Cook or baker, I find that making chocolate ganache (chocolate + cream) is one of those crucial skills that you must master in the kitchen. It’s really easy when you get down to it, but the complain I’ve heard most is that the ganache just isn’t the right texture- too loose to coat a cake, or too thick to pour over ice-cream, it all boils down to the ratio of cream to chocolate.
For a thick glaze for cakes, use equal parts cream and chocolate. I used this consistency to coat the above cherries (1:1)
For making chocolate truffles, you should use two parts chocolate to one part cream (2:1)
For making a pourable ganache, use one part chocolate to two parts cream (1:2)
Since there are only two ingredients involved, I suggest you get good quality cream and chocolate, because it does affect the final result. After that, it’s just a simple matter of heating the cream gently (there’s no need to boil, or even bring it to a total simmer) and pour it over chopped chocolate. Ensure that your chocolate is chopped finely, as this will help move the process along. Did your cream cool before all the chocolate melted? No worries. Just switch to a double boiler setting, i.e. two pots, one big and one small that sit well on top of each other. Water is brought to a simmer in the lower pot, which in turn provides gentle heat to the pot of chocolate above. Hollandaise sauce, that inseparable accompaniment to poached eggs is one of those tricky things made in a double boiler.
Let the chocolate sit in the warm cream and soften for just a few minutes before whisking the chocolate with a warm spatula or wooden spoon. It looks a bit milky in the beginning but the more you stir, the better it gets. You may want to cool the ganache as per what you need it for. If cooling for truffles, pop it in the refrigerator every five minutes, then bring out and give it a good stir to cool evenly. Watch it carefully, as it will go from hot to cold in seconds.
Additions and Flavours:
If you’ll be flavouring your ganache, it’s best to infuse the flavours in your cream. Steeping the cream with the spices or tea will lend the strong flavour to your ganache. If you’ll be adding any liquids (sugar included), it’s best to add it after the ganache is ready, and slowly because this addition of liquid could lead to your ganache losing its texture.