What is a chocolate ganache? (from a chocolate maker’s perspective…)
My introduction to chocolate ganache
Mmm… chocolate ganache! It’s a delight that will melt in your mouth; it’s also very technical to produce… We hear about it everywhere, there are tons of videos and blogs about it. There are thousands of recipes too.
Most of them beat around the bush, without looking at the big picture. They talk about making ganache just for the sake of it, without any real direction…
We hear about it in cooking, pastry making, chocolate confectionery, etc.. There are many different types of ganaches. They can be consumed immediately, piped, cut, glazed and so on. It can sometimes be confusing to know what kitchen tools to use to make chocolate ganache.
When I started out, ganache was something very foreign to me. Nobody ever explained to me what a ganache was.
The reason being that most people had never heard about it…
Not much is written about it. There are a few books that delve into the subject like “Ganache” by J-P Richard, or “Petits Chocolats Grande Expérience” by J-P Wybauw. However, they only talk about some aspects of chocolate ganache.
Over the years, I realized that there were all kinds of chocolate ganache, and for all tastes. I discovered them through desserts, entremets, then sweets.
Personally, my career took me first to the kitchen, then to the pastry shop and finally to the chocolate/confectionery shop.
Ganache is approached very differently in all these places.
In the kitchen, we focus on the taste (because the dish must be eaten within 15 minutes), there are few time constraints, instead there is a requirement for freshness…
In pastry, ganache is seen from a technical perspective. There is a conservation time constraint of 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the type of product manufactured…In the chocolate industry, ganache is mostly considered from a preservation and technical point of view. Ganache is innovated through technique and technology.
I see you coming, I didn’t say that pastry and chocolate making don’t focus on taste…far from it actually. I am only saying that learning to cook requires more emphasis on taste than pastry or chocolate making. I will elaborate further in a future post.
OK, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself…
Well, I studied the question (and I still am), I met dozens of professional pastry chefs and chocolate makers. Throughout my career, I was able to observe, try, make, experiment, test, taste, analyze… to finally synthesize the subtleties of chocolate ganache (for chocolatier) in my mind.
As a chocolate maker, I consider ganache as an extraordinary way to express myself.
It’s very enjoyable to work with once the technical and technological barriers are overcome.
Let’s see how we can understand ganache better. We will discuss its definition(s), types, but also its different compositions in the next articles.
The different types of chocolate ganache by use
Chocolate ganache is used in many different recipes. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that it is used. These types of ganache are used in the following culinary settings: in desserts, pastry shops, ice cream shops, kitchens, pastry shops, cookie shops, chocolate shops…
Here is my non-exhaustive, but relatively complete list:
used to accompany desserts, such as the Belle-Hélène pear. This chocolate ganache contains a lot of water.
It is usually heated to turn it into a liquid. The most famous sauce is the one used in Profiteroles.
-Chocolate glaze and preglaze:
made of cream, chocolate, different sugars, with or without gelling agents (gelatine and/or pectin), with or without other fats.
Chocolate icing is used to cover (to protect the product (primary role), and to decorate) entremets, cupcakes, cakes, etc.
-Ganache-based chocolate mousse:
Chocolate ganache to which whipped cream, meringue, or any other aerated preparation is added.
-Whipped ganache (for desserts, entremets and cakes) :
this ganache contains a lot of water and/or cream and is whipped up after it has cooled down completely.
-Cookie on a chocolate ganache base:
ganache to which a sabayon, a meringue or a starchy ingredient is added. Finally, it is baked.
-Ganache for filling :
used to fill or garnish cakes, entremets or cookies.
a mixture of water and/or dairy products, and/or custard, with chocolate. This kind of recipe is usually used for entremets and small cakes.
-Chocolate ganache for chocolate sweets and confectionery:
A closely bonded mixture of cream and chocolate, with a low water content. The description is simplified here.
I will write another post to detail the exact definition of this delicacy of the gods.
I will focus my attention and work on this type of ganache in this Blog:
“The chocolate ganache of chocolatier”.