MacIsaac was recently announced as a semi-finalist for the 2013 James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award for the second year in a row.
One of the adornments of the cake is a couple of shards of a cocoa nib tuile. MacIsaac prepares it ahead of time by rolling out the cocoa nibs into thin sheets and baking them until they obtain a crunchy, cracker like consistency.
Prepping the cocoa nib tuile.
Layer #1: Flourless Chocolate Cake
The bottom and most dense layer of the Opera cake is a flourless chocolate cake. It provides the base and support for the other layers.
Shaping the Base
Layer #2: Hazelnut Praline
The second layer adds texture to the cake. It's a hazelnut praline with mixed feuilletine and cocoanibs.
Smoothing the Praline
Layer #3: Espresso Butter Cream
This butter cream is part of the coffee flavor profile of the dessert, in addition to some espresso ice cream.
Layer #4: White Chocolate Ganache
The fourth layer is a white chocolate ganache mousse that complements the rich, dark chocolate of the base layer.
Serving as a middle and top layer is a chocolate glaze.
Red Currant Pâtes de Fruits
Another small touch to the finished dessert are a few circles of red currant pâtes de fruits. They provide a strong, fruity sweetness that plays against the coffee and chocolate.
Finished Opera Cakes
Ready to be plated.
Crushed Feuilletine and Pâtes de fruits
The crunchy chocolate feuilletine and pâtes de fruits serve as a bed for the espresso ice cream.
Espresso Ice Cream
A second shot of coffee flavor to complement the espresso butter cream.
Plating the Tuile
Baked and crispy, a couple of sheets of the cocoa nib tuile are plated along side the Opera cake.
White Chocolate Dust & Red Currant Foam
The finishing touches: a light dusting of white chocolate powder and two dollops of red currant foam. Both are light finishings to the chocolate and fruit flavor profiles.
The "Opera" Terrine ($10)
The finished product is artful, but minimal. The Opera Terrine has numerous layers, in both the cake and in the flavor profile, of chocolate, coffee, and tart currants. Textures range from dense chocolate cake to creamy ganache and crispy cookies. In both presentation and flavor, the Opera Terrine is subtle, but complex.