The Opera

The Opera

The Opera was created by the Dalloyau house in the 1950s. Since then, it has toured the world.
The Opera has been at the top of my list of pastries to make for a very long time. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. In fact, I think he scared me a little. We do not attack like that a classic pastry. Ideally, you should be able to do a few tests in advance, in order to be sure of having a superb result on the day. But, that’s for the pros. In our little amateur kitchens, we often make our pastries for a good occasion, and it has to be perfect (or at least give the illusion of it) from the first try. What pressure!
First of all, you have to find the right recipe, then all you have to do is hope that everything will go without too many unforeseen events.

In truth, I found that the Opera is ultimately not a complicated cake to make. Each preparation is relatively simple. It consists of Joconde biscuits soaked in coffee, coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache and icing. Each layer has the particularity of being very thin. I was largely inspired by two recipes, that of Demarle because the proportions should normally be just right for my frame and that of Bernard. But, during the editing I had some problems, since my proportions were not so good after all. I had to remove a layer of biscuit. It’s not very serious, because visually, my Opera is still quite pretty. And, more importantly, the taste is excellent. The tastes go together wonderfully.

It took me years to do my first opera, but I will certainly do it again very soon, we enjoyed it so much.

Mona Lisa cookies:

200g whole eggs (4)
110g egg whites (4)
130g icing sugar
30g of sugar
40g flour
130g ground almonds
30g melted butter

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Finely mix the almond powder and the icing sugar.

Beat the almond powder and icing sugar mixture, the whole eggs and the flour for about 10 minutes.
Add the melted butter. To mix together.

Whip the egg whites until stiff.
Add the powdered sugar to mix them well.

Add the whipped egg whites to the first mixture, gently using a spatula.

Divide the dough in two.
Spread one half in a Flexipat and cook for about 11 minutes.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before unmolding the biscuit on a wire rack.

Do the same with the rest of the dough.

The Opera

Coffee syrup:

100g water
100g sugar
1 tsp coffee extract (recipe here)

Bring the water and sugar to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the coffee extract. To mix together.

To book.

Chocolate ganache:

100g milk
60 g liquid cream
220 g of chocolate (Guanaja 70%)
55g butter

Bring the milk and cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate in batches.
Mix well.
Add the butter in pieces. To mix together.

Reserve at room temperature.

Coffee Buttercream:

250 g butter at room temperature (take it out several hours in advance!)
75g milk
3 egg yolks
60g of sugar
1 tsp coffee extract (recipe here)

Prepare a custard.
To do this, bring the milk to a boil.
Whisk the yolks and the sugar then pour the hot milk little by little while mixing.
Return the cream to the saucepan and allow to thicken (without boiling).

Pour the cream into a bowl.
Add the coffee extract. Beat this cream until the mixture is cold.
It is imperative that the cream and the butter are at the same temperature.

Then add the soft butter little by little, without stopping beating. The ideal is to use a soup plunger.
The mixture will become very creamy.

Reserve at room temperature.


Line a 23×16 frame with rhodoïd.

Place 1/2 biscuit soaked on both sides in coffee syrup on the serving platter. Cover with half of the buttercream, then continue like this with 1/2 soaked biscuit, the ganache, 1/2 soaked biscuit and the remaining buttercream.

Place the cake in the fridge for 2 hours.


20g water
20g sugar
50 g liquid cream
50 g of chocolate (Guanaja)

Bring the water and sugar to a boil.
Let cool.

Put the chocolate and the cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Mix vigorously.
Add water. Mix gently.

Pour the slightly warm glaze over the cold cake.

Let the icing set, then unmold the Opera and decorate it with gold leaf.

To finish: this cake will be very good for 10 people.
It can be prepared the day before without any problem.

You will have half a cookie left. I used it with no problem garnished with fruit jam or chestnut cream.

I prepare thecoffee extract myself. It’s very easy, economical and it keeps for a long time.

On 29/12/2017: I redid this recipe without changing anything. This cake is always a hit.
It is not complicated to make, except perhaps with buttercream which requires some precautions. But it is quite salvageable if by misfortune it slices. And yes, it happened to me! If unfortunately your cream slices, don’t panic! Just place it lightly in a lukewarm water bath and whisk or in a heating robot fitted with the whisk at 30/40°C.
The icing seduced me the first time, then I forgot about it. This time, I note to myself that it is really perfect and I absolutely have to reuse it on other cakes! Even after 48 hours, it remains shiny and does not crack.

On 05/13/2021: After redoing an Opera, I am updating the photos.

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