PhotoRecipe: The Miraculous Ganache

Dear Friends and Followers,

I need to talk about the many miracles I have seen in the past 2 days… and no, it is not about hair growth or plants, I promise. I have always been a fan of Chocolate Ganache Cream, you know, that chocolate filling french pastry makes use for their cakes and tartines. But I have now witnessed the miracles before my very eyes in preparation of my demo for the chocolate show (recipe to follow). So it all started with a bar of Jacques Torres Big Daddy chocolate (semisweet and perfect for melting, if I might add), a microwave oven and my faithful red monster. But then I decided to nerd it out a little more and transform the ganache just for fun into something else. But I do not want to jump the gun, I’d rather take a step by step approach and tell you all about it.

Making Ganache with a microwave oven is very easy and safe because you do not have to deal with a double boiler which means you do not get burned for once. So in a microwave friendly bowl I poured 1 cup of heavy cream and I warmed it at maximum heat in the microwave for approx. 1 and a half minutes. Next in a heat proof bowl I put 8 oz of chocolate cut in small pieces (there was a little help from the pirate of the East River in the process because my arms are notoriously made of jelly when it comes to this stuff or opening a jar of jelly). So here we are, I start whisking with my brand new whisk and …. nothing happens. My first thought is “great way to start the prep work for the Chocolate Show”! So I am pacing furiously up and down my kitchen wondering if I need to toss the baby with the chocolate bathwater (if you have been to my kitchen or watched the show you know that pacing furiously is an aggregate of 2 steps in each direction). I decide to give Jacques and the cream another try… and… MIRACLE! I start whisking and the ganache effortlessly comes together. Now that tells you 2 things about me 1) I am not a patient person 2) I will give everything at least a second chance.

Now back to the miracles and how to nerd it out BIG time. Since I will not stop at anything to get you the most decadent ganache experience ever I pour in 1 tablespoon of GranMarnier and stir again. At this point what should I do? stick the bowl in the fridge and forget about it until I need it? Oh no, the image of congealed fat from the cream appears before my eyes… do I want this to look like chicken broth before removing the fat? Yes, you read it right…. If you stick the ganache when it still hot in the fridge and you will see the meaning of the saying “the cream rises to the top” only in this case… YUCK! So you PATIENTLY wait for it to cool to room temperature.

In the meantime I start nerding out on white chocolate…. notoriously very difficult to melt because if a little water gets in the way the white chocolate congeals into a solid mess that looks very much like sweetbreads. Here we go again…. my valiant microwave oven comes to the rescue. I repeat all the steps I mentioned above, only this time with white chocolate…. AND IT WORKS!

To whip or not to whip, that is the question. Sorry to borrow Billy Shakespeare for this major decision but it is about texture and, as Bobby Flay often told me during the show : “think about texture and presentation WHEN you plan your dish”.

So here I am, red monster ready, about to whip the first ganache. At first nothing happens, I stare at the red monster whipping and when I am about to be completely hypnotized…. my attention gets caught by the first peak, and the second, and the third…. IT IS WHIPPING!!!! yahoooo (and Thank God).

I whip the semisweet ganache and then the white chocolate and there I have it – the 2 creams I will use for my Mille Crepes cake at the chocolate show.

Oh I will NEVER doubt myself again when I make ganache, and hopefully you won’t either!  Actually next time I might try and fold in some egg whites (whipped to soft yet stable peaks thanks to some lemon juice or cream of tartar, like a good food nerd would do) for a mousse-like texture. But that, my friends and followers, is a story for another day!