Method for Chocolate & Salted Caramel Mini Yule Logs:
For the almond rich shortcrust pastry (make the day before): Organise the necessary ingredients.
Place the soft butter in the stand mixer recipient...
... add the icing sugar...
... almond powder...
... and salt.
Add the egg yolks...
... and combine for a few seconds...
... then add the flour and baking powder (sifted together). Make sure you add the ingredients in the order mentioned above.
Combine in the stand mixer, starting at low speed then gradually increasing the speed...
... until the dough has a homogeneous consistency. Make sure you do not knead the pastry too much.
Cover with cling film and refrigerate...
... for at least one hour. Ideally, prepare the pastry the day before.
For the salted caramel:Organise the necessary ingredients.
Steep the gelatine sheets in a bowl filled with cold water.
Place the butter in a saucepan and put on the heat.
Add the castor sugar...
... and stir at regular intervals with a rubber spatula...
... until the sugar turns into a caramel. Don't wait until the caramel turns dark, which will give a bitter taste to the almonds. The caramel should be pale.
Add fleur de sel (if you're using unsalted butter).
Add the whipping cream at room temperature (to avoid thermal shock and splatter).
Combine carefully with a whisk until the caramel has dissolved completely.
Add the soft gelatine sheets, strained beforehand. If you're using gelatin powder, you'll need 4 grams, then hydrate in 6 times its volume of water (i.e. 24 grams). Set aside until you get a soft gelatine mass.
Whisk vigorously until the gelatine has dissolved completely.
Transfer the caramel into a tray and set aside to cool until warm, then pour the soft caramel into a piping bag.
For the chocolate Chantilly cream (make the day before): Organise the necessary ingredients.
Pour the whipping cream and glucose syrup in a saucepan.
Place on the heat and bring to a boil.
Place the dark and milk chocolate pistoles in a bowl...
... and pour the boiling cream over the chocolate.
Let the chocolate melt without stirring for about a minute. The chocolate chunks will start to melt with the hot cream.
Combine with a whisk, starting from the centre outwards, until homogeneous.
Cover the surface of the preparation with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Roll out the pastry over a sheet of greaseproof paper. I recommend using a rolling pin with spacer to obtain a regular thickness easily.
Using the large cutter supplied with the éclair silicone mould, cut the pastry to create a base for 10 éclairs.
Place the pastry shapes on a Silichef XL perforated baking sheet lined with a Silpat baking mat.
Although we're making 10 individual yule logs, I recommend making twelve pastry shapes. Better be safe than sorry! Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Take the pastry out of the fridge, then bake in a fan-assisted oven preheated at 160°C (gas 3) for 20 minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven...
... and leave to cool at room temperature.
For the dark chocolate mousse: Organise all the necessary ingredients.
Place the cold whipping cream in the food mixer recipient.
Beat the whipping cream until you obtain a whipped cream. The consistency should be creamy and smooth.
Reserve the whipped cream in the fridge.
Pour the castor sugar and a little water in a saucepan. You just need enough water to moisten the sugar.
Cook the sugar until the temperature reaches 118°C. I recommend using a digital thermometer with probe.
Pour the cooked sugar over the eggs at room temperature. Add the sugar with the beater at low speed to avoid splatter.
When the sugar is fully incorporated, increase the speed and beat until cooled down completely. This preparation is called 'pâte à bombe'.
In the meantime, melt the chocolate in the microwave by periods of 30 seconds so it doesn't burn, stirring with a spatula every time.
Prepare the necessary ingredients for the chocolate mousse: pâte à bombe, whipped cream and melted chocolate.
Add the melted chocolate to the pâte à bombe...
... and whisk vigorously. Proceed quickly to prevent the chocolate from setting.
Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the chocolate preparation and combine with a whisk...
... until homogeneous.
Pour the chocolate preparation over the remaining whipped cream...
... and combine gently with a rubber spatula in a vertical, rotating motion...
... until the consistency is smooth and homogeneous. This chocolate mousse is a great filling for cakes as it won't collapse when you slice it.
Transfer the dark chocolate mousse into a piping bag. The use of a nozzle is not necessary.
Place an éclair silicone mould on a baking sheet.
Cut the tip of the bag with scissors to obtain a hole with a 1cm diameter.
Fill each cavity halfway up with chocolate mousse.
Using a small cranked spatula, create a volcano shape so the cream goes up on the sides.
Repeat for all cavities.
Pipe more chocolate mousse in the centre.
Spread with the palette knife.
Stretch the cream towards the sides to get rid of air bubbles.
Cut the tip of the piping bag with salted caramel to create a diameter of 5mm.
Pipe a lace of salted caramel in the centre of each cavity.
Cover with chocolate mousse...
... and even the surface with the small cranked spatula.
The result should look like this.
Cover the surface with cling film and store in the freezer. Up to this stage, this recipe can be prepared in advance.
For the chocolate icing: Organise the necessary ingredients. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave, working in periods of 30 seconds. Pour the melted chocolate in a dispenser jug.
Add the grape seed oil. Grape seed oil has a neutral taste.
Mix with a Bamix hand blender until homogeneous.
Add the chopped caramelised hazelnuts...
... and combine with the rubber spatula. Keep the icing at a temperature of 30°C. If the icing cools down, reheat a little in the microwave.
On the day: Remove the mini yule logs from the freezer. If your freezer features a fast freeze function, use it.
Remove the cling film...
... and carefully release the mini logs from the silicone mould.
Transfer the logs on a rack, placed on top of a deep tray in order to collect the icing excess.
Pour the icing in one stroke, from one end of the log to the other.
Even the flat surface with the cranked spatula. Pour the icing over one log at a time, as the it will set in a few seconds.
Repeat with all the logs.
When the icing has set, after a couple of minutes, lift each log with the cranked spatula and arrange over the pastry base. Repeat the operation for all the mini logs.
The result should look like this.
Arrange the logs over a baking sheet.
In the meantime, beat the chocolate Chantilly cream in the stand mixer with the flat beater attachment. Beat for a few tens of seconds until smooth and pale. Transfer the preparation into a piping bag. fitted with a Saint-Honorénozzle. Pipe the chocolate Chantilly on the surface of the logs with a zigzag pattern.
Arrange a few milk chocolate crispy pearls over the Chantilly cream.
Sprinkle a few gold flakes over the mini yule logs for a festive touch.
Other option: Pipe the chocolate chattily in small quenelles over the surface of each log.
Sprinkle with gold flakes.
Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve. Defrost for at least 2 hours. Enjoy this delicious dessert and have a sweet Christmas!