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Cranberry Ganache · GF (1 cup)

While most of us know ganache as a blend of chocolate and cream, you can actually get away with making it from all sorts of other things. I had a big batch of Cranberry Syrup leftover from Christmas, so I decided to give it a try as the basis for ganache.

The result wasn’t as luxurious or glossy as a cream ganache, but I loved its sweet-tart flavor; the cranberry came through loud and clear. If you enjoy combos like Chocolate Orange or Chocolate Cherry, then you’d totally dig it too.

Because of its light body and clean finish, it’s ideal for saucing creamy desserts like ice cream or cheesecake. I used it to cover a Chocolate Cranberry Layer Cake. It gave the buttercream a bold pop of flavor, but without the tongue-coating richness of a traditional ganache.

ganaching a cake

Cranberry Ganache is super lean, so look for chocolates in the 50-60% range; the cocoa butter helps keep the emulsion stable. I used Videri Dark Milk, which has a 50% cocoa content and a bright flavor unlike typical ultra-mellow milk chocolates.

Cranberry Ganache, about 1 cup
4 ounces homemade Cranberry Syrup
4 ounces milk or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 ounce heavy cream or coconut milk, possibly more

In a 2 quart stainless steel pot, melt the Cranberry Syrup over low heat. Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate. Don’t use chips to save time, they don’t have enough cocoa butter to keep the ganache creamy.

Increase the heat to medium. When the Cranberry Syrup beings to bubble, shut off the heat. Add the chopped chocolate all at once and whisk until completely melted, though the ganache may look slightly broken.

Drizzle in the cream or coconut milk a little at a time, whisking until the ganache looks smooth and glossy. If you like, strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seedy bits and flecks of cranberry skin (I didn’t bother).

Variations

Pink Ganache: this makes a beautiful ganache, but it only works to the extent that you love a particular brand of white chocolate. Oddly enough, it reminds me a lot of strawberry yogurt, something about the creaminess of the white chocolate combined with the tartness and “red berry” flavor.

Replace the dark chocolate with 8 ounces of top-notch white chocolate, and season to taste with a hearty pinch of salt. It’s more white chocolate than the plain version, but white ganache is funky like that.

Fork!

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Any questions?

Dec 31, 2013 · 10:58 AM

LOVE your recipes and blog…love your response skills…question: I know sometimes you can replace bittersweet with semi-sweet chocolate. Is this one of those times, or is bittersweet critical? does it depend on the brands? Many thanks! (looking forward very much to the book!!!!!)

 · calamity537 · 

Jan 01, 2014 ·  1:28 PM

Hi calamity537! Thanks for asking. I probably should have included a bit more info in the recipe itself.

I’m not sure that there is any legal definition of bittersweet versus semi-sweet chocolate, different brands seem to use the terms interchangeably. So long as you stick to something in the 50-60% range, regardless of how its labeled, it’ll be fine.

In this recipe, that range is about striking a balance of flavor_ and_ texture. With a 70% chocolate, the ganache would have a much greater chance of breaking since there would be less cocoa butter, and it might also taste a little harsh (since the cranberry is so tart).

The only risk with using a chocolate lower than 50% would be that the ganache itself would be too sweet (since the syrup itself is fifty percent sugar).

Stella

Jan 06, 2014 ·  5:52 PM

Hi Stella – absolutely love your blog!! I’ve read every post you’ve made I’m a chocolatier, and your ganache looks lovely. To help it be even more silky and luxurious, add 1 oz butter for every 2 oz of cream you remove. For this ganache I’d probably use 2 ounces of butter. Milk chocolate will make a softer ganache, whereas semisweet (usually 60% cacao or less) will have the same texture as bittersweet (usually 60% cacao or more.) Hope to meet you someday!

 · Katherine · katherine-anne.com

Jan 07, 2014 ·  7:09 PM

Hi Katherine, thanks for the tips! I was willing to let the ganache take a hit on creaminess to avoid muting the flavor, but that’s great information for anyone who might want to use it in more traditional applications, or simply to enjoy the added richness. If I’m ever in Chicago, I will look you up!

Stella

Jan 25, 2014 ·  3:27 PM

Hi Stella, do you think I could use half milk chocolate (33%) and half dark (70%) and melt them together in order to make an approximation of your 50% dark milk chocolate, or is it a bad idea to melt two kinds of chocolate together?

 · AnneHD · 

Jan 27, 2014 · 10:44 AM

Hi AnneHD! That’s a great question. I love to blend chocolates together in ganache, it’s a good way to round out the flavor and approximate the percentage you’re looking for. So go right ahead! You’ll have to let me know if you give it a try.

Stella

Jan 28, 2014 ·  2:41 AM

hi stella, i am thinking to make a taro glaze that looks purple in color for cake of my grandma’s birthday, but i have no idea how to make a glaze in purple without using food color and have a taro taste in it. Do you have any suggestion? Thank you!

 · mcnum · 

Jan 31, 2014 ·  6:44 PM

Hi Stella,
I was wondering, if I’ve got a cake like in the photo, frosted with swiss buttercream, how long should I let the ganache cool before pouring it on? I had a bit of an incident where I allowed it to cool too much. While it tasted delicious the cake was super ugly! Thanks so much for your awesome blog and for any tips!

 · Dana · 

Jan 31, 2014 ·  9:32 PM

Hi mcnum! Aw, I wish I had an answer for you. I’ve never used taro in dessert, so I’m not sure how to go about handling it. You’ve got me stumped!

Hi Dana! Yeah, ganache is a bit like Goldilocks— too hot or too cold and it doesn’t quite work out. There’s actually a range of possibilities, depending on the temperature of the cake itself and the ganache. And again, cooling the ganache itself happens under a range of times, depending on the thickness and size of the pot or bowl. Presuming the cake has been refrigerated for 30 minutes or so, using a ganache that’s fluid and warm should be about right.

Too hot and the ganache will just slide right off the cake, but too cool and it will clump. It should be thick enough to easily coat a spoon, but thin enough to stream off. I know none of that is a very cut and dry answer, but hopefully it will give you something to go on when judging ganache at home.

Stella



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