One of the first things I learned how to make as a student chocolatier at Ecole Chocolat, was a dark chocolate ganache. Check out their online school here:
It is a glorious thing to make, as there is something so very zen about the way it comes together so quickly, and how three simple ingredients meld to produce such a delicious concoction.
Urban legends abound around the origination of ganache. One of the most popular, suggests that the word and indeed the recipe, originated in France, sometime in the 1920s in the kitchen of the famous French chef, August Escoffier.
Escoffier, known as “The king of chefs and the chef of kings,” eventually, became kitchen director of the Savoy hotel in London, and many dishes we know of today can be attributed to him. Dishes such as Peach Melba, Dauphine Potatoes, and Beef Bourgignon (forgive the English translations.)
As for ganache, the story goes that in one of his many french kitchens, an assistant pastry chef (while attempting to make the delicious dessert custard “creme anglaise”), chose the wrong bowl and added the cream to a bowl of melted chocolate instead of the egg yolks and sugar. Escoffier was furious, shouted at the poor assistant chef, and called him “ganache” which equates to something similar to a chump.
In actual fact, the concoction turned out to be delicious, and the recipe stuck. So much so, that it is one of the most famous of all centers and is used for sauces as well.
Here at Belize Chocolate Company, we make our dark chocolate ganache with just three simple ingredients. Our Kakaw 70% dark chocolate, cream, and butter. Altering the ratio of these, changes the consistency from a soft ganache for a truffle center to a more liquid sauce for a cake or dessert.
Heres a little video showing it all come together
The chocolate must be melted to approximately 112F. Usually, we have melted chocolate on hand.
But if not, as it is at the moment, we melt over a bain-marie, which is a fancy French name for a pan of water with a bowl over the top of it. Take extra care not to overheat or burn the chocolate and ensure that no water gets into the chocolate. Water and chocolate can be a disaster! Although it can work as a ganache (we make one) but it is a little trickier to manage.
We then add the hot cream, which has been heated to 156F. If it's too cold it will curdle the chocolate, and if it's too hot it will cause the oil in the chocolate to separate. We usually add in the cream, in three different increments, which allows for the ganache to come together beautifully and to emulsify ( much like homemade mayonnaise.) Finally, the softened butter is added. We use a wooden spoon to stir, a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and finish off with a stick blender to ensure everything is perfected combined with no lumps.
When using the blender, take care not to incorporate too many air bubbles which could cause issues with the ganache once it is dipped. We usually try to keep it subsurface. Be careful with this step. It can get messy, and many times the walls get splattered with chocolate!
The ganache is placed in our cool room and is then transferred to our wine cooler overnight. The next day it is rolled into balls and replaced back in the cooler to settle. The following day it is hand dipped in tempered dark chocolate and sent to the shop, ready to sell. Voila! (Been watching too much "Call My Agent").