Serves: 8  
Preparation: 1 hour  
Cooking: 20 minutes  

Described as “the chocolate book to end all chocolate books”, Le Cordon Bleu’s Chocolate Bible is a must-have for chocoholics everywhere. Over 100 years of experience and expertise from the famous French cookery school has gone into the recipes… here’s one for you to try at home… 


For the pistachio sponge  

  • 45g caster sugar (+ 35g)  
  • 45g ground almonds  
  • 45g coloured pistachio paste  
  • 2 egg yolks  
  • 1 egg  
  • 20g plain flour, sifted  
  • 20g unsalted melted butter  
  • 3 egg whites

For the syrup  

  • 120ml water  
  • 100g caster sugar  
  • 20ml Kirsch  

For the ganache  

  • 200g dark (54%) chocolate  
  • 200ml whipping cream  
  • 20g unsalted butter

For the pistachio chantilly cream  

  • 150ml whipping cream  
  • 15g icing sugar  
  • 20g coloured pistachio paste  
  • 1 tsp dessert jelly  

For the decoration  

  • Icing sugar  
  • 20 pistachios 


1Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line two 30 x 38 cm baking trays with baking parchment. Place three 17 x 17 cm baking frames on the trays.

For the pistachio sponge  

1Mix together the 45g of sugar in a bowl with the ground almonds, pistachio paste, egg yolks and the whole egg. Fold in the flour and lukewarm melted butter.

2In a separate bowl, whisk the 3 egg whites until slightly frothy. Gradually add the 35g of sugar, continuing to whisk the egg whites until smooth and glossy. Gently fold in the remaining sugar and mix until the egg whites are fairly stiff. Fold the meringue into the mixture.

3Distribute the batter among the three baking frames. Bake individually for around 10 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack, then remove from the frames.

For the syrup  

1Bring the water and sugar to boil in a saucepan, then leave to cool. Add the Kirsch.

For the ganache  

1Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan, pour over the chocolate and gently stir with a flexible spatula. Add the butter. Set aside.

To assemble

1Brush the pistachio sponges with syrup. Put the first sponge in the baking frame and put half of the ganache over it without working it.

2Place a second sponge on top and add the remaining ganache. Cover with the last sponge. Set aside.

Pistachio Chantilly Cream & finishing

1Whip the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar, pistachio paste and bloomed dessert jelly until firm and clings to the tip of the whisk.

2Transfer the pistachio Chantilly cream to a piping bag fitted with a 6 or 8 mm nozzle and pipe over the sponge using a back and forth movement.

3Remove the baking frame (gently heat with a blow torch to make this easier).

4Sprinkle the Opera cake with icing sugar and decorate with pistachios before serving.

Le Cordon Bleu Chocolate Bible is available in hardback from Amazon at £22.75 


  1. As an American living in France I’m trying to understand your recipe for the Cordon Bleu’s chocolate-pistachio opera cake
    When it says: “Whip the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar, pistachio paste and dessert jelly until firm and clings to the tip of the whisk.” what is “desert jelly” ? Is it what I call jello? and is so what flavor and do you just stir in the powder or the not yet set “jello” ? I’ve never seen “jello” in France so what else can I use in the recipe ?

    • Hi Carol!

      Any unflavoured, powered gelatine will do the trick. Make sure to hydrate it (or “bloom” it) first by adding just enough water for the powder to absorb it all. You may find it easier to incorporate the bloomed gelatine if you warm it up just a touch first – 5-10 seconds in the microwave should do. The gelatine isn’t a strictly necessary step if you can decorate the cake shortly before serving, but it will stabilise it if it needs to be prepared ahead of time.

      I hope this helps!


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