1) What is Ganache?
Great point. It’s all together possible the first thing you didn’t know about ganache, is what it is! Well, ganache (guh-NAWSH) is a frosting. Actually, it’s a truffle. No, it’s a mousse! It’s a glaze! No, it’s super-ganache! In truth, ganache is all of these things. Made of two simple ingredients – chocolate and cream – ganache is a versatile super-topping that can be used to make a whole wealth of tasty treats, from truffles to cake filling. I made my first batch this past week to top some delicious bacon cupcakes (more on that in a later post).
2) Ganache is French. No Wait! It’s Swiss…
The origin of ganache is in high debate. Many think the Swiss invented ganache because it is the home of the truffle. Sacrebleu! No, no, madam et monsieur, ganache was dreamed up in Paris in the 1800’s at the Patisserie Siravdin. Given its versatility, it's not surprising that two completely different countries picked up chocolate and cream and thought – hey, we could use this! Bon Appetit!
3) It’s all about Texture! Texture! Texture!
It’s a tasters market, and the versatility of ganache comes from its texture, and texture comes from the ratio of chocolate to cream. A loose, or soft ganache (one part cream, three parts chocolate) is perfect as cake icing or dipping chocolate. Meanwhile a firm ganache (one part cream, two parts chocolate) is ideal for the creation of truffles.
4) Ganache Loves to Drink!
Many baked goods taste better with a little alcohol splash, and ganache is no lightweight. For some tasty flavor, feel free to add in some rum, brandy, or cognac to your granache mixer. You can also add fun flavors with extracts like vanilla or almond. Whether you like it straight up or with a triple bang, get yourself to that ganache bar and start flippin’ some trix!
5) Ganache is a Bitter Lover.
Traditionally, ganache is made from bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate. Yes, she’s got a bit of a bite, and if rubbed the wrong way she’ll cause you to throw your entire dessert in the trash. With a little love, however, she’s the perfect match for the sweet stuff – cake or fresh fruit. But if bitter is on your blech-o-meter, don’t fret because you can make ganache out of a ton of choice chocolates. What’s your type? Dark chocolate? Milk chocolate? White chocolate? All can be made into this sensuous sweet!
6) I Like Shiny Things.
Do you find yourself with an affinity toward sprinkles or golden glazes? Then ganache is your kind of chocolate. Add in a quick splash of oil, butter, or corn syrup and you’ll transform your matte mixture into a glossy glaze. It’s the Midas chocolate touch!
7) Oh My Ganache, the Fat is Going Straight to My Hips!
In our image-crazed culture we don’t often hear that fat is a good thing. But if you’re a ganache, it’s the equivalent to being a size zero. In fact, the higher the fat content of your cream, the richer and more stable your ganache will be. This is because the milk solids in the cream help the ganache to thicken, while the butter fat adds smoothness and moisture. That’s right, fat is beautiful (and delicious)!
8) How Long Does Ganache Like to Party?
Because ganache is half cream, it does have a relatively short shelf life. If you keep it in a cool place, the ganache will party for about two days, perhaps less if dancing a room-temperature tango. If invited to the fridge parade, you up your ganache-life to about a week. And if thrown in your freezer's mosh pit, ganache will keep on rockin’ for up to three months. After that, the party's over.
9) Picture this – Ganache is an Emlusion!
At first glance, it seems ganache is just a simple mixture of two ingredients: cream and chocolate. But look closer and far more will develop. Ganache is really an emulsification and a suspension, and if we adjust our focus we'll see that nothing is mixing at all. That’s what an emulsion is: the combination of two non-mixable elements. During the stirring phase when the ingredients are about 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit, the cream and chocolate fat breaks into itsy-bitsy droplets. And since they can't mix together, they become suspended in the water and stabilized with the emulsifier of fatty-milk-acids. Neat huh?
10) Ganache is as easy as….Pie?
It’s easier! Pie takes at least an hour to cook, not to mention prep time. Ganache will take 10-15 minutes, tops! Don’t believe me? Then follow the directions below and find out for yourself:
8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (cut into small pieces)
¾ cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon rum (or brandy, or vanilla extract, or anything else you want to flavor with!)
1) Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl and set aside. Chopping your chocolate is very important! Don’t forget to do it.
2) Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
3) As the cream begins to boil, immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Don't touch it. Walk away and pick your nose (and of course wash your hands after).
4) Stir with a whisk until smooth.
5) If desired, add the liqueur.
6) Pour ganache over cake, or dip cupcakes into the ganache while it is still warm and liquid.
Elizabeth, LaBau. "Ganache." About.com. 23 January 2010
Jaworski, Stephanie. "Ganache Recipe." The Joy of Baking Website. 23 January 2010
Phillips, Sarah. "What is Chocolate Ganache?" 2008. Baking 911. 23 January 2010
Smith, S.E. "What is Ganache?" 16 December 2009. WiseGeek.com. 23 January 2010
Yard, Sherry. "About Ganache - Excerpt from book "Secrets of Baking"." January 2004. The Global Gormet. 23 January 2010