In the movie Chocolat, Juliette Binoche’s character, Vianne, revives an entire town using the decadent, sensual and divine power of chocolate. Anyone who’s ever been enchanted by a chocolate ganache truffle can understand—its spell is difficult to shake. Made of a simple combination of cream and chocolate and sometimes a flavoring agent, ganache is a chocolate-making basic for cooks.
This multipurpose filling/topping is a simple combination of heavy whipping cream and chocolate. The ratio of cream to chocolate is determined by use: for a thin, pourable icing, use more cream. For a little more heft (as with truffles), use a little less.
Just follow these steps and who knows—you might get lucky like Vianne and have a dashing Johnny Depp show up on your doorstep:
- Bring one cup of heavy whipping cream to a low boil. The standard ratio is one cup of cream per 8 ounces of chocolate (less cream and the mixture is likely to seize).
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, which should be roughly chopped first. The type of chocolate used is up to personal preference, however the higher quality chocolates with a 60 percent or above cocoa count will produce a better end product. After all, the better the chocolate—the richer the ganache.
- After giving the chocolate a moment to melt, begin slowly whisking from the center of the bowl outwards. Avoid mixing too fast as this will create air bubbles and make it more difficult to form a smooth and shiny emulsion from the chocolate and cream.
Working With Ganache
Once the ganache is fully incorporated, the real fun begins. Here are three ways to use the chocolaty creation:
- In its warm and liquidy state, evenly (but quickly) pour ganache over cakes or cupcakes for a decadent display.
- Let the ganache cool and thicken in the refrigerator so it can be used for fillings and pipe work on desserts. For a more airy and spreadable frosting for cakes, whip the cooled ganache again, this time using an electric mixture.
- Refrigerate until solid and, using a small melon baller, scoop ganache into truffles, then roll in anything from cocoa to coconut to finely chopped nuts.
—By Emily Arno