Ganache, at its most basic, is a blend of two ingredients: chocolate and cream (usually dark chocolate like in this recipe). As simple as it is, it is also extremely versatile and well worth learning how to make: While fluid, it can be poured and used as a glaze over a cake or used as a simple chocolate sauce; chilled or allowed to sit at room temperature until thick and spreadable, it can also be used as a frosting or even piped onto a cake; and a thoroughly chilled mixture can be rolled into truffles. The flavor and texture will greatly depend on which chocolate you use. This chocolate ganache recipe was developed with semisweet chocolate and lower percentage bittersweet chocolates. The proportions of cream will be different for chocolate with different cacao percentages, so please try the suggested ones below and experiment to see which flavor and texture you prefer.
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped, such as Valrhona Equitoriale (55%), Ghirardelli semisweet, Callebaut semisweet (52%) or Merckens Bittersweet (51%)
- Place cream in a medium-size saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and immediately sprinkle chocolate into cream. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes; the heat of the cream will melt the chocolate. Gently stir the ganache until smooth. You may also combine the ingredients in a microwave-proof bowl and heat at 50% power until chocolate is about three-quarters melted. Remove from the microwave and stir gently until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined and smooth.
- When stirring the ganache, do so very gently. You are aiming to combine the ingredients but you do not want to whip air into the ganache. We use a rubber spatula, sometimes a whisk, but never a whisking action, which would aerate the ganache.
- The ganache is now ready to use. Use in its liquid state as a glaze, poured over cakes or as a simple sauce for ice cream. It also makes a fine chocolate fondue. Or, allow to sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight or until it reaches a spreadable consistency (between mayonnaise and peanut butter). You can use it to frost cakes, cupcakes and bars.
- Refrigerate up to 1 week in an airtight container or freeze up to 1 month. You may re-warm ganache to its fluid state on low power in microwave or over very low heat in a saucepan.
- Make sure that your chocolate is finely chopped so that it melts readily with the hot cream.
- If the chocolate does not completely melt, place saucepan over very low heat, stirring often until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to scorch.
- Your choice of chocolate will literally make or break this recipe. Chocolates with a high cocoa percentage will leave you with a “broken” product; this is the actual technical term. We don’t recommend anything higher than 55% for this chocolate ganache recipe. The mixture will refuse to come together into a smooth mass. It might look curdled and/or the cocoa butter will separate, float to the top and create an oily film. If this happens you can attempt to resuscitate it by whisking in some extra cold cream and/or buzzing it with an immersion blender. It should come together. It is simply a matter of chocolate/cream proportions, so don’t give up.
- Whenever you have a recipe with so few ingredients, it is vitally important that they are all of the highest quality as their flavors and textures will be readily apparent. Buy fresh cream and the flavor of the chocolate should be one that you enjoy eating all by itself.