log

Recipe from What's For Lunch, Honey? 

Plain Genoise:

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off. I used all-purpose flour as I was unable to get cake flour.
¼ cup cornstarch

one 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again. Here I used my normal baking sheet to make the genoise as I do not have a jelly pan.

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees C.

Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm. Test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch.

Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.

While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake does not overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.

While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven. Humidify a tea towel and tip the genoise on to it. Place a sheet of waxed paper on top and using the tea towel to help, gently roll the genoise. Allow to cool like this. This helps the genoise to roll a little more easily when it has been filled with the buttercream.

Chocolate Buttercream & Filling:

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
100-120 g chocolate - 70% cocoa
200g pears in syrup - chopped. I had some baby pears in a jar that were preserved in unsweetened syrup.

Set a bowl over a pot with simmering water and melt the chocolate. Set aside and allow to cool.

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate.

Marzipan Mushrooms:

8 ounces almond paste
2 cups icing sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
Cocoa powder

To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.

Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.

Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.

Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.

Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms. Smudge with cocoa powder.




Assembling the Yule Log

Carefully unroll the genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper. Spread with half the chocolate buttercream and add the chopped pears.

Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.

Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.

Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end. Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top. Or if you like leave it whole as I did.

Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.

Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.

Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.

Serve chilled.