A couple of friends from Ferrandi, another renowned French school of culinary arts had invited me over to their Japanese themed dinner. Seeing I was the only patisserie etudiant, I decided to bring over dessert. Naturally!
The Opéra cake was one out of the ten cakes we could potentially be asked to recreate in the final exam for the intermediate level of our school program. So as an excuse to practice the techniques required for the much feared Opéra, I thought I would bring over just that… with a Japanese spin to it.
The original plan was a green tea Opéra, filled with layers of green tea & white chocolate ganache and azuki bean paste. Azuki beans, more commonly known as red beans in Chinese is not something new to me. I have made the traditional Chinese dessert ‘red bean soup’ several times when I was still living in Melbourne. It was nothing too complicated; a small handful of red beans, a pandanus leaf in a pot of water, boil for approximately an hour or until soft and add rock sugar to taste. But the red beans I bought took over 3 hours to boil and yet was still too firm to mash into a paste (does anyone reading this have any suggestions as to why that was the case?) Time was running short so I resorted to a raspberry buttercream recipe a friend had given me to accompany the green tea sponge instead.
The final result – three layers of green tea Joconde biscuit sponge imbibed with a green tea milk syrup, two layers of green tea & white chocolate ganache and one layer of raspberry buttercream. And in case you were wondering, no artificial colouring was added!