When shopping for clothes, I'm always drawn to what I call the
"multitaskers" — items that can span several seasons, be dressed up or down, or
work with lots of things I already own.
The same rule applies in the kitchen. And not just for my tools
and appliances, but for recipes. Basic recipes that can be easily altered
to become something else entirely are the staples I turn to again and again.
And ganache — hands down — is the ultimate multitasker.
With only three ingredients — chocolate, heavy cream and a pinch of salt — you've got the
makings for FIVE amazing recipes. You need no special skills or equipment, and
I can't think of another recipe that elicits more oohs and aahs than a homemade
chocolate sauce, or plate of pretty truffles.
Here's how to make ganache!
8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (look for about 61% cacao),
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Heat the cream
until just boiling, and immediately pour over the chocolate. Add the salt and
let sit, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Whisk until smooth and shiny.
Follow up with a few folds of a rubber spatula to scrape up any traces of
chocolate that are on the sides and bottom of the bowl.
And here's how to use it!
Glaze or Sauce
To use ganache as a glaze, set your cooled cake or cupcakes on a wire
rack set over a baking sheet (to catch drips). Pour warm ganache over, letting
it run down the sides (do not spread). Let set at room temperature.
You can also pour the ganache over ice cream for a delicious sundae!
Transfer the warm ganache to a small bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Use a small scoop (like a melon baller or ice cream scoop) to scoop out the
chilled ganache, and form small balls with the palms of your hands (slightly
dampened hands will help prevent sticking). Leave as-is, or roll the truffles
in your choice of toppings — cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, nonpareils,
finely chopped nuts or cookie crumbs. Chill until ready to serve.
The Best Hot Chocolate, Ever
Place 1-2 tablespoons of chilled ganache into a mug. Pour heated milk
over and stir.
Cool ganache to room temperature, stirring occasionally (about an
hour). Transfer to a mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or
until light and fluffy. Fill or frost cakes and cupcakes.
Line a small square or loaf pan with parchment or wax paper, leaving a
1-2 inch overhang on each side. Pour warm ganache into the pan and refrigerate
overnight. Use your paper "sling" to remove from pan and transfer to a cutting
board. Cut into squares and chill until ready to serve.
Warm ganache makes delicious fondue! Surround a bowl with marshmallows,
sliced fruit and cubes of pound cake and dip away!