I find that many people are intimidated by baking because they’ve always been told that they need to be very careful to measure everything exactly or their cake, pastry, icing, etc will not turn out correctly. While this is true, there is no need to be intimidated. Baking is all science and math, and like math, it is essentially a serious of formulas. Once you get the formulas down, you can create anything your heart desires quite easily. I am starting this Baking Basics column to help show you some of these formulas and basic recipes that once mastered will open up a world of possibilities for you.
Ganache, a silky combination of cream and chocolate, is one of the easiest recipes up a pastry chef’s sleeve and can be used in a multitude of ways. Ganache can be used as frosting in a cake, as the filling to truffles, or poured over a cake to form a glossy chocolate finish. It can be made with any kind of chocolate, though semi-sweet is customary.
There are three types of ganache, which vary only in their ratio of chocolate to cream.
- Ordinary ganache has a ratio of 1:1 (chocolate:cream). It is very liquidy and is generally used for glazing cakes.
- Rich ganache has a ratio of 1 ½:1 (chocolate:cream). This type of ganache is used as a filling, much like buttercream.
- Truffle ganache has a ratio of 2:1 (chocolate:cream). This ganache is used as the filling in truffles.
After making a ganache, any of these can be further flavored with other ingredients.
To make ordinary ganache, you’ll need:
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
8 oz heavy cream
- Cut the chocolate up finely
- Bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat
- Add the chocolate and set aside 5 minutes
- Stir until smooth. Do not use a whisk because that will create air bubbles in your ganache.
- Cool to room temperature.
The instructions are the same for rich and truffle ganache, simply adjust the amount of chocolate in your recipe.