Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Versatility of Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache adds richness and reduces sugar content in cakes, see the recipe below for ganache that can be piped.

Last week, I provided a recipe for chocolate ganache made from 100% dark chocolate.  And yesterday I was making one a little sweeter, using 56% semi-sweet organic chocolate to top a cheesecake for a customer.  While I was piping it onto the cake, I got to thinking about how versatile chocolate ganache is.  You can do all sorts of things with it, including:

  • Pour it over a cake for a glaze-like topping
  • Let it set, then pipe it to decorate a cake
  • Let it set, then whip it.  Once whipped, you can pipe it, fill chocolate cups, use it like mousse, or filling between cake layers (see pic of whipped ganache below at bottom of post).
  • Let it set, then scoop out rich, creamy truffles with a melon baller, and dip in chocolate.

Below is a quick recipe for chocolate ganache that you can pipe onto cakes.  As you get more comfortable with making ganache, you can start to modify the amount of cream, chocolate or syrup used depending on your applications.  For instance, if you want a thicker ganache to pour it over a cake, it may be best to reduce the whipping cream by 1/4 cup so the ganache is not too liquid and doesn't drip everywhere when it's warm and your pouring it over your cake. Good luck!

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Ganache
Time: 10 minutes to start, then 6 to 8 hours is required to let it set (or overnight).
For milk chocolate ganache, use the same amount of chocolate and syrup/honey, but reduce the cream by 1/4 cup.

You need:
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate (I used 56% organic couverture, but you can choose to use something sweeter or darker depending on your preference)
  • 1 cup cream (you can vary this as you get more comfortable with the recipe)
  • 1 tbsp. agave syrup, honey or corn syrup (not necessary, but it adds shine)

1. Chop the chocolate into 1/2" pieces and place in a medium-sized bowl.

2. Pour your cream into a small saucepan and heat on the stovetop to a simmer (well, nearly simmering, don't let it actually boil!).

3. Immediately pour over the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth (not your red-stained pasta spoon though! If there are no odour-free wooden spoons on hand, just use a regular spoon from your utensil drawer).

4. Add the syrup and stir in.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and let set on the counter overnight or for 6 to 8 hours (it's best if the room is no hotter than 21 degrees C.)

6. Once set, you can do one of the following:

Pipe it onto a cake or cupcakes: Vigorously whip by hand with a spatula to soften before piping it.  If you are using a metal piping end, you may want to warm that slightly.  You can also warm the mixture slightly over a double boiler or for 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave if it seems too stiff to pipe. But be careful that you don't melt it back to a liquid or you cannot pipe it!!!

Make whipped ganache: Once set, whip it with beaters or a stand mixer until you fluff it up and get more volume.  The colour will lighten tremendously, so don't be surprised by this. See the pic below for whipped ganache on a cherry-topped cheesecake.

Make Truffles: Scoop out balls of truffle and then roll them in cocoa powder or dip them in melted, tempered chocolate.

Re-melt and pour over a cake. Let the ganache set on the cake in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

Make a rich hot chocolate: Drop two tablespoons into a mug of warm milk and stir.  Drink and enjoy!

I regularly use ganache in all the ways listed above for my chocolate business (well, the hot chocolate part is just for me, truthfully).  It truly is a versatile tool that can enhance your dessert recipes or chocolate creations. And the best part about topping a cake with ganache, instead of using 'icing, is that you can reduce the sugar in the cake!
Whipped Ganache:
When you use beaters or a stand mixer to whip it, the whipping cream in the ganache
does what it is supposed to and adds volume.
The colour changes from dark to light, but it is still delicious.