One of the greatest jewels in a cook’s crown is having a handful of solid back-pocket recipes that can really multi-task. Ganache is one of those workhorses. Although its French name may sound intimidating and complex, ganache is nothing more than a combination of melted chocolate and heavy cream (and a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor). No elaborate techniques. No tempering necessary. In fact, the only cooking that is required is to boil the cream. But don’t let its simplicity fool you. Ganache can be used in many, many delicious ways – hot, warm or cold.
While it’s still warm, pour it over cake or a doughnut for a shiny glaze. Add some butter and corn syrup and you have a gooey hot fudge sauce for ice cream sundaes. Whisk in some milk for velvety, ultra-rich hot chocolate. Or serve it with chunks of fruit for a quick and easy fondue.
Once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can whip up a fluffy frosting for cupcakes. Or chill it in the refrigerator to roll into melt-in-your-mouth truffles.
Plus, you can flavor your ganache with spices, peanut butter, liqueurs, extracts or coffee granules for even more options.
Once you learn how to make ganache, you can create an impressive variety of desserts from one recipe. Now that’s sweet!
The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Basic Ganache
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Finely chop the chocolate (a serrated knife works brilliantly here – its saw-like teeth really grab on to the chocolate and make quick work of chopping) and place into a bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium, heat the cream until it just comes to a boil; pour over the chocolate and allow it to stand undisturbed for 8 to 10 minutes. Add in the salt and whisk until smooth and shiny.
- If not using ganache right away, cover and refrigerate. Gently reheat in a double boiler or microwave.
…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:
Planning: If you’re a white, dark, milk or bittersweet chocolate fan, feel free to swap out the semi-sweet for your favorite choice.
Product Purity: I always tell people to cook with a wine that you would drink and the same rule applies to chocolate. Choose a quality one that you’d eat straight out of the package but avoid chocolate chips since they usually contain ingredients that help them hold their shape when baked (it can make for too-thick ganache).
Presentation: Make a double batch of ganache to give as a hostess gift; pour in a pretty glass jar; tie a small whisk to the jar with a pretty ribbon for a cute but useful decoration.