Monday, September 28, 2009

The Elegant Opera

IP Lesson XXI- Gateau Opera

Catch up blog.

Next on Gateau Opera.. that is going to be the real test for us as we are required to prepare the Gateau Opera for our practical assessment this term.

The Gateau Opera or L’OpĂ©ra in French is a traditional and popular French cake which is named after the Opera theatre in Paris. There are variations of this classic. Generally, it consists of layers of jaconde soaked in coffee punch, chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream, and finished off with a layer of chocolate glaze.

This is a rich and decadent dessert but if eaten in small quantities, can be really satisfying. I especially love it as the different layers of textures interplay in that single mouthful and how the strong coffee flavour cuts through the richness and smoothness of the dark chocolate ganache. I can already think of a couple of people I know who would absolutely love this cake!

The gateau Opera that we made in class was made of three layers of jaconde, a layer of coffee buttercream, and two layers of dark chocolate ganache.

While each of the component isn’t too difficult to make, it is the assembling of this gateau that is the real test.

Well, to me at least. You need to ensure that each layer is spread evenly and the thickness of each component is similar so that it would be a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach.

Other essential points to note: one, ensure that your jaconde (thin almond sponge) is not over baked. It is baked at a very high temperature for a very short period of time to ensure that it remains moist enough to absorb the coffee punch. Two, to take extra caution not to split the chocolate ganache. It happens especially when you get overzealous over the whisking of it to buttercream consistency (for it to be spreadable). Three, make sure that your buttercream doesn’t split. It wouldn’t if the butter is not cold when you add it to the meringue mixture.

Sounds easy?
Not exactly either especially when you have so many things to do in a single session.

The hardest part for me was still the pouring of the glaze. You need to be decisive and swift when you do it. I wasn’t. I kept trying to spread the glaze around with the palette knife. Too much fiddling around and the glaze wasn’t smooth!

My cake looks fine on the whole with the exception of the glaze.

Apart from the glaze, I didn’t soak the jaconde enough so they were a little on the drier side. I guess my punch was too thick when I tried to apply it and the jaconde refused to take in any more liquid.

It’s time to ensure that everything goes much better during assessment!

Till then, I’ll just sit back and relax with my opera and an English tea.

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