As so often happens to me, this post began with a question. What do I need to know to make great chocolate ganache? My Valentine’s Day crepe cake will have ganache in between the layers. I know the basics, but had a few questions. After checking with my favorite experts, I developed these tips on making chocolate ganache.
By following them, I got just what I wanted – great chocolate ganache at just the right consistency for my project.
First of all, what is ganache?
Ordinarily, ganache contains only two ingredients: chocolate and heavy cream.
I like Alice Medrich’s definition of ganache in her fabulous book Seriously Bittersweet: the Ultimate Dessert Maker’s Guide to Chocolate. (If you love chocolate, you can’t do better than starting with Alice Medrich.)
Ganache – The generic term for any combination of chocolate mixed with cream (with or without flavoring or the occasional addition of butter or egg). Ganache may take the form of a flowing sauce or glaze, a firm or soft truffle center, a spreadable frosting or a fluffy filling. The flavor and texture of ganache vary with the ratio of chocolate to cream, the method of mixing them together, the conditions of cooling, and how the mixture is ultimately handled after cooking.
What chocolate can you use for ganache?
Basically, you can use milk, white, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, or a combination to make “regular” ganache. If you want to use an even higher percentage of chocolate than bittersweet (above 60% chocolate), Medrich provides special instructions. For the details, see her book.
How do you mix the chocolate and cream to make ganache?
The chocolate must be shaved or chopped into small pieces. You either pour hot cream over it or add the chocolate to the hot cream, so the chocolate must be shaved/cut small in order to melt before the cream cools down.
It doesn’t matter whether you pour the cream over the chocolate or add the chocolate to the hot cream. Either way, once you combine the two ingredients, let them rest for a few minutes, so the chocolate melts.
Then cautiously stir the ingredients together, taking care not to beat air bubbles into the mixture.
How hot does the cream need to be?
It has to be at least steamy, and depending on who you ask, may be simmered or even boiled. In Baker’s Dozen (a book containing recipes and wisdom from 13 wonderful bakers), Medrich suggests boiling the cream because it increases the storage life of the ganache to bring the cream to a full boil. An Epicurious recipe also recommends boiling. In his book, Chocolate, pastry chef and author Nick Malgieri, sometimes calls for simmering the cream and other times calls for bringing it to a full boil. The Kitchn, KingArthur Flour, and author Toba Garrett on Epicurious all say that you do not need to boil the cream.
What is the proper proportion of chocolate to cream for ganache?
It depends on what you are making. For a glaze, Malgieri suggests 1 or 1 & 1/2-to-1, chocolate to cream, e.g., 8 ounces chocolate to 8 ounces of heavy cream or 12 ounces chocolate to 8 ounces heavy cream. Medrich suggests 1-to-3/4 or 1, chocolate to cream. You can go all the way to slightly less than 1-to-2, chocolate to cream, then whipping it for what Medrich calls a “light ganache.” As a cover for chocolate truffles, you should go to the opposite extreme. In that case, The Kitchn recommends 2-to-1, chocolate to cream.
How long can you store ganache?
King Arthur Flour and Medrich both say ganache lasts about a week in the refrigerator. Medrich also points out that you can freeze ganache for up to six months.
How do you do rewarm ganache?
The Kitchn recommends reheating it in a double boiler or over simmering water. I’m too lazy for that, and carefully microwave it at a low temperature for a limited time, stirring it frequently. In my experience, rewarming ganache in the microwave works well as long as you keep the power low and check it often.
I hope these tips on making chocolate ganache encourage you to try it if you haven’t. Or, if you’re already a ganache-maker, I hope they’ll help you up your game. Either way, enjoy your ganache on cakes, in crepes, filling cookies or rolled over truffles.