All about Ganache
Do you want to save a bland cake? Put some ganache on it!
Do you want to make your desserts look instantly attractive? Pour some ganache over it!
Do you want to prep a cake for fondant covering? Dress it up with ganache frosting!
Do you want to make chocolate mousse? Add some ganache to whipped cream!
The versatile ganache is pretty much the answer to many questions!
A killer chocolate truffle cake I once tasted had me wondering how they made that rich, luscious frosting. With every bite, I speculated the ingredients in it - cocoa powder, milk, butter, sugar and what not! It was not until my late teens when I actually searched for the recipe. But when I found it, I was bitterly disappointed. How can something so delicious be made with just chocolate and cream? Is it really that simple? Isn’t it just ‘thinned’ down chocolate? All my theories were shattered and I was mad!
But the answer to how it was so rich, had that amazing mouth feel, lay right there in front of my eyes. It was CHOCOLATE!
The quality of chocolate you use can make or break your ganache! I will tell you one little secret about all chocolate desserts! It doesn’t matter what recipe you use, what secret tricks you follow, if your chocolate / cocoa powder is average, your end product WILL be average! This is why you should always pick the finest quality raw ingredients! I agree fine quality chocolate can cost an arm and a leg, especially when you buy in bulk. But you really get what you pay for!
So WHAT IS GANACHE?
Ganache is essentially a combination of chocolate and cream, in different proportions, which you can use as a filling, frosting or topping for your cakes & desserts.
Image: Free stock images
HOW IS GANACHE MADE?
There are two methods of making ganache. You can pick the one you’re most comfortable with.
INGREDIENTS (RATIO 1:1)
Dark Chocolate, chopped - 100 g
Heavy cream - 100 g
METHOD 1 : The most followed method is to heat the cream and pour it over chopped chocolate.
Take 100 ml of cream in a saucepan.
Heat it till you get small bubbles on the sides. (DO NOT boil)
Pour it over 100 g chopped chocolate and let it stand for 5 - 10 minutes.
Heat from the cream will met the chocolate. After 5-10 minutes, give it a good stir to get smooth, shiny ganache. If there are chunks of chocolate in the ganache, microwave the mixture till the chocolate is melted completely.
Ganache needs to “set” (thicken) before it can be used as filling or frosting. This is done by simply letting it sit at room temperature for 8 hours (it depends on the weather at your place. The hotter your place, the longer it will take and vice versa). You can also pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to speed up the process.
METHOD 2 : This is just the opposite of the method explained above.
First melt 100 g chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
If you are using microwave, heat chocolate in 20 second bursts to avoid burning it.
Once it is completely melted, add 100 g heavy cream (at room temperature) and mix until both are combined.
This is the method I use as ganache sets quicker than the first method. Takes approx 3 hours at my place where the average temperature is 27 - 28 degree celsius.
Ganache can be made with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate or a combination of the first two. In terms of workability and taste, I prefer Dark > White > Milk.
Dark chocolate ganache tastes a tad bitter. Working with this is a breeze and it sets quickly. This is my go-to frosting for a fondant cake.
Milk chocolate ganache is sweeter than dark chocolate ganache. It is ideal for cakes without fondant covering. I rarely use this under fondant because it takes forever to set, even at high ratio of chocolate to cream.
White chocolate ganache is the sweetest of the lot. It sets in no time. It sure is tasty, but you need to be careful about what cake flavour you’re pairing it with. White chocolate ganache needs to be whipped with a hand beater before using.
* To make your milk chocolate ganache set quicker, replace a small portion of milk chocolate with dark chocolate. This addition will also tone down the sweetness to some extent.
* If your ganache is too thick to spread, give it a good mix with your spatula. This will make it softer.
* You can also microwave it for a few seconds.
The ratio of chocolate to cream varies depending on what you want to use the ganache for. A glaze or a drip needs to be of pourable consistency. So you need almost equal quantities of cream and chocolate. For covering a cake, the frosting needs to hold its shape. So a higher ratio of chocolate to cream is required.
A ratio of 1 : 1 means equal parts of chocolate and cream. i.e. 100 g chocolate to 100 g cream.
A 2 : 1 ratio means double the amount of chocolate for 1 part of cream i.e 200 g chocolate for 100 g cream.
The table below lists the proportions that have worked well for me. I prefer to increase the quantity of chocolate during summer, especially if working with fondant.
STORAGE & SHELF LIFE
Room Temperature : 2 days
Refrigerator : 10 days
Freezer : 2 months
What makes ganache a cake decorator’s best friend is its shelf life. While some buttercreams do have the same shelf life as ganache, the latter takes less effort and is easier to work with. Always use airtight containers for storing ganache.
That’s all for today. Hope this has answered most of your questions about ganache.
In continuation of this topic, there will be another post up next week with ganache tips & tricks.
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Happy ganaching! 😊