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     All About Ganache
      excerpted from Bistro Cooking at Home Copyright© 2003 by Gordon Hamersley with Joanne McAllister Smart

    When I was in cooking school, I loved showing off my newly acquired culinary
    skills in front of my sisters. One winter break, my sister Laurie was baking a
    birthday cake for a friend in my mother's wood-paneled Brooklyn kitchen.
    Being a typical culinary student, I was appalled to see her reach for a can of
    ready-made frosting.

    "Why don't you just make ganache?" I asked in my best I-know-
    something- that-you-don't-know tone.
    "What's that?" she asked.
    Seizing the opportunity to impress my sister with a basic pastry
    technique, I looked around the kitchen for chocolate and cream. I heated the
    cream in the microwave and poured it over the chocolate.
    From those humble ingredients emerged a luxurious, decadent
    frosting.
    She was amazed. What sounded exotic and mysterious was so
    easy that even her sister could do it!

    While it does sound exotic, basic ganache is made with just two ingredients:
    chocolate and cream. By varying techniques and tweaking ingredients, you
    can turn basic ganache into a truffle, a glaze, a frosting, a mousse, a tart, a
    warm drink, or a frozen pop.
    Adjusting the proportion of chocolate and cream changes the
    density of the finished product. More cream makes it thinner and lighter and
    more chocolate makes it thicker and denser. You can also manipulate
    ganache by changing its temperature. It becomes thinner as it heats and
    thicker as it cools.
    The idea of mixing two ingredients seems simple. But mixing
    chocolate and cream is equivalent to mixing oil and water, which can't
    normally be done. This process of mixing twounmixable ingredients is called
    emulsification.
    Remember the school science fair? Wasn't there always a kid
    with an oil and water display? He'd plop some oil into the water, but instead
    of dissolving, it would float to the top. What that kid didn't know is that oil and
    water actually can be mixed, with a little help from heat and agitation.
    The emulsification that results in ganache combines the fat in
    chocolate (cocoa butter) with the water in cream. To accomplish this, you
    must first liquefy the fat. Hot cream is combined with the chocolate, melting
    the fat into liquid form. Stirring breaks down the fat into microscopic droplets,
    small enough to be suspended within the water. Whipping and heavy cream
    may be used interchangeably to make ganache. They differ in the amount of
    butterfat they contain. As a general rule, the higher the fat content of the
    cream, the richer the finished ganache will be.

    Temperature is an important factor in the emulsification of ganache. If the
    temperature is not controlled carefully, the result will not be smooth. The
    optimal emulsification temperature for ganache is 90° to 110°F. If the
    temperature rises above 110°F, the cocoa butter gets too hot. Droplets of fat
    will pool together and rise to the surface, separating from the mixture. When
    this occurs, the ganache is referred to as "broken."
    Ganache can also be lumpy if the chocolate is not chopped into
    very fine pieces before being combined with the hot cream. If the chocolate
    pieces are larger than 1/4 inch, they will not melt completely and the
    resulting ganache will have lumps. Lumpy ganache can be repaired by being
    reheated. Reheating, however, can easily cause the fat to overheat, pool
    together, and break the ganache.
    After the cream is poured over the chocolate to melt the cocoa
    butter, the mixture is set aside to warm undisturbed for a minute and then
    stirred in a slow, circular motion. Steady agitation is essential in reducing the
    fat to tiny droplets. Care must be taken to resist excessive beating, which
    can bring the temperature of the fat below 90°F too quickly, producing
    ganache with a grainy texture.

    REPAIRING A BROKEN OR GRAINY GANACHE

    If your ganache looks broken or feels grainy, there is still hope for it. To repair
    a broken ganache, divide it in half. Warm one half over a double boiler to a
    temperature of 130°F. The fat will melt and pool at this temperature, making
    the mixture thinner. Cool the remaining ganache to 60°F by stirring it over a
    bowl of ice. The fat in this portion will begin to solidify, causing the ganache
    to thicken.
    When both halves have reached the desired temperatures, slowly
    stream the hot ganache into the cold and stir to combine. You can use a
    food processor for this step by placing the cool ganache into the bowl of the
    food processor, turning on the machine, and streaming in the warm ganache.
    The mixture will not fall below 90°F during this procedure, so there is no risk
    of creating a grainy texture. Combining the two portions of ganache in this
    way averages the temperature into the optimal working range, and the fat
    droplets will be suspended evenly in the water.

