The Joy (and Pitfalls) of Ganache

I’ve already said most of my cook books have something to do with cooking with less — money, time, apparatus, or ingredients. This doesn’t mean that we munch raw wheat, but it does mean that I’m a sucker for books like this one:

ratio book cover001

I like this book because in theory as I use it I can discard, sell, or donate many of my other cookbooks. Why will I need them if I understand the principles behind other dishes? If it’s good enough for professional chefs to use, well, then it’s certainly good enough for me, with my ambitions to only being a plain but good cook.

Like many of my cookbooks, I had this, read it, but hadn’t actually used it, until some time last November. I decided the ganache ratio was simple enough that even I could probably do it without screwing it up. It only has 2 ingredients! Just my kind of thing, and it was chocolate after all.

For years I’ve complained about various foods being shortcutted or made with substitutes so that they aren’t as good as they used to be. Chocolate’s one of these foods. I don’t like most commercial chocolate sauces. I don’t like most of the chocolate mousse I’ve had for the past few years either. This ganache definitely fixes my chocolate sauce dilemma (and will probably fix the mousse problem).

The ratio is really simple, except you have to understand that you’re going to measure one ingredient by volume (the cream) but the other by weight (the chocolate). The author has you do both by weight, but I didn’t the first time, and haven’t since.

Pour 1C or 8 FLUID oz cream (double cream to the Brits) into a 1 quart sauce pan. You need 1/2 lb, 8 oz by WEIGHT of semi-sweet chocolate. Chop or grate the chocolate. (The better the chocolate, the better the ganache. For everyday I use Baker’s German Semi-Sweet, my husband isn’t fond of Hershey’s.)

Heat the cream over low heat until steaming. Stir in the chocolate. Turn off the heat. (If you have an electric stove, remove the pan from the burner.) Keep stirring until the mixture is all one color (dark rich brown) AND appears satiny and not grainy (all the chocolate hasn’t melted) throughout. Let cool. [The book’s instructions differ from mine. He has you heat the cream to a simmer and then pour it over the grated chocolate. Wait 5 minutes and then whisk it together. I’m too impatient to wait!]

This stuff makes great mocha, (about 2 small tsp per mug) hot fudge on ice cream, is wonderful as a chocolate filling/dip and beats the heck out of Nutella, except that it lacks the nutty flavor. I like it better;  it’s cheaper, I control what’s in it and I can make just what I need. And, of course every time I replace a prefab food with home-made with less junk that’s also cheaper, it’s definitely a win!

I spoon the warm ganache into an old jelly jar. When I want some I zap it for 10-25 seconds in the micro until it’s the consistency I want, just not solid or downright nearly runny. It WILL burn — if you want it really runny, I’d soften it in the micro and then put what you need in the top of a double boiler to melt it completely. (I’ll add images of the steps the next time I make it.)

Who needs to buy chocolate sauce? Nutella? Hot fudge sauce? For a long-time completely addicted chocoholic like me, this stuff is heaven: cheap, easy and GREAT!

The pitfalls? It’s too easy and cheap to make! Now there’s almost always a jar in my fridge. I’m on a ration: 3 teaspoons daily (1T)!

I had to ration myself or I’d just eat it all.

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2 responses to “The Joy (and Pitfalls) of Ganache

  1. I just got this book for Christmas, and it is wonderful… It is so true, as you say, that this book can replace tons of cookbooks… As one who is working on purging crap from my house and life, I can appreciate that, and your blog! Thanks for this…it encourages me greatly! 🙂

    • This is the 3rd time I’ve tried this. WP and I are having a tussle tonight!

      I found your blog once thru CITR and then lost it. It was when I was new to CITR and spent days browsing thru the incredible blogs of the folk who post there, and was very intimidated. : Thank you so much for the kind remarks.

      I am really glad that you commented here and so I could find you again.

      Thanks —
      J

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