Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gateau Opéra (Part 1), Biscuit Jaconde, Dark Chocolate Ganache, Coffee Buttercream, Stock Syrup, Coffee Syrup

Chef Luigi's Opera

I tasted my first Gateau Opéra at Delifrance, the McDonald's of pastry shops back in Singapore, of all places. To my surprise, not only was it good, it was a revelation: syrup soaked sponge, cold coffee buttercream and smooth chocolate ganache, contrasting textures and flavors all rolled into one tiny package.

Famous as it may be, the Opéra's history is sketchy at best. First introduced to Paris in the early 20th century, it was later modernized by renowned pastry chef Dalloyau to commemorate the Paris Grand Opera, agreed by many to be a fitting tribute "as the cake is comprised of several layers, similar to 'acts' in an operatic presentation."

Chef Luigi: Animated, Entertaining, Full Of Italian Flair
Preparing Jaconde Sponge

For mise en place today we first made the Jaconde, an almond sponge cake sturdier than a normal sponge which can therefore absorb the coffee syrup better without breaking.

Speaking of which, the syrup is nothing more than a quadruple shot of espresso with 10 packs of sugar thrown in. By now it should come as no surprise that I spiked my syrup with a big wallop of rum. Just the way I take it in the mornings. *hic*

Coffee Buttercream, Dark Chocolate Ganache

The other components to this great operatic act are butter churned with coffee paste, and ganache made with chocolate and cream. Glucose will be added to the same ganache formula for the shiny glaze top.

Assembling L'Opera

The layers of the Opéra may seem random, but they are not. There is a set order to the layers, and we respect the order, we fear it, we obey it. They are, as follows:

      1. Chocolate base on Coffee Syrup-ed Jaconde
      2. Coffee Buttercream
      3. Coffee Syrup-ed Jaconde
      4. Chocolate Ganache
      5. Coffee Syrup-ed Jaconde
      6. Coffee Buttercream
      7. Dark Chocolate Glaze

Slicing & Piping

The cake is trimmed to the required 20cm x 20cm square (giving you the Best Scraps Eh-vah) and finally piped with flair: "Opera". The final glazing and slicing (and taking home and eating) will be done tomorrow, fingers crossed mine will turn out well. I'm syched all the same, making my own Opéra!

The Final Act

Oh yes, have I mentioned we will be recreating this magnificent Gateau for our final assessment? Toes crossed as well, I'd better not screw this one up!

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