Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
This week, Karen (our senior chocolatier) and I made ganache for an upcoming video shoot for my new cookbook, Choclatique. The publisher has added QR Codes to several of the recipes’ ChefSecrets which link to a demonstrations of the ChefSecrets. All you have to do is scan the QR Code with your Smartphone and it will take you to the video. Choclatique (the book) is all about making desserts using chocolate ganaches as building blocks. Ganache may sound pretty fancy, but it is really so simple to make. Ganache is also very versatile and, best of all, virtually everyone has the skills and tools to make it can without the fear of failure.
A basic ganache consists of just two ingredients: chocolate—dark, milk or white—and heavy cream (unless you are making a dairy-free dark chocolate ganache, but more on that secret in the book). And the method is always the same:
- Bring the cream to a boil, then remove from the heat let it sit for a moment so as not to scorch the chocolate and then pour the cream over a bowl of chopped chocolate.
- Let it stand, covered, for a moment to soften the chocolate, then whisk until smooth and it all comes together.
- For best results I always recommend to let it cool overnight at room temperature. Placing your ganache straight to the refrigerator after mixing can cause it to separate. The process of cooling the ganache slowly helps the molecules from the chocolate and cream to bond more securely, giving it a nice shine. So be patient.
What I love most about chocolate ganache is that it can be poured as a coating, chilled and made into truffles, whipped into a delightfully light frosting or filling or just mixed into white frosting, whipped cream or even butter for an instant, chocolaty flavor thrill.
Ganache With Panache
You can enhance any basic recipe by adding butter, pure extracts or bold flavored liqueur, i.e. Grand Mariner or Chambord. I will often use a little whisky, where appropriate, too.
Add liqueurs or extracts after mixing the cream and chocolate together. A good place to start is with 2 tablespoons per half cup of cream. Taste it (that’s always the best part) and then, if necessary, add a little more to your preferred taste. Adding extracts and other flavorings to milk and white chocolate is a great way to moderate the sweetness level of the ganache.
Depending on your chocolate, you will have a different ratio of dark or milk chocolate to heavy cream. I like to start at a 50% / 50% ratio, but with some chocolate I go as high as 60% / 40%. White chocolate may require a higher chocolate-to-cream ratio than dark chocolate. I recommend using a ratio of 70% / 30% chocolate to cream; that’s because of the lack of chocolate mass in white chocolate and the high amount of fat from the heavy cream and the milk and cocoa butter in the white chocolate. It’s okay to experiment until you get it just right. These ratios will create a firm-textured ganache that can hold its shape.
Once your ganache has cooled overnight, scoop little balls using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop and roll into a small ball. Dip the truffles in coating chocolate, or simply roll in cocoa powder, sprinkles, jimmies or sugar. These dipped truffles make wonderful, inexpensive, homemade gifts!
Using a ganache as a glaze to coat cakes, soufflés, éclairs or petit fours is a delicious and fairly simple way to create stunning desserts. For a pourable glaze that sets up soft and shiny, use equal parts chocolate and cream. I like to add a little corn syrup to enhance pourability and shine. Ganache is also great warmed in a fondue pot with fresh fruit, cookies, marshmallows or pound cake for dipping.
For an instant frosting, let it set up at room temperature, then chill. Beat with a stand mixer using the whisk attachment. Use to fill or frost cakes as you would any pre-made frosting from a can.
Shameless Plug: You will be able to find everything you ever wanted to know about ganache in Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthdays, anniversaries… actually Choclatique (the book and chocolate) are perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.