Oh my Ganache!
What is Ganache?
The French term “ganache” refers to a smooth mixture of chocolate and heavy cream. Ganache was invented around the year 1850, however the origin of the product is under some debate. Some say that it was invented in Switzerland as a base for truffles, whereas others say it came from the word famous Patisserie Siravdin in Paris. Due to the simplicity of the creating the chocolate coating it quickly became popular in the European countries.
How is Ganache Used?
Ganache is a versatile recipe that can be thinned out or thickened allowing it to be used for many different things. When used as a thick coating it will harden into a paste or dough texture after it has cooled. At that point it can be rolled into chocolate balls and made into Truffles. A liquid coating can be applied to cakes, pastries and breads. By adding liqueurs to the liquid version you are able to change the taste of the coating or filling. Some popular confections that are made with Ganache include: Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Covered Fruits, and Chocolate Mousse.
How to Make Ganache
The end result of the taste and quality of your ganache will be dependent on the quality of chocolate you begin with. It is important to remember that not all chocolates are of the same quality. Chocolate comes from the beans of the Theobroma, a tropical tree. The type of beans and where they are grown are contributing factors to the chocolate characteristics and flavor. In addition, how the beans are roasted and ground, how much cocoa butter is added and quality and amounts of other ingredients affect the end product.
To make ganache you will heat the heavy cream over medium heat and bring it to a boil. As soon as it has reached the boiling point you will immediately pour it over the chopped chocolate and allow it to stand for approximately five minutes before whisking until smooth. At this point you can add liqueurs or other ingredients to flavor.
The ration of chocolate to cream is an important factor that is used to produce the right consistency. It is traditionally two parts chocolate to one part cream, if you are making the Swiss version of the recipe. American ganache is generally made with a thick milk and dark chocolate and Europeans use a thick syrup of cocoa powder and butter. These two variations have a longer shelf life than the Swiss recipe.