So in my last two posts, I mentioned that I’d be talking about some delicious chocolate desserts that we had to make for practical. Instead of just covering the one lesson that I’d intended to talk about, I decided to combine the two lessons into one post, since they were both on chocolate & very delicious (also cos if I keep updating it post by post, I’ll end up being quite behind oopsie).

Lesson 5

Translated, the choux craquant au chocolat noir is a dark chocolate craquelin choux (basically a dark chocolate choux pastry with a craquelin layer – the craquant is that bumpy thing you see on top). For this lesson, Chef demonstrated this dessert and the religious nuns – another choux dessert but filled with caramel cream instead of chocolate ones. Pictorially, the religious nuns looked more complex and challenging to make. Taste-wise, however, I must say that the chocolate choux was way better, making me glad after tasting the two desserts that we were making the latter.

We had Chef Olivier for practical. He started off by warning us that two groups that’d made the dessert in the morning were unable to complete their desserts within the 3 hours. This made all of us pretty worried – the choux seemed really simple during demo – how could it be that bad?

Alas, when practical started, I began to understand why we were so time-pressed. For starters, Chef had instructed all of us to do all the components individually, rather than in pairs. Because the quantities were so small, it might little sense for us to use mixer either –> more time spent on making & more work for each of us. There are also so many components to this dessert – the choux, the choc pastry cream, the craquelin, a lovely hazelnut praline chocolate insert and the glaze.

At the end of class, Chef informed us that we were his first class to finish everything on time, with 5 minutes to spare. Was pretty proud of my group for this feat & glad that everything turned out well.

This is probably one of my favourite desserts thus far & I’m glad that I managed to give some of these away to people I met over the weekend 🙂

Lesson 6

From Day 1, I’d been counting down the days till I’d have to make the elusive Opéra. I recall that back in Basic in 2013, Intermediate students would come out of the Opéra demos with their aprons all stained with chocolate & warning us that the cake was one that we wouldn’t want to mess with.

I braced myself for the demo and told myself that everything would be all right. Chef showed us how the entire cake was done, skillfully and effortlessly putting together the layers. He made it all seem so simple and manageable that I left the demo room feeling less nervous than when I’d stepped in.

We got Chef Jean Jacques for this practical, which was kind of a relief to me because he’s generally more chill (i.e. less pressurizing during prac class, especially for a cake like this which requires intense concentration, in my opinion). The whole practical was fine, less my buttercream. I ended up having not enough cream for the two layers (you can see from my pics that I have only have one visible layer of buttercream oops) and needed chef’s help to spread the top layer 🙁 Thankfully we covered the cake with a layer of chocolate glaze, hiding the defect of my cake. Really wondering why I keep having issues with creams this set :/

The wording “Opéra” on the top of the cake is a traditional style of décor that was used when the cake was first created. So even though none of us find it attractive, we all had to pipe it out. Furthermore, the writing of the word “Opéra” is going to be tested for the Intermediate set’s technical component :S

I loved the taste of this cake and am glad I managed to share the cake with others (Charlie, Robyn & Sarah and Mena Jie’s family). Albeit challenging, this cake is definitely manageable and just requires a calm state of mind to complete 🙂

Well I’ve come to the end of this super long post – stay tuned for the next dessert + a snippet of my weekend to London for CNY!