How to make ganache

Alistair Wise, of Hobart’s Sweet Envy, steers us through one of the pastry kitchen’s most essential – and mesmerising – preparations.
Whisking chocolate ganacheAndrew Finlayson

A happy union of cream and chocolate, ganache is a staple of the pastry kitchen. Its many applications depend on its consistency, which changes as it cools and sets. “Ganache is a basic building block,” says Alistair Wise, of Hobart’s Sweet Envy. “Once you master it, you can use it in a whole bunch of ways: we whip it and use it in our Brooklyn blackout cake, pipe it onto macarons, use it to make chocolate buttercream for cakes, or use it as a glaze. It makes life pretty easy.”

Room temperature is best for storage, but there are exceptions to every rule. “If it’s 40 degrees, don’t do it,” Wise says. “Making ganache in a place like Cairns makes no sense. You should be sucking a mango.”

What chocolate should you use in a ganache?

Ganache is only as good as the ingredients you use. It can be a delicate beast, so stick to chocolates with fewer ingredients – avoid those containing emulsifiers and the like. Couverture comes in a broad spectrum of flavours and percentages, so experiment with different manufacturers to work out what suits your taste. “You have to trust in the brand,” says Wise. “If you want consistent results, find a chocolate you like, then stick with the same process every time.”

How to make ganache, step by step

Step 2: Cut the chocolate into fine pieces

Step 1: Combine 300ml of pouring cream and 50gm glucose in a small saucepan. Put it on the heat and bring it to just below boiling point.

Step 2: Weigh out the chocolate. As a rule, Wise uses the same amount of cream and glucose regardless of whether he’s making white, milk, dark or extra-dark ganache and varies the chocolate quantity. For dark (64 per cent cocoa solids) it’s 255gm chocolate.

Cut the chocolate into fine pieces; it needs to melt quickly and evenly, so aim for about the size of a five-cent coin and avoid leaving any larger pieces. Transfer chocolate to a heatproof bowl.

Step 3

Step 3: Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it melt for a few minutes. If you’re making milk or white chocolate ganache it’s often best to melt the chocolate first.

Step 4

Step 4: Stir the chocolate and cream together with a whisk or a spoon, but be careful not to incorporate air – it’ll make the final ganache spoil more easily. If it’s not melting entirely, heat the ganache slowly over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir to melt. Once melted and smooth, this is your base ganache.

Step 6

Step 5: Ganache will begin to set as it cools, and can be used for different applications through the cooling process. Warm, it can be poured over cakes; left for a day it will set to a point where it can be rolled and then coated in cocoa or melted chocolate to make truffles; after about an hour of cooling it can be piped.

Whatever you use ganache for, store it at room temperature (ideally in a cool spot) with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface – it’ll keep like this for two days. Avoid refrigerating ganache – fridges do bad things to chocolate.

Step 6: Another way to use ganache is to whip it. Whipped ganache can be piped or spread as frosting, or served straight-up like a mousse. Pour ganache that’s just warm to the touch into an electric mixer and whisk for 10-15 minutes until aerated. Have a plan, as it’ll set quickly.

A raspberry ganache

Ganache variations

Wise tends to use 64 or 70 per cent chocolate, and, occasionally, 35 per cent milk, or white chocolate. No matter how dark or light the ganache, Wise uses the same amount of cream (300ml) and glucose (50gm) each time; only the quantity of chocolate changes.

For a dark ganache (70 per cent, for example) it’s 235gm, while for milk, it’s 500gm. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are more advanced ganaches to explore, including ganache made

with fruit purée (Wise is a fan of raspberry), and a “frightfully decadent” ultra-rich ganache for tarts and puddings, but they’re for another day.

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