Ganache is a wonderful mixture of chocolate and cream and comes in many different textures and tastes depending on the chocolate and how much cream is added.
This is a basic ganache in the ratio of 1 to 1. This means 1 part chocolate to 1 part heavy cream by weight (just one more reason to buy that scale!) For example, 1 pound of chocolate is mixed with a pint of heavy cream. So if you have only 10 cream puffs to glaze, just mix 2 ounces of chocolate and 2 ounces of cream. Easy!
Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl large enough to accommodate both the chocolate and the cream. If the chocolate isn’t chopped finely enough you will have unmelted chunks of chocolate in your finished product. Take your time and make it fine.
Bring the cream just to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let set for 30 seconds to allow the cream to soften the chocolate.
Gently whisk the chocolate and the cream until completely smooth. If you whisk too vigorously, air will be incorporated into the ganache and create air bubbles. This can be especially troublesome when glazing a cake where the desired result is a smooth, satiny finish.
Let the ganache cool until it is just slightly warm to the touch. It is now ready to use for cream puffs, eclairs, and fillings.
This ganache will maintain it’s texture even when refrigerated. It will lose a bit of it’s shine but it will not crack when being sliced or bitten. This makes this ganache particularly useful as a filling for cakes and as a glaze for tortes. It also has enough body that it will not run or drip down the side of an eclair or cream puff once the excess is removed.
Ganache can also be flavored to suit the pastry being made. Alcohols such as brandy and cognac are popular choices, but fruit essences such as orange and raspberry are also common. Caramel and espresso are among my personal favorites.