    CHOCOLATE CHOICES

    The most common chocolate used for ganache is dark chocolate. Dark refers
    to the color and includes sweet, semisweet, bittersweet, and unsweetened
    chocolates. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans that have been roasted and
    pulverized. The result is chocolate liquor, also known as cocoa mass.
    As the beans are ground, they exude cocoa butter. Different
    amounts of cocoa butter are added back into the mixture, depending on
    which type of chocolate is being made. Dark chocolate contains less cocoa
    butter than milk chocolate. White chocolate is comprised of nearly all cocoa
    butter and no chocolate liquor. (Due to the lack of chocolate liquor, white
    chocolate is not technically chocolate. However, it can be used in the same
    manner as types containing chocolate liquor, with certain modifications.)
    Chocolates also differ in the amount of sugar they contain.
    Bittersweet has less sugar than semisweet. Unsweetened chocolate has no
    added sugar, and I often used it in conjunction with bittersweet for an extra
    dark, intense flavor.
    Milk solids, which contain milk fat, are used to make milk and
    white chocolate. The added fat and the increased cocoa butter content make
    the lighter chocolates softer and more susceptible to damage from heat. You
    can certainly make ganache from milk or white chocolate, using the
    traditional technique, but you'll have to adjust the proportion of cream
    downward to compensate for the increased fat content.

    All the recipes in this chapter begin with the same ingredients and
    techniques. The Master Ganache is made with an equal ratio of chocolate to
    cream. This is considered a ganache of medium consistency. Recipes
    categorized as firm are made with more than 50 percent chocolate. Soft
    ganaches have more than 50 percent cream. The recipes are not mysterious,
    nor are they difficult. If, however, you want to impress your sister, keep this
    information to yourself.

    Ganache Family Tree

    medium
    1 part chocolate : 1 part cream
    Truffles
    Fudge Fondue
    Milk Chocolate Ganache
    White Chocolate Ganache
    Caramel Ganache
    Frozen Chocolate Parfait
    Chocolate Soufflé
    Ganache Glaze
    Chocolate Sabayon

    firm
    2 parts chocolate : 1 part cream
    Raspberry Ganache
    Banana Ganache
    John Do Ya Ganache
    Candy Bars
    Baked Whiskey Tortes
    Chocolate Frosting

    soft
    1 part chocolate : 2 or more parts cream
    Chocolate Whipped Cream
    Campton Place Hot Chocolate
    Chocolate Sauce
    Chocolate Mousse Trio
    Deep, Dark Chocolate Tart

    MEDIUM-TEXTURED GANACHE is the MASTER GANACHE, and all the
    recipes that are derived from it begin with a 1 : 1 ratio of chocolate to cream.
    (Adjustments have been made to the Milk and White Chocolate Ganache
    recipes to achieve a medium texture.)

    FIRM-TEXTURED GANACHE is made with 2 : 1 ratio of chocolate to cream
    and is suitable for icings, fillings, and baking.

    SOFT-TEXTURED GANACHE uses a 1 : 2 ratio of chocolate to cream or
    even more cream.

    All the recipes are related to the Master Ganache. They all begin with the
    same ingredients and techniques. Note that the ratio is based on weight, not
    volume.

    MASTER GANACHE
    medium
    MASTER RECIPE
    yield: 2 cups

    Can deep, dark, intense, rich, velvety smooth chocolate be a spiritual
    experience? It certainly is heavenly when mixed with cream. Praise the
    pastry angels and pass the bonbons!
    This is the basic ganache recipe. Use it for truffles, tarts,
    fillings . . . you name it. Follow the same technique when adjusting the recipe
    for firm and soft ganache. An alternative food processor method is given,
    which can be applied to any ganache recipe in this chapter.
    I want to introduce you to ganache and persuade you to make it a
    staple in your refrigerator. As long as you don't eat it all as a midnight snack,
    it can be available to help you throw together dessert at a moment's notice.

    SPECIAL TOOLS:
    Food processor (optional)
    Candy thermometer

    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    1 cup heavy cream

    1. Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces.
    Don't be lazy here. Big chunks will not melt.

    TRADITIONAL METHOD

    2. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil
    in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boiling means the cream will actually
    rise up in the pan and threaten to boil over.

    3. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the
    bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1
    minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir in a circular motion, starting from
    the center of the bowl and working out to the sides. Be careful not to add too
    much air to the ganache. Stir until all the chocolate is melted, about 2
    minutes. It may look done after 1 minute of stirring, but keep going to be sure
    it's emulsified.

    FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD

    2. Place the chopped chocolate in a food processor fitted with the steel
    blade. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat (or
    bring to a boil in the microwave).

    3. Immediately pour the hot cream into the food processor, on top of the
    chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, then pulse the machine three times. Scrape
    down the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse three more times, until all the
    chocolate is melted. This smooth, silky chocolate is now ganache. Transfer
    the ganache to a bowl.

