ganache [guh–nahsh] noun
A multi-purpose emulsion of chocolate and cream that can be used in multiple ways. A basic version is made in a 2:1 chocolate to cream ratio (by weight). While it can be as simple as combining these two components, ganache can also contain additional ingredients such as butter, to enrich it, or corn syrup to lend shine. Liqueurs can be added and herbs and spices can be infused in the cream to provide flavor.
In its liquid form, ganache can be used as a glaze for cake, a simple chocolate sauce for ice cream or it can be poured into a baked tart shell; it becomes a rich truffle tart after chilling. In its room-temperature form, it can be used as a creamy frosting or combined with other ingredients to make a mousse. It can also be whipped into a lighter, aerated version and used as a filling or frosting. Chilled, it can be rolled into truffles.
The origin of ganache is somewhat disputed. The Swiss claim to have been using ganache for truffle centers for hundreds of years while the French assert that it was invented at the renowned Patisserie Siraudin in Paris around the year 1850. Another colorful story suggests that a 19th century apprentice in a French patisserie accidentally spilled hot cream into a bowl of chocolate. His angry superior called him “un ganache,” which can be translated as “idiot or fool,” however upon tasting the new creation he realized that a new recipe was born.
Ganache that is not prepared properly will break, meaning it will become grainy and/or separated. Sometimes it breaks because of poor preparation technique; sometimes it is due to the amount of cacao butter and cacao mass in the particular chocolate used, which will not combine smoothly with the amount of cream – the ratios are off. This often happens when a recipe was developed with a lower percentage chocolate and you end up making it with chocolate that has a much higher cacao and/or cocoa butter percentage. Broken ganache can be repaired: divide it, chilling one half while heating the other, and then carefully stirring the warmed ganache into the cooled ganache. Watching carefully as it is being prepared will often help prevent it from breaking; if it begins to separate, add a teaspoon or two of cold cream to the mixture and continue to stir.