Does anyone else remember the old ads for the Panache fragrance range? No? Neither does Google, strangely. The ad used to go “say it with Panache”. But I would far rather say it with ganache – chocolate speaks louder than words.
It’s become my go-to confection – I’ve used it as a cupcake icing, truffles, chocolate filling, ice-cream sauce, whipped mousse (who knew? new favourite discovery); it took me years to try it though, for the silliest reason – the fancy-shmancy name made it sound gastronomically intimidating. What a load of old socks! It’s the easiest thing in the world! Plus the name has an interesting etymology (I LOVE etymology *pushes thick glasses back up nose, snorts, pats pocket-protector*). Apparently the word comes from the French for “fool”, after a chef accidentally spilled cream into melted chocolate. I love happy accidents like this :-).*
So I checked out several recipes online and found it strange that so many people try to overcomplicate ganache. Minute detail like temperature, time, tempering…. who cares, right? It’s chocolate and it’s easy, and it doesn’t require a degree in nuclear physics.
For 2 cups of ganache:
1 cup of cream
1 cup of chocolate – dark, milk or white (it’s about 250g). Good quality mind – what you get out is only as good as what you put in. Don’t you dare use baking chocolate!
Seriously, that is all. You can add other stuff if you like but to me this is the best it will ever be.
Heat the cream, either in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (not touching!) or in the microwave until its hot to that point just before boiling. Pour it over the broken-up chocolate and stir to melt and blend.
To use it as a topping, allow it to cool a bit and pour it over the cake while the mixture is thick but still pourable. It will form gorgeous smooth glossiness, and you can orchestrate a few artistic drips as well. For truffles, let it cool completely then chill it till it sets firm and use a melon-baller to scoop it out before coating in chopped toasted nuts, cocoa powder, sprinkles, etc. I’ve frozen ganache like this with no ill-effects after defrosting – it’s a good standby to have stashed in the freezer, if by some miracle you have leftovers.
For an amazing rich, fluffy mousse to use as a filling for moulded chocolates or to serve as a tiny rich dessert, allow it to cool down and while it’s still pourable open a can of whup-ass on it with a whisk and it will miraculously transform into aerated, pipe-able chocolate heaven:
I will be making white ganache to use on dark chocolate chilli cupcakes tomorrow, and I bet you anything it will convey a much stronger message than what Panache ever could.
*Probing further, I found that “ganache” is derived from Italian which was derived from the Greek for “jowl”. Ew. Let’s just stick with the happier-sounding version.