Ganache has two ingredients: chocolate and cream. They are combined in a way that transforms the hard, brittle chocolate into a soft, perfectly smooth, workable substance.
Types: Soft, Medium, and Hard. I most commonly make medium ganache, which is one part chocolate and one part cream by weight. It is firm but workable at fridge temperatures, and very soft but not fluid at room temperature.
Hard ganache is two parts chocolate to one part cream. It is much firmer than medium ganache and holds it’s shape well. It is, however, less stable: the concentrated solids in the chocolate slowly absorb moisture from the cream, then swell, clump, and make the ganache grainy. Hard ganache is often used as a glaze for cakes.
Soft ganache is roughly two parts chocolate to three parts cream.
A General Procedure. Weigh out your cream. Heat the cream in a heavy pot on the stove, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t boil over.
Meanwhile, weigh out your chocolate and put it in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Once the cream is simmering, immediately pour it over the chocolate. Cover the container tightly and wait a few minutes to let the chocolate melt.
At this point the ganache will look like chocolate milk with nebulous splotches of dark chocolate throughout. You can whisk it or even blend it, but usually pastry chefs try to avoid incorporating air.
You have now made ganache. It’s best to let it cool at room temperature. The gradual cooling encourages the development of crystals in the chocolate that will slow the melting process, whether the ganache is in your hands or on your tongue.
Uses. There are countless uses for ganache, but the supreme application is chocolate truffles. Stay tuned.