• Chocolat is one of my all-time favourite foodie movies (alongside The Hundred-Foot Journey, of course). For those of you who haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and add it to your weekend plans. One of my best parts is when Vianne, the main character, is busy creating chocolate treats throughout the night in her quaint and rustic French chocolaterie. Amongst enticing scenes of her crushing open cocoa beans and ladling chocolate into moulds, it’s hard not to feel spell-bound when she mixes a big bowl of glistening, velvety ganache. Made up of rich chocolate and cream, ganache is the ultimate definition of luxury and decadence in the world of desserts.


    What is ganache?

    Considering it only requires two ingredients, ganache is patisserie magic. It’s a luscious combination of chocolate and cream, all melted together to create a smooth, glossy mixture. It’s an incredibly versatile technique to add to your baking repertoire. By playing with the ratio of cream and chocolate, you can make anything from chocolate truffles to cake glazes. 

    Ganache can be flavoured in various ways. Infuse the cream with citrus zest, herbs and spices or add extracts and liqueurs to the final mixture. You can also use different types of chocolate, and swap the cream for coconut cream to make it vegan. There are endless possibilities! Because there are so few ingredients in a ganache, the outcome will be reflected by the quality of your chocolate – use the best quality you can, and please don’t use chocolate chips! Pro tip: adding a pinch of salt to the mixture amplifies the chocolatey flavour.

    To make a ganache, place your finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften, then use a whisk to gently emulsify it to form a smooth and glossy mixture.


    The three ratios

    The process of making a ganache is overall the same for every application, but the ratio of chocolate to cream changes. The more cream in the mixture, the runnier the ganache will be; the more chocolate there is, the firmer it’ll set. 

    The following ratios are by weight and are based on the use of dark chocolate; I’d recommend using 50-60% (or ‘semisweet’) chocolate. If you want to rather use milk or white chocolate, use slightly less cream because their milk content is higher compared to dark chocolate.

    1 part cream: 2 parts chocolate

    Sets to a firm consistency, this ganache can be piped onto cakes and cupcakes before it cools down. Set it in the fridge and scoop it into balls to make chocolate truffles. It also works well as a filling for macarons and sandwich cookies.

    1 part cream: 1 part chocolate

    The goldilocks of ratios, use this kind of ganache when in doubt. It’s perfect as a filling for cakes and tarts, for cake drips and as a spreadable glaze for cakes, cheesecakes and other bakes. It can also be used to make a whipped chocolate ganache (see below).

    2 parts cream: 1 part chocolate

    This ratio is famously used to make whipped chocolate ganache, which is kind of like a mousse crossed with a rich chocolate whipped cream (heaven basically!). Cover and chill the ganache in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight), then whip using an electric hand beater until thick and fluffy. It can also be used for chocolate fondue, or as a pourable glaze over ice cream, doughnuts and cakes (like our Churro Cake). Note that, unlike the 1:1 ratio, this is more like a sauce and doesn’t set firm at room temperature.


    How to save a split ganache

    Sometimes a ganache splits, seizes or becomes grainy. This happens to all of us from time to time, even when you’re trying to be extra careful. Although it’s tricky to narrow down into a ’cause-and-solution’ guide, there are usually three main reasons why a ganache splits. Milk and white chocolate ganache are more prone to splitting because of their higher milk and sugar content.

    1. Too much fat: If your ganache looks slimy and you can visibly see that the oil has split out, try mixing in room temperature water or low-fat milk a little at a time, mixing with a rubber spatula, until the ganache comes back together.
    2. Overheating: If your think you overheated your ganache, set it aside to cool before whisking vigorously to bring it back together. If that doesn’t work, try the above tip. If you completely nuked your ganache and it looks dry and grainy, your chocolate has burnt and it’s beyond repair.
    3. Too little liquid: If your ganache looks a little curdled, try adding in a dribble of warmed cream a little at a time, whisking until it comes back together.


    Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels


    SEE ALSO: DIY chocolate hazelnut spread

    DIY Hazelnut Spread



    Kirsty is the food assistant on the Food&Home team. Usually baking up a storm, snapping pics on her camera or buried in her beloved recipe books, she also spends her time tinkering on the piano, doing contemporary dancing and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.