yule log

Do you want to surprise your guests with a sweet that’s not only very good, but also very dramatic? Try the Christmas yule log. You make it by starting with a biscuit base, which then takes the shape of the wooden log that slowly burned in the fireplace, and traditionally was supposed to smolder from Christmas until New Year.

The biscuit. What is it?

Biscuits are the base doughs. In order to bake them, they must be spread over the pan at a thickness of no more than one centimeter. Sometimes they are also baked in thicker layers to make bases for cakes to be filled. In the first case, the oven temperature must be very high (220-240 °C) for a short cooking time (3-6 min.). In the second case, the temperature decreases (180-200 °C) while the cooking time increases (as much as 20 min.) according to the thickness of the cake.

They are used as decorative bases or borders for cakes or deserts with creams (mousse, semifreddi, bavaresi). Some versions, softer and with more sugar, are used to prepare rolls or yule logs.

One special version of the biscuit is the meringue biscuit or dacquoise, typical of southwestern France. It is called meringue because it is made with only egg whites. The dacquoise also lends itself to being used as a base for cakes, but it is highly recommended that it be preserved at below-zero temperatures (-18 °C). Its high sugar content means that it does not freeze easily and resists well in the cold with semifreddos or ice cream cakes. Unlike the first type of biscuit, however, it is not possible to roll it.

How is it prepared?

Ingredients for a pan (60x40 cm)

For the first mounting:
9 egg yolks    180 g
Granulated sugar    180 g

For the second mounting:
7 egg whites    280 g
Granulated sugar   150 g
00 flour   260 g

Whip the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl. Separately whisk the egg whites adding the other sugar. Combine the two masses gently and incorporate the flour, sifting it directly onto the mixture, stirring with a hand whisk, from bottom to top without using too much force. Pour onto a pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake at 220 °C for 8 min. Turn down the temperature and use as needed.

Now prepare the biscuit for the rolled cakes

Ingredients for a pan (60x40 cm)

For the first mounting:
10 egg yolks    200 g
Granulated sugar    170 g
Honey    30 g

 For the second mounting:
5 egg whites    300 g
Granulated sugar    100 g
Liquid vanilla    3 g
00 flour    250 g

Whip the egg yolks, the honey with the sugar and the vanilla in the planetary. Separately whisk the egg whites adding the other sugar. Combine the two masses gently and incorporate the flour, sifting it directly onto the mixture, stirring with a hand whisk, from bottom to top without using too much force. Pour onto a pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake at 230 °C for 3-4 minutes. Turn down the temperature and use as needed.

 And at the end, fill your yule log

Once the biscuit is ready, fill it with custard, butter cream, mousse, jam or Bavarian cream. Then roll the cake carefully, wrap it with parchment paper and place it for at least an hour in the refrigerator to cool. Before serving, cover with chocolate cream and, with the prongs of the fork, make striations on the surface. Put it in the fridge to sit for another hour and then serve, garnished with sugar granules, red berries, and holly leaves.

How Much Do You Know…?

For preparing the bases, it is advisable to use:

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart (Washington Irving)