Ganache is an elegant, two-ingredient chocolate concoction dating back to the mid-19th century. Some schools of culinary thought credit Switzerland with having invented ganache; others credit France. Ganache's appeal and its flexibility as an ingredient have not been restricted by geography. In Europe, as in other parts of the world, cakes, ice cream and decadent muffins are frequently anointed with ganache. Ganache freezes and thaws well, providing the ganache in question has been made traditionally: with heavy cream and semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.
To freeze ganache, transfer it from your mixing bowl to any resealable container. Frozen ganache maintains flavor for approximately nine months. Any ganache kept frozen beyond this is best discarded. To thaw ganache, remove it from the freezer at least 24 hours before you intend to use it. Just before serving, gently soften the ganache. You can either microwave it in 10-second bursts, stirring after each burst, or you can set the resealable container of ganache into a bowl filled with warm water, also stirring frequently to speed the thawing. It's best not to refreeze and thaw ganache that has already been frozen and thawed.
Ganache is traditionally equal parts heavy cream and semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. White chocolate, flavored milk chocolate and mixtures of all the above are also possible. Add fruit or nuts to give ganache texture, or add liqueur, rum, brandy or vodka for flavor.
Ganache is essentially a batch of truffles waiting to happen. Refrigerated ganache eventually hardens to the perfect consistency for making truffles. Use a melon ball scooper to produce uniform size balls. Roll these in dark cocoa powder or any mixture of powdered flavoring, spices and nuts. Ganache is typically dense enough to scoop after three to four hours, while ganache flavored with liqueur or any alcoholic beverage requires at least 24 hours to become dense enough to scoop owing to alcohol's low freezing temperature.
Think of the recipe for classic ganache as a blueprint. You can thin it out as you require, or adjust the ratio of cream to chocolate chunks to produce a thicker sauce. Use thinner ganache as a chocolate dipping sauce, or whip it into soft peaks for a quick chocolate mousse.
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