Thursday, January 1, 2009

And now for the review.....

eh. that's right -- just eh. That's being nice. I had a much stronger reaction to this dessert the more I thought about it. It looks good. It looks yummy actually. And since it looks so yummy, my low expectations rose to about middling. But that was unfounded. It just wasn't that tasty for all the work and time and money that went into making this yule log.

I think certain elements were good --the dark chocolate mousse was very good. Although I don't know how that happened. The recipe I posted below isn't the one I used. Since I wanted to have chocolate and raspberry to cut the chocolate in the final dessert, I used the vanilla mousse recipe, halved it and added melted chocolate to one half and raspberry puree to the other. The raspberry mousse wouldn't set up and turned icy, while the chocolate stayed creamy. Go figure.

The praline crisp - I made the chocolate one with Vanilla Almond Special K and coconut - was good and added a nice contrast in texture, but the flavor was lost in all the chocolate.

The creme brulee was just a block of ice. It didn't setup all that well, although I only had a minimum of trouble getting it into the mold.

The ganache layer was good, but could've been thinner. As much as I love chocolate, there was a bit too much of it for even me.

The dacquoise was very good - on it's own. I don't think it added anything to the dessert though.

I may rant a bit here, so be forewarned. I'm tossed about this challenge. I think that the recipes may not have been the best and I think the instructions were vague and not nearly as descriptive as they needed to be. Now, I am fully allowing for the fact that my execution of the recipes wasn't what it could have been. If I had the time, I could've researched elements to make sure I knew what I was shooting for. I hadn't made a dacquoise before, so although it was golden....was it supposed to be crispy? It was on the edges and that was very good. But the center was chewy, which was still good, but I had no idea if I should bake it longer to hopefully get it more crispy in the center or if chewy was what I needed. I did try to do some research on this, but there was nothing definitive.

Since I started this so late and we had the 3-day window to post, I had the benefit of reading other blogs. Well, it wasn't a benefit per se, since I had already made most of the elements. But it did prepare me for what was going to go wrong. I read Hilda-our host's post about the yule log. In her post she talks about the need for high fat content in the cream and milk for the creme brulee. The fat is what keeps it from being icy. That would've been nice to know prior to making this dessert. That isn't a dig on Hilda, really. But after reading that, I knew my creme brulee would be icy. I used 2% milk because that's what I have here. And it's been used in creme brulee to beautiful results before. If I had given it some thought, I too might have realized that would be an issue and compensated with more heavy cream. Or I might not have, so a little note stating what may be the obvious would've been helpful.

I think that given all the elements, all the ingredients ($$), time and effort that is required in this dessert, more description and clearer instructions were needed. I'm tempted to make this again, just to get it right. But ultimately, I don't go ga-ga over frozen desserts. So, rather than make this again, I will take what I've learned and move on to the next challenge. But I encourage anyone reading this to absolutely try this for yourselves. I'm sure you will have different, and probably better, results. And you will learn, which is just as important as having a fabulous end result. So, go forth and bake kids!


Lynn said...

I am impressed that you took time to write this blog entry. I, too, am not all that thrilled about frozen desserts, even ice cream. I think you had some constructive criticism.

I read so many blogs and the majority of them were thrilled with this challenge and loved the yule log, I didn't mind the challenge, but, I thought the dessert was over rated.

Still you ended on a positive note which I liked.

Tara said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your yule log... I think the frozen dessert went down well here in Australia because it was so hot outside! Here's to a better challenge next month :)

Audax Artifex said...

I really liked your review and the honest (and right) comments you wrote I thought this was one of the best desserts I have every made and it feed 26 adults at the end of a very large NY BBQ party. And only cost about $10 (I use Aldi). BUT I think the biggest plus of this dessert were the six different elements were I learnt so much about so many distinct recipes and the organisation skills that were needed to acheive some success in this challenge.