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Before starting this Foie Gras like an Opera recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
For the preparation of the foie gras: Combine the salt, ground pepper, sugar and grated nutmeg.
Cut the foie gras lobe in half. For an easier operation, the foie gras should be at room temperature. Spread and flatten the foie gras chunks with your fingers, not worrying about damaging the liver. This operation will make the veins and nerves more visible. With the tip of a small knife, hold the veins and pull on them. Remove any blood spot in the liver.
Sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of the foie gras chunks.
If you're using Cognac (highly recommended), add it now to flavour the foie gras.
Leave to marinate overnight in the fridge...
... in a deep tray covered with cling film.
For the hazelnut rich shortcrust pastry: Organise the necessary ingredients.
Place the soft butter into the stand mixer recipient.
Add the salt, four spice mix, ground hazelnuts...
... and icing sugar.
Place in the stand mixer and work to obtain an intimate mixing of the ingredients for the base not to emulsify, which would make the base more difficult to work later in the recipe.
When the butter, ground hazelnuts and icing sugar are combined, stop the stand mixer. Add the egg yolks.
Resume mixing on low speed, without working the preparation too much.
Stop the mixer and remove the pastry from the flat beater.
Mix the flour and baking powder, then sift...
... over the preparation. It is essential to sift the flour and baking powder together.
Resume mixing on low speed to avoid flour spatter.
Stop the food mixer when combined.
Remove the flat beater, scrape the preparation stuck on it with a rubber spatula...
... and transfer the pastry onto a baking sheet lined with cling film.
Cover with cling film...
... and flatten evenly. Refrigerate overnight to obtain a firm consistency which will be easier to work with a rolling pin.
For the coffee icing: Organise the necessary ingredients.
Hydrate the gelatin with 60 grams of water.
In a saucepan, place the water, glucose syrup (if you find it too thick, you can melt it in the microwave for a few seconds)...
... and the castor sugar.
Cook until the temperature reaches 103°C.
Remove from the heat and add the unsweetened condensed milk. Stir well.
Add the white chocolate pistoles. Combine well.
Add the rehydrated gelatin. Combine.
Add the Trablit coffee extract to obtain an icing with a coffee flavour and colour.
Mix with a hand blender. Do not incorporate air bubbles while mixing. Cover the surface with cling film and reserve in the fridge overnight.
The following day: Remove the pastry from the fridge and place it on a floured surface.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3mm. I used a stainless steel square frame with dimensions 22 x 22cm, so make sure you roll out the pastry to slightly bigger dimensions.
Place the dough on a Silpat baking mat, placed on top of a Silichef XL perforated baking sheet. Place the square frame over the pastry and cut along the inner rim with a knife.
Remove the frame and discard the pastry scraps.
Prick the dough with a roller docker or a fork.
Place the square frame around the pastry.
Bake at 170°C (gas 3) for 20 to 25 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the oven and sprinkle the surface with Mycryo cocoa butter. This will make the pastry resistant to moisture.
Using a knife, trim the edges of the pastry to obtain a neat square shape.
Stretch a long sheet of cling film across your worktop surface.
Stretch another sheet of cling film into a cross pattern.
Place the marinated foie gras chunks in the centre of the cross, then wrap it in an airtight manner, using several layers of cling film is needed.
Place the wrapped foie gras in a plate or dish...
... and cook in the microwave for 2 and a half minutes at maximum power (900 watts).
... remove from the microwave and cut the cling film wrap with scissors.
Strain the foie gras in a colander so the fat drips off.
Stretch some cling film on one side of the square frame to create a bottom. Make sure the film is stretched tight. Place the frame on a baking sheet, the side with cling film facing down.
Place the warm foie gras inside the frame.
The amount of foie gras used for this recipe filled the frame completely without leftovers.
As shown in the photo, the amount of fat discarded during cooking is only 15 or 20% of the total weight of the liver. If you end up with more fat, it means the foie gras you bought was poor quality. Always prefer premium quality foie gras from free-range, corn-fed ducks.
Carefully arrange the pastry square on top of the foie gras filling. The side with Mycryo cocoa butter should be in direct contact with the foie gras. Take extra precautions when handling the pastry, as it will break easily. Don't apply too much pressure not to break the pastry base.
Wrap cling film around the square frame.
Place a heavy chopping board on top...
... for a homogeneous stack, without any air bubbles. This operation also ensures the biscuit sticks perfectly to the foie gras filling.
If your board is not heavy enough, fill a large bowl with water and place it on top. The heavier the better! Let set overnight in the fridge.
The following day: Take the coffee icing out of the fridge and reheat slightly in the microwave until liquid. Ideally, the icing should have a temperature of 28°C. Mix with a hand blender until smooth and homogeneous.
Take the foie gras opéra out of the fridge.
Gently remove the cling film.
Flip the frame so the pastry is at the bottom.
Remove the cling film that is on the surface of the foie gras.
Slide the blade of a thin knife (sole fillet knife for instance) between the cake and the frame for an easy release.
Transfer the foie gras cake on a rack (make sure the biscuit is at the bottom)...
... and gently remove the frame by sliding it upwards.
Slowly pour the coffee icing over the cold foie gras square (it should be really cold but not frozen), going back and forth to make sure you don't miss any spots.
The icing layer should be even and very thin.
Leave to set in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
When the icing is set, trim the edges with a knife with a large blade. Heat the blade with hot water beforehand then dry before cutting.
Trim all four edges...
... cutting a few millimetres only. The edges should be straight and clean.
At this stage, the foie gras opéra should look like this.
Make a decorating bag with a sheet of greaseproof paper and fill with chocolate topping sauce.
Pipe chocolate dots of various sizes over the surface of the coffee icing.
To finish, arrange a few gold flakes on the surface of the cake with tongs.
This savoury version of Opera is now ready to serve! Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve. Transfer on a serving plate and bring to the table. Your guests will be blown away by this festive starter that looks just like a dessert!