Sandwiches and Sweets party, featuring Opera Cake and Chocolate and Milk Caramel Tarts
Simple whole wheat bread for the November's SAS (Sandwiches and Sweets) party.
I took a picture of the spread before we dug into it: Roasted red peppers, English and lemon cucumbers, dilled cream cheese, ham, turkey, chicken, grainy mustard, mayo, provolone and colby cheeses, and grapes. Not shown: mixed greens, baby spinach, and pears.
I also made (imitation) crab salad with mustard dressing.
And of course, the sandwich (for dinner later that night): turkey, chicken, provolone, colby, roasted red pepper, spinach, mayo, mustard, on whole wheat bread. Mmmm, I love toasty sammiches ... love them ... LOVE them.
And the dessert table after the sammie fixins were cleared.
Back Story of the Dessert Table
I learned how to build Opera cakes in Classical Desserts class. Paris' Dollayau pastry shop named it after the Paris Opera. Forget that Louis Clichy created the dessert in 1903. Glichy gets no love. *sigh* Traditionally, the French dessert is made with dense, thin layers of cake (usually almond, called joconde) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with coffee buttercream and ganache. At school, my ever-ambitious chef-instructor had us include layers of fresh marzipan, and every layer of cake had a layer of everything else on it. Egads! Opera cakes are usually a lot less zealous with layering. The cake must've weight 20 pounds by the time we finished making them! It tasted amazing, though--luscious, rich, and decadent.
It's sort of smooshed from being wrapped in cling wrap for transport back to my house from school.
I've wanted to revisit the Opera Cake ever since. I wanted a twist (of orange), and fewer layers. It started with the leftover orange chiffon cake from the Daring Bakers Bostini challenge.
I'm not a huge American buttercream fan, so I made Swiss meringue buttercream, flavored with cardamom. My ganache was thick, so I spread it on, instead of just pouring it. It doesn't have the traditional smooth top, but it tasted just as well, and I like the handmade touch.
The last step is to trim away the rough edges.
And serve it in thin slices. Or with just a fork and a good cup of chai tea.
I also served milk chocolate and caramel tarts, which the Daring Bakers made in August.
Hazelnut cocoa tart shells
Inset with creamy, buttery caramel
Topped with milk chocolate mousse, and garnished with toasted hazelnuts for crunch. It was supposed to be hard caramel bits, but I ran out of sugar. Yikes!