Ganache is a mixture of equal weights chocolate and cream, melted together, and from cakes to cookies, it is used as a base for many sweet recipes. As a matter of fact, you can even pour it over ice cream. So yummy.
Chef’s Tip: If you’re chopping up your own chocolate, a serrated knife is best for the job; its saw-like teeth will grab the chocolate, and break it up.
Add the heavy cream to a saucepan over medium-low heat, and heat until you see steam escaping from the cream, about 200f (93c).
Chef’s Note: Do not allow the cream to simmer or boil, or it will change the flavor of the ganache.
Chef’s Tip: There is a difference between heavy cream, and whipping cream… heavy cream has 36% milk fat; whereas whipping cream has 30% milk fat. While I prefer heavy cream for a ganache, whipping cream will do just fine.
Pour the cream over the chocolate, and allow the mixture to sit for 5 – 6 minutes, without stirring.
After 5 minutes, use a whisk to blend the chocolate with the cream.
Use the ganache while still warm. Enjoy.
The simplest recipe is 8 ounces chopped chocolate whisked with 8 ounces hot heavy cream until totally combined; this ganache will be easily pourable, and will be very soft when set. Ganache may be made thicker by adding a higher percentage of chocolate.
A typical ganache can be kept covered at room temperature for 2 days. It will survive in the refrigerator for up to a month. If placed in the freezer it will last for several months.
The best way to reheat ganache is to place it in a double boiler over low heat. It can also be reheated in the microwave; however, use small segments of 15 to 30 seconds, until you achieved the correct temperature.
White Chocolate: Substitute the dark chocolate with some nice white chocolate, and make a white ganache.
Corn Syrup: Add about 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup to the cream while it’s heating up. This will give the ganache a nice sheen when it cools. This trick is great when you’re using the ganache to cover a cake. When it cools it has a nice gloss to it.
Orange Liqueur: After the ganache has been combined with the cream, add 2 teaspoons of orange liqueur to give it a citrus note. If you’re coating fruit in the ganache, or if you are using it as a dip, this adds another level of flavor that compliments the fruit. You might wish to experiment with other types of liqueur; for example, peppermint liqueur goes very good when the ganache is poured over some nice vanilla ice cream.
Lemon or Orange Zest: Add a bit of lemon or orange zest to your ganache for a bit of additional citrus flavor.
Vanilla Extract: After the ganache has been combined with the cream, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. This pleasing flavor will fit into almost any venue that you choose to use your ganache.
Espresso Powder: Add the espresso powder to the cream, while it is heating in the saucepan, and stir to combine. Espresso powder amps up the rich, chocolate flavor of many desserts including cakes, brownies and cookies.
Dark Rum: If you’re feeling adventurous, after the ganache has been combined with the cream, add 2 teaspoons of dark rum. I find that the rum helps to separate the taste of the ganache from chocolate desserts. For example, if I’m making a chocolate cake or tart, I’ll add some rum to the ganache so that the chocolate of the ganache doesn’t just “blend” in with the taste of the chocolate cake.
Chili Powder: After the ganache has been combined with the cream, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder. The introduction of chili powder to the ganache will intensify the flavor of the chocolate. I like to add chili powder when I’m using small amounts of ganache. For example, coating the tops of cupcakes, or adding a small bit to a shortbread cookie.
Whipped: Cool the mixture until it is room temperature. Once cool, beat the mixture with a whisk until it has thickened to a consistency of buttercream icing. Then spread it on a cake or other dessert. Whipping the ganache allows you to create texture and swirls just like you would with any typical cake icing.
Chef’s Note: These are just a few of the variations that can be made to a typical ganache. I’ll bet you can come up with a ton more.
Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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