Ganache is a magical mixture of just two basic ingredients: cream and chocolate. And it’s a wonderful recipe and skill to have under your belt.
The basic ganache technique is to heat cream until just before it boils. This can be done on the stove-top or in a microwave.
Then pour the hot cream over chopped-up chocolate or chocolate chips. Leave for a few minutes and then stir to combine. If not all the chocolate has melted, you can heat the ganache over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
Now with only two ingredients, it does matter what you use. Good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) is my personal favourite, but you can certainly use milk or white chocolate, or even a mixture of two or three kinds of chocolates. Bar chocolates tend to taste better, but if it’s important that your ganache holds its shape, then use chocolate chips.
For cream, you can choose between single and double/whipping cream depending on how rich and creamy you want your final ganache to be. For the lactose-intolerant and vegans, I’ve used non-dairy whipping cream and soy single cream to great success.
Some additions to the ganache will give it some extra oomph. Add a small pat of butter for a glossy finish to your set ganache. Additional complementary flavourings are aplenty, but off the top of my head I can think of sea salt, citrus zest, vanilla extract, and coffee oil.
You can vary the proportion of chocolate to cream in your ganache depending on the application:
1 part chocolate to 1 part cream
Equal parts chocolate and cream (that’s by weight) will give you a nice pourable ganache that sets in the fridge. This is what you’d use to pour over a cake (room temperature or fridge-cold please).
You could even increase the chocolate by 25%-50% so that it holds up better in warmer weather.
2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream
This gives you chocolate truffles. Make up the ganache and refrigerate it until it’s set firm. Then roll tablespoon portions between your hands and roll the balls of truffle in coatings of your choice. Common coatings include unsweetened cocoa powder, chopped nuts and dessicated/shredded coconut.
1 part chocolate to 2 parts cream
Adding more cream to chocolate creates the most decadent chocolate sauce. Serve it warm over ice cream or dilute it with some hot water or milk for insanely good hot chocolate.