Ganache is the standard filling for bonbons and is widely used in all pastry, yet many find it intimidating to make at home. Ganache is actually quite simple to prepare, and can be used in a wide variety of delicious desserts. Here's a step-by-step visual guide to help you along the way. This guide shows you a couple ways to make truffles, but there are also some alternative suggestions at the end if you want to get creative with your ganache.
For making truffles and most other applications, the chocolate-to-cream ratio is about 2:1 for dark chocolate, 2.5:1 for milk and white.
There are a couple different ways to flavor ganache as well: for spices, tea and other aromatics, you'll want to steep those in the cream first. If you're going that route, your first step will be to gently heat your cream with the flavoring, then let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on what you're using and how strong you want the flavor to be). Then strain the cream and proceed. If you're adding something, just mix it in after the ganache has come together. Do keep in mind that you want to add liquids slowly and a little bit at a time—too much extra liquid, and you risk "breaking" the ganache.
After following the steps in this slideshow, it's up to you. You can let the balls of ganache set in the fridge and roll them in cocoa powder for a simple but elegant presentation. Or you can temper some chocolate and dip them in that: place a little tempered chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll each chilled ganache ball in it before placing it on another piece of clean wax paper to set.
If you want to get really fancy you can roll it in cocoa powder after it's been dipped in chocolate; and then wow all your friends with your beautiful classic French-style truffles.
If your ganache breaks, you'll know it—it will take on a curdled appearance as the fat and liquid separate. Don't fret! Simply heat a couple tablespoons more cream or milk and add it bit by bit while stirring until it comes back together.
What to Do with Your Ganache
- Use it to fill sandwich cookies
- Heat it and serve it over ice cream or fresh fruit
- Whip it with a hand mixer and use it to frost a cake
- Eat it straight-up with a spoon
About the author: Liz Gutman co-owns the Brooklyn-based candy business Liddabit Sweets, which means she spends a lot of time around chocolate (and a lot of time eating it). She moved to New York in 2001 to go to, wait for it, acting school. But when the acting life wasn't for her, she wound up in the French Culinary Institute's pastry program while working at Roni-Sue's Chocolates in Manhattan's Lower East Side. She befriended Jen King, aka the other half of Liddabit, at FCI and founded Liddabit in May of 2009.