With its sleek shape and timeless lines, the opera seduces all chocolate lovers. This cake represents the perfect combination of chocolate and coffee, combining sweet and full-bodied.
It is enhanced by the softness of the Joconde biscuit, the smoothness of the butter cream and the fondant ganache. This is what makes the charm of opera: strength, softness and elegance!
This revolutionary cake was invented in 1955 by Gaston Lenôtre for Maison Dalloyau.
Its square format allows you to enjoy all the flavors and textures that make up this entremets in one bite.
Nowadays many pastry chefs are inspired by opera to revisit it in their own way. Some of them add a puff pastry to the Joconde biscuit while others sandwich the buttercream between beautiful layers of crunchy chocolate . Some contemporaries replaced chocolate with matcha, and purists favored the use of grand cru coffees to enhance the opera even further.
Let's discover exclusively the famous Opera recipe according to Pierre Hermé .
The Chocolate Opera
2x6 people - preparation 3h20 - cooking 35min - rest 8h - infusion 12h
The ingredients of the opera:
For the dark chocolate discs :
- 250g 64% couverture chocolate
- 20g corn oil
- 15g walnut oil
For the inverted puff pastry :
- 375g of butter
- 150g flour
- 112g of butter
- 150g of mineral water
- 2.5g of white vinegar
- 17.5g fleur de sel
- 350g flour
For cooking and caramelizing the inverted puff pastry :
- powdered sugar
- QS icing sugar
For the coffee infusion :
- 275g of milk
- 40g of coffee
For the Italian meringue :
- 35g of mineral water
- 125g caster sugar
- 65g egg whites
- 5g caster sugar
For the coffee buttercream :
- 90g coffee infusion
- 70g of egg yolks
- 40g caster sugar
- 450g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 175g Italian meringue
For the chocolate ganache :
- 42g of butter
- 170g 64% couverture chocolate
- 200g of 35% fat liquid cream
For the Joconde biscuit :
- 20g of butter
- 30g flour
- 113g ground almonds
- 10g of honey
- 90g icing sugar
- 150g of eggs
- 95g egg whites
- 15g caster sugar
For the coffee syrup :
- 900g of mineral water
- 300g of coffee
- 315g caster sugar
- 285g of mineral water
- 500g of coffee
- 600g of syrup
For assembly and finishing :
- SQ cocoa powder
- QS of gold leaf
Pierre Hermé's Recipe
Dark chocolate discs :
Melt the dark chocolate at 45°C in a bain-marie, then mix it with the corn and walnut oils . Spread 250g of chocolate on a 60 x 40cm plastic sheet. Cool between 2 plates in the refrigerator so that the chocolate hardens and remains flat. Then using a hot knife, cut out 6 discs 20cm in diameter.
Inverted puff pastry :
Soften the butter in the bowl of the food processor with the foil tool. Add the flour and mix as little as possible just so that the preparation is homogeneous. Then spread out in a rectangle on a sheet of silicone paper . Cover with a second sheet of paper and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
Soften the butter into an ointment in the microwave. In the bowl of the food processor with the hook, prepare the tempera by mixing the ingredients together. Then put in a square on a plate covered with a sheet of silicone paper. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Embed the tempera in the butter/flour mixture so that the preparations have an identical texture. Roll out the dough lengthwise and fold it into a wallet to give it 1 double turn. Then immediately another before placing the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Repeat the operation of the 2 double turns.
Before detailing, give 1 simple turn by folding the dough in 3. Roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin to 2mm thickness. Prick it with a fork and cut it to the dimensions of your baking sheet . Put a sheet of silicone paper on the plate and layer the dough.
Slide the plate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours in order to develop well in the oven and cook without shrinking. You can store the puff pastry shells in the freezer .
Cooking and caramelizing the inverted puff pastry :
Preheat your oven to 230°C. Remove the sheet of puff pastry from the freezer: sprinkle with powdered sugar . Bake and immediately lower to 190°C. Cook for 10 minutes then cover with a wire rack to prevent rising. Continue cooking for 8 minutes and cover with a second sheet, leaving to cook for 10 minutes.
Once out of the oven , turn the 2 plates upside down, keeping them well together. Remove the top plate and the sheet of paper that were used in the first stage of cooking. The bottom being on top, sprinkle it with icing sugar before putting it in the oven at 250°C.
Using a knife, cut out 2 discs 20cm in diameter.
Do not overcook the caramelized puff pastry otherwise it will taste bitter.
The coffee infusion :
In a saucepan boil the milk . Add the ground coffee and leave to infuse for 3 minutes, covered with cling film . Switch to Chinese.
