I wasn’t going to post this as the cake wasn’t made at home but it’s so lovely and I’d like to share some photos of beautiful Biarritz during the festive season and wish everyone a great Boxing Day (Sant Esteve here in Barcelona) and happy holidays! From their Meilleur du Chef website, this is the recipe we followed for our baking workshop with Chef Philippe, not far from Biarritz on the southwestern French coast. We were asked to choose our preferred fruit purées so I went for passion fruit mousse with a raspberry insert, deliciously light and tangy. We learnt loads and discovered Mycryo cocoa butter that makes tempering chocolate much easier! It was a wonderful holiday break made even sweeter by meeting lovely people at the workshop and eating this delicious passion fruit and raspberry yuletide log cake that you can have for New Years or next Christmas?! Um you could easily make and adapt it for the whole year around… 🙂
They gave us a nice box and bag to take it home. Luckily. We were starting to worry.
During this festive season it’s nice to do an easier post (no taking step-by-step photos, writing out instructions, converting measurements or testing the recipe 3 or 4 times!). I’m giving you the link to the Meilleur du Chef website recipe (I’ll just add info on the decorations used on the day and ideas for adapting). For the recipe in English click on Red Berry Charlotte Yule Log; the French version is at Bûche Charlotte aux fruits rouges. The instructions are very clear with step-by-step photos.
For different flavours substitute the fruit purées in the insert and mousse with any others you prefer. The passion fruit and raspberry combo was popular and another participant had raspberry-mango. Try to have complementary flavours: passionfruit would overwhelm slightly bland pear but blackcurrant (cassis) could work with red fruit.
The colour of the mirror glaze reflects the fruit inside. Dark pink/red shows there’s raspberry but you could glaze with orange/yellow to reflect the mango or passionfruit. It’s Christmas so I chose red – funnily enough the colouring powder was called rouge Père Noël (Father Christmas red). The row of sponge fingers covers imperfections in the mousse and glaze on the sides – something we totally needed and appreciated! Bits of my mousse had come off because it hadn’t time to freeze solid but you can’t really tell now. Aren’t they all lovely?
Don’t overwork the sponge batter or your charlotte fingers will flatten out. And mine cracked a bit because they were so soft and difficult to cut. If you wait a few hours before cutting it’s easier.
After you pipe the mousse at the bottom of the mould, use a small offset spatula or back of metal spoon to push some mousse up the sides – this will give you cleaner sides. Then gently place the insert in the middle.
To make the mirror glaze the chef said you can use sheet gelatine (8g – 4 sheets); soak it to soften in water then squeeze out excess liquid. When mixing the glaze with your bamix (star attachment) keep it under the glaze to avoid making bubbles. Tip it at 45º just below the surface at the top to create a whirpool that sucks in any bubbles. If you don’t have a bamix you can combine with a whisk then stir gently. Leave the glaze overnight to help eliminate bubbles – place a sheet of plastic film over it on contact then gently lift it off the next day and bubbles should come off with the plastic film. To reheat to 30ºC (tepid, not very warm at all but fluid) use a microwave or bain marie.
The curvy segments were prepared in advance and Chef Philippe demonstrated tempering and shaping chocolate squares for the ends. He crumpled up a large sheet of baking paper into a ball then smoothed it out. Spread the tempered chocolate thinly and evenly on the paper, wait for it to turn satin-like so it doesn’t stick to your finger then cut squares (5cmx5cm). Allow to set with another sheet of baking paper and heavy baking tin on top. Very similar instructions are on making chocolate decorative shapes in my basics section but here the chocolate’s spread on uncrumpled paper.
Ingredients and equipment
You could use a round entremets cake ring or inox metal log mould – I was fed up with mine holding on to my cakes for dear life (see my distraught bûche posts from previous years) so enthusiastically bought a flexible silicone mould. Much better! All specialist ingredients and equipment mentioned on the website recipe are linked to order online.
The Capfruit purées in the recipe are 90% pure fruit and 10% sugar. So to make it yourself blend the fruit and sugar: 250g capfruit purée = 225g fruit + 25g sugar or maple syrup. Then taste to check it’s sweet enough.
For the insert you can use gelatine instead of pectin NH, as one person in the comments section did (though the Chef says it’s not quite the same). Use 3 and 1/2 sheets gelatine (7g) or 3 sheets (6g) so it’s a little less solid.
Chef Philippe is so kind, patient, calm and clear with his instructions. He’s also happy to answer questions and provide extra info – luckily I get by okay in the language cause my mum’s French, hurray! Anyway one of the aims stated in the Meilleur du Chef video is to provide a friendly stress-free place for baking as if you were at home. They have a sense of humour and we each got a personalised badge. Tee hee..
It was a bit tiring towards the end but very satisfying and a pleasant experience with time to take notes on the recipe sheets provided and no crazy pressure. Lovely people.
I’m not getting paid or asked to write all this – just sharing with you. It was a lovely experience and combining the workshop with a brief holiday in Biarritz worked out very nicely …
Biarritz is in the Basque country in southwestern France on the breezy Atlantic coast and has been a popular seaside destination with the French for many years. It became a go-to spot for imperial holidays in the 1860s and was made fashionable by the famous French film star Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s. It’s known as a ‘luxurious tourist destination’ (as described by Wikipedia) so years ago when I first went it was a pleasant surprise to see how cute, charming and natural it was with friendly and welcoming people.
You can go for lovely peaceful walks along the coast and it’s a well-known surfing spot.
There’s also some great shopping and pâtisseries.
I love Biarritz. It was my first time there during a relaxed festive season. Strolling to admire Christmas illuminations around town you could hear people happily exclaiming ‘c’est magnifique!’ or ‘que c’est beau!!’ We clapped after the amazing ‘Mythologies’ light show that transformed the church into scenes depicting myths from around the world including Ganesh the Indian God, Celtic designs and Asian lotus blooms. It was all accompanied by music and I swear I heard the theme to Kung Fu Panda at one point…!
Well must be off to enjoy more of the festive season. I’ll be testing out my new silicone log mould next year but in the meantime please have some passion fruit and raspberry bûche charlotte! 🙂