25 April, 2011

"L'Opera" or basic pastry skills

i like opera torte.
what is it? also known as gateau Clichy, Alternating layers of coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache separate thin layers of rum-soaked almond sponge cake. it originated in the early 1900's in paris, the layers are said to represent the acts in an opera. it's delicious. i was ready to give you the recipes i use for the 3 components, but i think i'm going to hotlink the recipes and you can search them at your leisure. i understand that this post would be enhanced by photos but, i don't have any, i'm going give you the spoken word performance(only it's written).

before you can build the thing, i think we need to speak to the ingredients and the architecture of the piece. buttercream is whipped egg whites mixed with sugar and then whole butter is added to form a fluffy delicious emulsion. almond sponge cake
is the layer that gets soaked with coffee flavored rum. chocolate ganache consists of chocolate and cream, it can be infused with many flavors and is most familiar as the basis for chocolate truffles. traditionally these ingredients are built layer by layer with out the support of a form; two thin half sheet cakes are divided to produce three layers and this then just stacked with butter-cream in between as the glue. this is then topped with chocolate ganache and the edges are trimmed to present a good looking cake with a clear view of the layers and nicely decorated top. it tastes good and it looks good. that's the traditional view, my presentation deconstructs this as individual servings made with the support of a form and hopefully doesn't loose any of the sublime beauty of the classic.

you are going to want to have the components ready before you attempt to complete the procedure. so look over the recipes and decide if this is what you want to do; it's elegant, but it requires some preparation and skill. i choose to make the components one day and build the dessert the next day. it's not as hard it looks, but i will say that most of the opera tortes consumed are produced commercially. i'll get to l`opera part two tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know the design behind "l'opera" was created to imitate the acts in an opera. I think you nailed it with word-only description!


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