Italian meringue :
Bring the mineral water and the sugar to the boil and cook to 121°C. When the mixture reaches 115°C start whipping the egg whites , ie not too stiff with the sugar .
Drizzle in the sugar cooked at 121°C, beating constantly at medium speed until the Italian meringue is cold.
Coffee Buttercream :
In a first saucepan, heat the coffee infusion .
In a second saucepan put the yolks and the sugar then stir until the mixture whitens. Pour the coffee infusion while whisking vigorously.
Place the saucepan over low heat and cook at 85°C without ceasing to stir. Mix it then pour it into the bowl of the food processor fitted with the whisk . Cool while whisking gently.
In the bowl of the food processor fitted with the leaf, mix the butter to soften it. Add the cooled coffee cream and mix again. Pour this preparation into a salad bowl and gradually incorporate the Italian meringue .
The chocolate ganache :
Keep the butter at room temperature. Melt the chocolate at 35/40°C in a bain-marie.
In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil then pour it in 3 times over the melted chocolate , continuing to mix. Then add the softened butter and mix to obtain a homogeneous chocolate ganache .
The Mona Lisa cookie :
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sift the flour . Pour the ground almonds , honey and icing sugar into the bowl of the food processor fitted with the whisk. Pour in half the eggs and emulsify for 8 minutes. Add the remaining eggs and emulsify for 12 minutes. Pour a little of this preparation into the melted butter and mix.
Whip the egg whites with the caster sugar then incorporate into the first preparation. Pour in the flour and stir gently before adding the butter .
Preheat your oven to 230°C. Weigh 400g of biscuit then spread it using an angled paddle on a plate covered with baking paper so that it is very smooth.
Bake for around 5 minutes. Once out of the oven , slide the baking paper with the biscuit onto a wire rack. Invert on a sheet of silicone paper sprinkled with powdered sugar then peel off the baking paper. On a cutting board, with a knife, cut out 2 discs 20cm in diameter. Film it all.
The coffee syrup :
Boil the water and add the ground coffee . Mix and let drain overnight through a very fine cloth.
Bring the ingredients to a boil then let cool and store in the fridge .
Mix the ingredients.
Assembly and finishing :
Heat the coffee syrup and soak the 2 disks of Joconde biscuit .
Place the 2 discs on a plate covered with a sheet, then arrange 2 circles of 20cm in diameter. Pour 250g of ganache and leave to cool for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Place this assembly ganache side down on the puff pastry.
On each assembly stick a first disc of dark chocolate using a nozzle filled with coffee cream. Make balls of coffee buttercream from the outside in.
Place a second disk of dark chocolate . Repeat the same operation then place a third disc of dark chocolate. Decorate with cocoa powder and gold leaf dots.
Take out of the refrigerator 1 hour before tasting.
- Avoid the use of coffee extract which gives a less interesting taste to the cream.
- Watch out for the mousseline cream which turns easily.
- Choose a large pastry frame to make your opera.
- It is best to plan several days in advance.
- Replace the butter cream with a cocoa whipped cream and the Joconde biscuit with a chocolate crumble .
- Pair chocolate with other flavors like matcha or citrus .
- Realize your trompe l'oeil opera by replacing the coffee mousseline with a whipped ganache .
The important ingredients of this pastry
The Mona Lisa cookie
This biscuit is one of the bases of the classic desserts of French pastry .
Light and supple, it flows into fairly thin sheets and is similar to a rolled biscuit .
The Joconde biscuit is rather composed of ground almonds and is not only used for the opera cake .
It is also found in yule log or dessert recipes because it lends itself to all uses. Its cooking is fast and its good storage capacity are assets in the elaborate pastry .
Coffee is a magical ingredient that provides intense taste emotions in baking. Contemporary pastries are on the hunt for great coffees. Don't hesitate to visit the coffee roaster nearest you to ask them for advice on avoiding using an artificial coffee extract with a standardized taste.
Useful utensils for this recipe
Little used in home baking, the frame is essential in professional baking. This fairly large piece of metal makes it possible to pour preparations to be cooked or set in a given shape.
Most often rectangular , the frame can be adjustable and adjust to the desired size. Very useful for the realization of entremets in layers and allow a fast and reliable assembly.
The simple deformation of this spatula makes it possible to position the accessory perfectly without having to twist your wrist or shoulder in the kitchen. The angled spatula is so practical that it sometimes becomes a victim of its own success. We tend to want to use it in all circumstances while some preparations should not be smoothed with a spatula but rather remain smooth without any intervention.
Do it yourself !
With the material adequate and the right recipe you will perform miracles in the kitchen and surprise your loved ones.
Discover our equipment and our utensils for the realization of this pastry by clicking on the image below.