Friends of mine had a house warming yesterday and I decided to try out making chocolate truffles which I could take with me. I’m fairly sure everyone has made chocolate truffles at some point – I feel it’s the sort of thing you make at some point in your childhood – and they’re supposed to be super easy so I thought it would be a doddle and I could spend the afternoon transcribing interviews.
But that was before I split the ganache.
Now, I have made ganache many, many times in my life. When you work in a pastry kitchen, making ganache is something that happens almost every day and at home, in Jozi, I often made ganache as part of cupcake icings. So you’d think I would know what I was doing. Turns out I totally don’t.
I followed the instructions. I chopped the chocolate finely. I heated the cream to scalding point. I poured the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for thirty seconds. I gave it a stir. And then I made a fatal mistake. I decided to take a photograph of the cream and chocolate swirl. This photograph, to be precise.
And that is where it all went wrong. When I came back to stirring it, the mixture had cooled too much to melt the rest of the chocolate. No problem, I thought. I can just buzz it in the microwave for 20 seconds and it’ll melt and be lovely. WRONG. The microwave somehow cause the mixture to split and my pretty, glossy ganache turned into a vile butter, chocolate mixture with the most awful texture.
I managed to keep calm. Never mind the tight time schedule I was under, the light failing and the ganache needing to thicken at room temperature etcetera. I googled (thank goodness for Google) ‘split ganache’ and found a site with three options for bringing back ganache. (This was after I tried simply stirring in more cream and making the situation far, far worse.) The first instruction was to beat the ganache with an electric whisk, for a minute or two. I tried that. It failed. The second instruction was to add in some liquid glucose. Sadly I am not the type of person who has liquid glucose in the house (although I am totally going to hunt some down now.) So I skipped straight on to instruction three. It said to heat up some cream, about half the volume of the split ganache and then to pour (or in my case spoon) the ganache into the cream, slowly, stirring the whole time until you have a pretty, glossy ganache again. I guesstimated that I had about a cup of ganache and weighed out 100g of double cream. This I heated and then slowly whisked in the split mess. And you know what, the whole thing came back together. It was like a miracle.
After that it was fairly easy although more time consuming than I’d originally thought. I cheated and sped up the process by placing the ganache in the fridge where it threatened (what a surprise) to split again. This I managed to prevent by beating it every fifteen minutes or so whilst it cooled. The truffles were totally worth the effort, intense with chocolate flavour and quite bitter. (I made sure to sample one before taking them with me.) I made mine plain, just with some vanilla extract but you can add in whatever flavours take your fancy really.
Adapted from Paris Sweet
250g dark chocolate
125ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate
100g white chocolate
2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate, chopped
Heat the cream and vanilla until the cream boils. In the meanwhile, finally chop the 250g of chocolate and place in a mixing bowl.
Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture emulsifies and is smooth and glossy. If you have time, leave it on the counter to cool and thicken. If you don’t, place it in the fridge but stir it as it cools to prevent it from splitting.
Once it’s thick, roll the ganache into truffles, using your hands. It’s a messy job but quite fun. I kept cooling my hands under the cold water tap. Return the truffles to the fridge to harden.
Temper the two different chocolates. I did this by melting half the amount in the microwave and then putting the unmelted chocolate into the melted chocolate and stirring until the mixture cooled to just below body temperature. Place the chopped chocolate in another bowl and the cocoa powder in a fourth bowl. I coated some of the chocolates in the melted white chocolate and then rolled them in dark chopped chocolate whilst the rest I coated in dark chocolate and then rolled them in cocoa powder. I used forks to extract the chocolates.
Allow the truffles to set before consuming.