Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dark Chocolate Ganache

Ganache...I am a silky irresistibly rich icing or filling that usually comes in dark or white chocolate. I am used by chefs, cooks and bakers all over the globe. Sometimes I have a starring role in a delectable treat, but more often than not I accompany other flavours that make you go back for that naughty second helping.

Before placing fondant decorations on my cupcakes (see Vanilla Cupcakes), I always use a good helping of my Dark Chocolate Ganache. Ganache not only helps you mould the perfect foundation for fondant, but it also tastes absolutely fabulous. For 12 cupcakes I make the following batch of ganache, which will leave you enough guessed it, lick the bowl!

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup Pure Cream
250g (1cup) Dark Chocolate
Mostly I use dark cooking chocolate found in the baking goods aisle (the 'melt' buds come in circles the size of a 20c piece). It's reasonably priced and the result tastes great, but for something a little more special you can use dark chocolate with a high coco ratio.

Place the cream in a small saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. When little bubbles start to form, take it off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir the mixture until smooth, then pour into a bowl or container to set. Once set, the perfect consistency for icing cupcakes is like smooth peanut butter. 

Ganache is best left to set overnight and I usually leave it out on the kitchen bench covered in clingwrap. If you don't have much time, you can place it in the fridge to speed up the setting process. However the ganache will need to come back to room temperature before you use it, otherwise it will start to sweat while you're icing.

Ganache can used for so many other wonderful purposes when in the kitchen, some of which don't require it to be set. If served warm, it is fantastic dribbled over a baking treat. When not using fondant icing, I sometimes carefully pour the ganache (slightly warm) over cupcakes while they are still in their paper cases. As the ganache is still runny, it perfectly covers the cupcakes and sets beautifully. There will be many recipes to come where I will refer back to this moreish baking accompaniment.

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