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Popping Yule Log

If it's wow-factor you're after this festive season, this layered vanilla mousse popping yule log is just the dessert.

Popping Yule Log

Serves 12-14

Almond Sponge

130g caster sugar 

2 egg yolks, free-range

2 eggs, free-range

7 egg whites, free-range

150g almond meal

Caramel Glaze

600ml cream

75ml milk

300g caster sugar

20ml honey

20g gelatine sheets, softened 

small pinch sea salt

Caramel Pears

1kg pears 

200g caster sugar 

45ml lemon juice 

10g gelatine sheets, softened 

Vanilla Mousse

750ml cream 

3 vanilla pods, de-seeded 

180g egg yolks, free range 285g caster sugar 

25g gelatine sheets, softened 

650ml cream, semi whipped

Popcorn

100g popping corn

cooking oil, for the popping  corn

50ml water

100g caster sugar 

To make the almond sponge, preheat oven to 160˚C. In a stand mixer or with a handbeater, whisk together on a high speed, 50g caster sugar, egg yolks and whole eggs until creamy, fluffy and doubled in volume.

In a clean bowl, whisk 80g caster sugar and egg whites to a semi peak. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in the almond meal.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread the mixture evenly to about half a centimetre thick. Bake for 3 minutes, then turn tray and bake for another 3 minutes. Once baked, remove from the tray and allow to cool.

To make the caramel glaze, in a medium saucepan boil together cream and milk. In another pan make a direct caramel by heating up the pan and gradually adding sugar until a golden blonde colour. Add honey. Add in the warm cream mixture, whisking it continuously to emulsify. Remove from stove top. Stir in gelatine and sea salt.

To make the caramel pears, peel, core and dice pears, place into a pot with caster sugar and cook down. Add lemon juice. Blitz in a blender to make a puree. Add softened gelatine and 150ml of the caramel glaze.

Pour pears into a mould smaller than yule log mould being used but in the same shape. Set in fridge overnight.

To make the vanilla mousse, in a medium saucepan put cream, vanilla pod and seeds on a low heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.

Place egg yolks into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk until creamy and fluffy, or use a hand mixer. Heat sugar in a small saucepan and bring to 121˚C, using a sugar thermometer. Pour over the egg yolks, add gelatine and whisk till warm. Add egg yolk mixture to the infused cream. Once cooled down, add in semi-whipped cream.

To assemble the log, line a yule log mould with cling film, pour vanilla mousse a quarter of the way up the mould. De-mould the pear caramel and lay it down the middle of the yule log mould, then top with more vanilla mousse until mould is three quarters full.

Cut a strip of the almond sponge to fit the mould and place it on top.

Put the mould in the freezer and allow to set solid, 24 hours is best. Once firm, remove from the mould, heat remaining caramel glaze, pour over the mousse and refreeze.

Pop popping corn with some oil. In another saucepan place 50ml water, caster sugar and bring to a blonde caramel.

Turn off the heat and immediately add the popped corn, stirring continually to evenly coat. Pour onto an oil-sprayed baking tray and allow the popcorn to cool.

Place the popcorn on top of the log as a garnish. Slice log.  Optional: serve with thin slices of tempered chocolate.

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