That cake was perfectly good. Perfectly deliciouis, really. That doesn't mean I was satisfied with my seized ganache, though, or that I would let it go without trying again. So, of course, I started reading about ganache to find out what I might have done wrong and what I could do differently in the future.
It was Valentine's Day so chocolate was in the air and my search was a quick one. The demo lady at the co-op had photocopied and displayed an article on, what else but, ganache. Greg Case and Keri Fisher of Fine Cooking wrote an excellent article on the subject complete with a fool proof recipe.
It seems my problem was at least two-fold. The first mistake I made was using chocolate with too much cacao bean content (80%). The authors of this article recommend using chocolate with only 55-60% cacao for best results. They say that ganache made with chocolate with a higher cacao content than that tends to seize, which is exactly what mine did. I also made the mistake of melting my chocolate. Once you melt chocolate things seem to get complicated. You get into tempering territory, something I don't know much about. By using their technique--adding hot cream to chopped up chocolate--you avoid all sorts of mess and worry.
I tried their recipe and got perfect results: shiny, spreadable, ganachy ganache.
makes 2 cups
- 12 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Place chocolate in the bowl of a food processor and chop until chocolate resembles small pebbles. Bring cream just to the boil over medium heat. Add hot cream to the chocolate and process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Do not over-process or the cream will whip and then you'll be sorry.