Ganache — How a Tiny Mistake Became a Delicacy
For those of us at Leysieffer, ganache is about as everyday as it gets. But this isn't always the case for our customers, and sometimes we get asked: "Ganache? What the heck is that?" Ganache is a crème filling made from couverture chocolate and cream that we use inside our truffles. Preparing ganache is an art in itself, and our confectioners have mastered the subtleties of this process wonderfully. Continue reading for a sneak peek behind the scenes of how we make this French delight.
Ganache Done Right
First we chop the couverture chocolate (milk, dark or white) into thin pieces and bring the cream to a boil. Then we pour the hot cream over the chocolate, covering it entirely. The amount of cream we pour depends on the type of chocolate we're using, since milk chocolate and white chocolate require more liquid to melt completely.
We let the whole thing sit for a few minutes and, depending on what we want to use the ganache for, we add spices, coffee powder or alcohol such as fruit brandy, Marc de Champagne, Cointreau, whisky or rum. Finally, we stir the mixture carefully with a whisk starting from the middle and working our way outwards. It's important to do this carefully because the cream can curdle if you stir too hard. As we stir, the mixture gradually takes on a smooth, shiny consistency.
Not Too Firm, Not Too Smooth
It's important for the ganache to have the right consistency. The more couverture chocolate you use, the firmer the mixture will be. The German Food Code designates that canache, another name for ganache, must contain one part couverture chocolate to two parts cream in order to be labeled a filling for fine pastries. However, it's normal to deviate from this ratio depending on what the ganache is being used for. Another variant of ganache is called "Parisian cream." This version is smoother and uses equal amounts of chocolate and cream. Once the ganache has the right consistency to be used for our pastries, it's time to move on to the next step.
We let the mixture cool to 30°C (this makes it firmer, so we stir the mixture to make it creamy again after cooling). If any nuts, almonds, grated coconut or other solid ingredients need to be added, this is the time to do it. We then give the mixture another stir. Now it's ready to be used as a filling or coating.
The Goof That Gave Us Ganache
Plenty of discoveries and inventions have come about as the result of a mistake — and ganache is no exception. Ganache was discovered around the year 1850 when a confectioner's apprentice working in a Parisian pâtisserie by the name of Siraudin accidentally poured hot milk over chocolate. Angered by the mistake, the master confectioner shouted at the apprentice, calling him "ganache" (French for idiot or donkey). But when the mistake turned out to be the delicious mixture we know and love today, the pâtisserie added it to the menu and gave it the name uttered during its hour of birth.
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