Week 160: Opéra chocolat-pistache

It is not easy to come across recipe books on entremet so I was really excited when Jerome lugged the gigantic L’École de la Pâtisserie book from France. It contained some really interesting recipes too!

To be honest, one of the reason I did not try the recipes sooner is that the book’s owner didn’t seem too pleased with the recipes he tried, so I was just being cautious (I am also an expert procrastinator).

But since I was out of baking ideas, I thought I would give this opera cake recipe a try. I did not have high expectations so was pleasantly surprised when the cake turned out to be delicious! I supposed it is true that you can’t go wrong with chocolate and pistachio.

Makes a 7″ x 7″ square cake

For the pistachio joconde

90g almond paste

45g pistachio paste

50g egg yolks

30g eggs

20g plain flour

20g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pinch of fleur de sel

100g egg white

35g caster sugar

1) Preheat convection oven to 200C. Line two 13″ x 9″ baking trays with baking paper.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the almond and pistachio paste, yolks and eggs. Whisk until mixture is light and pale.

3) Add the flour, butter and fleur de sel, and mix until just incorporated.

4) In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

5) Gently fold the meringue into the nut paste mixture into homogeneous.

6) Divide the batter evenly between the two baking trays

7) Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes and removed from oven immediately once joconde is baked.

For the chocolate ganache

200g heavy cream

200g dark chocolate couverture

20g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) Bring the heavy cream to a light boil.

2) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in a bowl and allow to sit for a minute. Stir the ganache until it is smooth.

3) When ganache has cooled to room temperature, stir in the butter until fully incorporated.

For the soaking syrup

150g water

150g sugar

30g Kirsch

1) Bring the sugar and water in a saucepan to a boil and ensure sugar has fully melted.

2) Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in Kirsch.

For the pistachio whipped cream

150g heavy cream, very cold

15g icing sugar

20g pistachio paste

1) Add all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on hi-speed until stiff peaks formed.

To assemble

10g pistachio, diced and roasted

1) Cut out 3 7″ x 7″ squares from the 2 jocondes. One of the squares will be made of 2 halves. This will be used as the middle joconde layer.

2) Place the first joconde layer on a plate.

3) Soak the joconde with a generous amount of Kirsch syrup.

4) Spread half the ganache onto the joconde layer.

5) Place the second joconde layer on top of the ganache. You should use the joconde that is made up of 2 halves. Repeat steps 3 to 4 with the second joconde layer.

6) Top the second layer of chocolate ganache with the last joconde layer.

7) Soak the last joconde layer with Kirsch syrup.

8) Spread half the pistachio whipped cream onto the joconde layer. Then fill the remaining cream into a pastry bag, cut out the tip and pipe stripes onto the spreader cream.

9) Distribute diced pistachio over the piped cream.

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