Final product!

Red berry insert

Finger biscuit cake

White chocolate mousse

Lila

By Lila Bultel, Photography Christoff Hoffmann

Parlez-vous franҫais? Well, apart from many of us not being able to speak the language of love, few of us know the delicate art to making delicious home-made croissants, the perfect puff pastry, creamy crème pâtissière, and what about a melt-in-the-mouth pastel Parisian macaron?

SA Home Owner recently turned to the lovely Lila Bultel, who share all her wonderful culinary skills and secrets for a festive red berry and white couverture chocolate Christmas log.

Serves: 6 (25cm long log)

Time: 2 days

To be completed on the day that you are serving at least 4 hours before service…

Step 1: Red berry insert

Ingredients:

300g mixed berry pulp (raspberries, strawberries, red currents, blue berries, etc.)
25g sugar
3 sheets of gelatine (6g)

Method:

1.  Rehydrate the gelatine in a large amount of cold water.
2.  Heat the berry pulp gently with the sugar (do not boil).
3.  Drain and add the gelatine and mix well.
4.  Pour the mixture into a narrow gutter shape mould (approximately 8cm in length)
5.  Keep in the freezer.

Step 2: Raspberry syrup

Ingredients:

100g raspberry pulp (fresh or frozen)
50g sugar
50ml water
1/3 lemon juice

Method:

1.  Mix all the ingredients together, except lemon juice.
2.  Boil on a gentle heat for a few minutes and then add the lemon juice.
3.  Reserve.

To be completed on the day…

Finger biscuit cake

Ingredients:

90g egg white
75g sugar
60g egg yolk
75g cake flour sifted
25g icing sugar

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Beat the egg white to firm peak stage, adding the sugar bit by bit. When the sugar has been fully incorporated, decrease the speed of the mixer and add the egg yolks gently.
3. Mix for a few seconds further.
4. Fold the sifted flour delicately into the beaten eggs and sugar mixture and incorporate it delicately with a rubber spatula, don’t over mix.
5. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a 10mm nozzle.
6.  Pipe rectangles onto a tray covered with a baking sheet.
7. Bake for approximately 10 minutes (checking).
8. Leave to cool on a wire wrack.

(This finger biscuit cake can be made ahead of time, and will keep in the fridge, wrapped in tinfoil for up to one week)

White couverture chocolate mousse

Ingredients:

60ml milk
60ml liquid cream
30g egg yolk
10g sugar
1½ sheets of gelatine (3g)
250g white couverture chocolate
210ml whipping cream

Method:

1.  Rehydrate the gelatine sheets in cold water.
2.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan, boil the milk and the cream.
3.  In a separate bowl beat the yolks with the sugar. Add to them some of the boiled apparel while stirring continuously.
4.  Pour back the mixture into the saucepan and cook to 84° C using a thermometer.
5.  Do not boil.
6.  When ready drain and add the gelatine to the crème anglaise.
7.  Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and stir in the crème anglaise, bit by bit while stirring in gentle circles to obtain a shiny ganache.
8. Whip the cream to soft peak stage and incorporate delicately into the ganache mixture.

Making the log:

1.  Create a log mould by first removing the top of 2 water bottles.
2.  Place the open ends (where you have removed the top of the water bottles) together, end to end.
3.  Then push together slightly to overlap the two halves – to the desired length of the log (approximately 25cm).
4.  Secure with sticky tape.
5.  Line the mould with baking paper.
6.  Cut the finger biscuit cake as per the length and width of the mould.
7.  You will require two layers of finger biscuit cake.
8.  Brush the two finger biscuit cake pieces generously with the raspberry syrup.
9.  Pour 1/3 of the white chocolate mousse into the mould.
10. Add in a long line, the frozen red berry inserts (the rounded edge of the red berry inserts should be placed downwards, with the straight surface on top).
11. Cover with a layer of finger biscuit cake, spread with the raspberry syrup.
12. Add the remaining white chocolate mousse.
13. Finish with the second piece of finger biscuit cake, spread with the raspberry syrup, face downwards.
14. Place the log in the freezer for a minimum of three hours.

4 hours before serving:

1. Take out of the freezer the log and de-mould onto a presentation plate.
2.  Using a scraper or large fork, scrape the sides of the log to create the bark effect.
3.  Decorate to your taste with a variety of mixed red berries and raspberry syrup.
4.  Return to the fridge until ready to serve.

For more information about Lila and a roster of her upcoming French cooking classes, please visit: Lila’s French Cooking or contact her on 011 706 73 61 or 078 383 2929 or lila@lilasfrenchcooking.co.za