Q: What has two ingredients, requires no fancy equipment or special skills, and can be whipped up into three different recipes?
Ganache is a fancy French term for a simple technique combining chopped chocolate and warm heavy cream. A quick whisk and you’ve got the base for THREE different recipes – a smooth shiny glaze, an easy frosting, or heavenly truffles.
With the holidays upon us, having this “multitasker” in your back pocket can be a life saver. I’ve broken down the basic technique into easy step-by-step instructions, along with some great ideas for how to use your new favorite recipe!
from Martha Stewart
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (about 61% cacao)
1 c. heavy cream
1/8 t. kosher salt
Coarsely chop the chocolate; place in a large bowl. Heat the cream over medium-high heat till just boiling. Immediately pour over chocolate; add salt and let sit for 10 minutes (do not stir). Whisk until smooth, shiny and completely emulsified. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to collect any chocolate that may have settled. Use as follows:
Chilled ganache for truffles:
Transfer warm ganache to a small bowl or loaf pan – refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Using a small ice cream or melon scoop, scoop out chilled ganache and form into balls with the palms of your hands (slightly dampened hands prevent sticking). Roll truffles in any of the following: unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, nonpareils, crushed cooking crumbs, sanding sugar or finely chopped nuts. Place each truffle in a mini baking cup and chill (can be made up to four days in advance).
Room temperature ganache for frosting:
Let ganache cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-4 minutes, or till pale and fluffy. Use as a frosting or filling for cupcakes, whoopie pies or layer cakes.
Warm ganache for glaze:
Set your cooled cake (or cupcakes) on a rack set over a baking sheet, to catch the drips. Pour the warm ganache over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Let sit for 15 minutes and transfer to a cake plate or stand to finish setting (about three hours at room temperature – you can refrigerate it if you need to speed things up, but the glaze won’t be as shiny).
And by all means, don’t discard those drips! Scrape them up, re-melt and:
Pipe it into jam-filled tartlet shells.
Spoon it over ice cream.
Stir it into warm milk for a decadent hot chocolate.