Christmas logs: deciphering these pastry terms to better understand what you are going to eat

Christmas logs: deciphering these pastry terms to better understand what you are going to eat

Even though cooking shows are popular and chefs have become social media stars, ordinary people don’t always understand what they are explaining when they present their creations. This is especially true when pastry chefs use their professional jargon. During the next Christmas shopping, many of you will undoubtedly be stunned by the many terms describing Christmas logs. We have identified the ones that come back most often to explain them to you.

Mucilage

It is the new fashionable ingredient among the great pastry chefs. At the Four Seasons George V, chef Michael Bartocetti uses this part of the cocoa pod to whip up a light mousse and make his graphic Christmas log, reminiscent of the branch of a fir tree. You should definitely not imagine that this preparation has an intense chocolate taste. The mucilage is the white pulp which surrounds the cocoa beans and which the pickers are used to sucking like candy. This ingredient is fresh and has a very fruity taste. Last year, Michael Bartocetti told us that he had sourced it in Vietnam. In his Christmas dessert, the Alsatian counterbalances the tangy flavor of the mucilage with the intensity and depth of a 70% Papua New Guinea chocolate.

Gianduja

It is often nicknamed the Italian cousin of praline. Because in fact gianduja is obtained from a mixture of a paste of chocolate and dried fruits which has been mixed until the oil comes out and finished with this dry mass, with an absolutely divine taste. . Many chocolatiers use it to garnish their bites while pastry chefs use it to combine their hazelnut-based creations. This is the case, for example, of the pastry chef at Chambard in Alsace. Jordan Gasco, who officiates at the restaurant of two-star chef Olivier Nasti, rests his Christmas log in the shape of an ice floe on a crust made with hazelnut shortbread and gianduja. In Nantes, regression is also promised with a gianduja combined this time with caramelized almonds to constitute the crunch of a poetic “log” in the shape of an airplane, which would be that of Santa Claus according to the pastry chef Vincent Guerlais. Finally, in Paris, gianduja is the key ingredient in the base of the log by Bryan Esposito, the pastry chef at Printemps Haussmann.

Dacquoise, Mona Lisa and other streusel

Don’t be ashamed of not being able to differentiate between these various types of biscuits. It is completely normal not to know their names when you are not professional or when you do not spend more time on the description of the pastries the rest of the year. Each one actually draws from different regional origins and offers varied textures and chewiness. This is why pastry chefs draw on the wide range of cookie recipes available to them. The great chocolatier Pierre Marcolini illustrates this know-how well in his collection of logs in the shape of flattened Christmas balls. He uses a Mona Lisa biscuit to combine with the coffee mousses to give the most comforting softness. In this register of texture, know that we should also add the sponge cake, the one which traditionally lines the strawberry cake, otherwise the Viennese biscuit which we most often recommend for a rolled Christmas log.

Furthermore, the Belgian chef prefers to make a dacquoise for the version based on milk chocolate and crème brûlée. This type of sweet pastry is in fact prepared with hazelnut powder, thus echoing the crunchiness of the log, designed with caramelized hazelnuts. As for the streusel that chef Pierre Chauvet d’Aubenas prepares for his Christmas chocolate crown, he uses it to vary the pleasures in terms of crunchy texture. Streusel is a kind of crumble dough of Alsatian origin, which stands out from its British counterpart with the addition of extra delicacies, such as cinnamon or hazelnut powder. At Pierre Chauvet, the streusel is made with cocoa.