    4. Let the ganache sit at room temperature until it cools to 70°F. In a 65°F
    room, this will take only 15 minutes. You can speed up the process by
    pouring the ganache out onto a clean baking sheet (thinner layers cool
    faster). Once the ganache reaches 70°F, it is ready to be used. At this point
    it can also be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    NOTE I prefer using a serrated knife for chopping chocolate. It's safer
    because the blade doesn't slip off the hard surface of the chocolate. And I
    find that it's easier to get small chunks.

    Variations

    * Tangy Ganache: Replace all or part of the cream with crème fraîche.

    * Earl Grey Ganache: Place 1 bag of Earl Grey tea in the cream and bring it
    to a boil. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and
    squeeze over the cream. Rewarm the tea-infused cream and continue with
    the recipe.

    * Lavender Ganache: Place 1 to 2 tablespoons lavender flowers in the cream
    and bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it steep for 10
    minutes. Strain and rewarm the lavender-infused cream, then continue with
    the recipe.

    * Orange Ganache: Add 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest to the cream
    and bring to a boil; strain into the chocolate. When the ganache is complete,
    add 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier.

    TRUFFLES
    medium
    yield: About 2 dozen 1-inch truffles

    The original chocolate truffle was a French confection meant to simulate the
    much-sought-after truffle fungus. It was rolled rough like the real fungus, not
    round, and covered in cocoa powder to replicate the dirt it grows in. (Whose
    idea was it to make people think they were eating dirt?) Chocolate truffles are
    a rich, decadent treat with a special elegance all their own. Don't be
    intimidated! Truffles are easy to make and always appreciated.
    The choice of alcohol to use is yours. It can be a liqueur, such as
    Chambord or Grand Marnier, or another spirit like bourbon or rum. The
    alcohol can also be left out entirely. Substitutions for it could include brewed
    coffee, orange juice, or fruit puree.

    SPECIAL TOOLS:
    Candy thermometer
    Piping bag with a large (#6) plain tip (optional)
    Parchment paper

    1 recipe Master Ganache (page 16), with the addition of:
    2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    2 tablespoons liquor, such as Grand Marnier, kirsch, bourbon, or rum

    FOR THE COATING
    2 cups sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

    1. Follow the method for Master Ganache, adding the butter to the chocolate
    and the corn syrup to the cream before bringing the cream to a boil.

    2. Pour the hot cream and corn syrup over the chopped chocolate and butter.
    Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it
    sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly in a circular motion,
    starting from the center of the bowl and working out to the sides. Be careful
    not to add too much air to the ganache. Stir until the chocolate is completely
    melted, about 2 minutes.

    3. Add the liquor and stir to combine. Allow the ganache to cool at room
    temperature until it is firm. This should take at least 4 hours in a 65°F room
    or 2 hours in the refrigerator.

    4. Once the ganache is firm, it can be formed into truffle balls. Using a piping
    bag, a mini ice cream scoop, or a tablespoon, make 1-inch-diameter blobs.
    Then roll the blobs into somewhat uniform balls by hand. This is messy, no
    doubt about it. If they begin to warm up and become soft, refrigerate for 10 to
    15 minutes. If you have hot hands or it is a hot day, it may feel as though you
    can't get a grip on the truffle. Work near a sink with cold running water. When
    the ganache feels like it's melting, cool your hands under the running water,
    then dry them and dust with a little of the cocoa powder. Be careful not to get
    too much cocoa powder on the truffles, or they will taste like cocoa powder.

    COATING

    After the truffles are rolled, they can be finished in a variety of ways. The
    original cocoa powder coating is the easiest, and quite good.

    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and
    place it in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan half full of
    water, bring it to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Create a double boiler by
    placing the bowl on top of the saucepan. Stir the chocolate occasionally with
    a rubber spatula until it melts, about 2minutes.

    3. When the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat. Stir it slowly with a
    rubber spatula until the temperature drops to 90°F, about 5 minutes. Place
    the remaining cocoa powder in a small bowl.

    4. Drop one rolled ganache ball into the melted chocolate. Remove it with a
    fork, tap off the excess chocolate, and toss it into the cocoa powder. Roll the
    truffle around in the cocoa until it is well coated. Transfer the truffle to the
    prepared baking sheet and let it harden. Repeat with each truffle, coating one
    at a time.

    Truffles should be stored in an airtight container at 60° to 65°F. Refrigerating
    them is OK too. If condensation forms when they come out of the refrigerator,
    simply toss them in more cocoa powder before serving.

    Variations
    * Other delightful coatings include finely chopped toasted nuts (see page
    366), toasted unsweetened coconut, grated milk chocolate, and powdered
    sugar. Match the coating of the truffles to the liquor used in the ganache,
    such as Frangelico truffles with hazelnut crunch coating. This will create an
    interesting depth of flavor.

    * Steep 1 black currant tea bag in the cream and add 2 tablespoons
    Chambord as the liquor.

    * Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder to the cream and use 2
    tablespoons Kahlúa as the liquor.

    * Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon orange oil
    to the cream. Let sit for 10 minutes. Strain out the zest. Use 2 tablespoons
    Grand Marnier as the liquor.

    * Add 2 tablespoons strained blackberry puree (or the puree of another fruit)
    instead of the liquor.

    * Peel and grate fresh ginger and squeeze from it 2 tablespoons ginger juice.
    Add this and 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice instead of the liquor.

    * Combine 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup Champagne or brandy in a small
    saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat and let the
    raisins cool and absorb the liquor. Drain off any remaining liquid, chop the
    raisins, and stir the raisins into the warm ganache.

    FUDGE FONDUE
    medium
    yield: 1 2/3 cups, serving 6

    Fondue is back! This will be good news to those of you who didn't get your fill
    in the 1970s. Traditional fondue is melted cheese into which you dip hunks of
    bread. My chocolatey version is perfect for dipping pieces of fruit, cubes of
    cake, or cookies. Though it's really no more than a glorified chocolate sauce,
    fondue is a great excuse to cover everything in chocolate.
    This dish always appears on my Valentine's Day menu. It's a
    great way to get a romantic conversation going. If you don't have an old
    fondue set in the garage, any dish will do. No skewers? Go ahead and use
    your fingers.

    SPECIAL TOOLS:
    Candy thermometer
    Fondue pot or serving dish
    Skewers

    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/2 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest

    NOTE Some of my favorite fruits to dip include:

    Crisp fresh apple wedges
    Dehydrated apple chips
    Juicy pear wedges
    Bananas
    Fresh cherries

    Dried cherries: Combine 1/4 cup dried cherries, 1/4 cup port, and 1/4
    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil,
    then turn off the heat. Cool and let the cherries absorb the liquor. Spear them
    with skewers.

    Raisins: Combine 1/4 cup raisins with 1/4 cup verjuice or white wine and 1
    teaspoon fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off
    the heat and let the raisins cool. Spear them with skewers.

    1. Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces and
    place it in a medium heatproof bowl.

    2. Bring the milks to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour over
    the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate
    into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir
    in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl and working out to
    the sides. Stir until all the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.

    3. When the chocolate has melted, insert a thermometer. When the
    temperature reaches 98°F, add the orange zest and stir to incorporate. Serve
    the fondue immediately or let it cool, cover it with plastic wrap, and store it at
    room temperature overnight. To reheat, place a bowl of fondue over a
    saucepan half full of simmering water, creating a double boiler, and stir
    continuously until melted, about 5 minutes. Do not let the temperature
    exceed 100°F when reheating, or the ganache can break. The fondue will
    also keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

    Variations

    * Infuse the milk with your favorite spice, then strain. My favorite combination is a star anise pod, a 2-inch cinnamon stick, and 1/4 teaspoon ground
    cinnamon.

    * Spike the milk with 2 tablespoons rum, Grand Marnier, or Poire William.

    Copyright © 2003 by Sherry Yard. Reprinted by permission of Houghton
    Mifflin Company.

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    Mauviel 9.5-in. Super Islands Round Baking Dish with Stand This 9.5-inch round porcelain dish from Mauviel is ideal as both a baking vessel and a serving piece, transferring from oven to tabletop while holding its heat longer than most metal dishes. It can also be used in the fridge as storage for leftovers or popped into the microwave for reheating! The piece also includes an elegant varnished copper stand with four legs that suspend the dish over the tabletop so you can serve a casserole or, say, a quiche in an elegant way. The stand and dish can go in the oven together or you can use the stand exclusively for serving. Handwash with mild dish soap. Made in France. The Cupretam Pour la Table style features pots, pans and items that function gracefully on both the stovetop and tabletop. With striking cast-iron or bronze side handles attached to the cookware via sturdy copper rivets, they are crafted with tinned interiors, polished exteriors and can be used on any heating element except on induction hob. Mauviel, a French family business established in 1830 and located in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poeles, is the foremost manufacturer of professional copper cookware in the world today. Highly regarded in the professional world, with over 170 years of experience, Mauviel offers several different lines of copper cookware to professional chefs and home cooks that appreciate the benefits of their high quality products.

    Dacor Baking Stone
    Dacor Baking Stone Imagine fresh artisan bread with a crispy golden exterior and soft, warm bread inside. Dacor?s baking stone provides brick-oven style pizza and breads right in your oven. It is made of a composite ceramic, which absorbs heat from the bottom element and spreads it evenly across the surface, for deliciously crispy crusts on all your baked goods. Comes with an oversized Pizza Peel made of wood for easy lifting and handling of oversized crust. ABS20 - Any Dacor Range or 36" and 30" Wall Oven Shipping Weight: 15 lbs FREE SHIPPING We Sell and Ship Dacor Appliances in California Only.



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