Friday, June 23, 2006

kitchen disasters, or how to rescue a broken ganache...

I'm impulsive. Often I will be standing in Trader Joe's, waiting to buy eggs and milk when a recipe I've seen earlier that day will take over and I find myself buying goat's milk yogurt or heavy cream or pizza dough. This happened to me a month ago after reading a particularly inspiring post where Sam discovers chocolate mint and makes some very delectable-sounding/looking chocolate-mint truffles. I came home with a pint of heavy whipping cream, ready to enjoy some chocolatey goodness later that night.

Unfortunately, my impulsiveness means I sometimes skip over major details, like reading a recipe closely. Oops. Having never made truffles before, but seeing Alton Brown do it on TV, I figured it couldn't be that hard, right? But apparently, ganache can be finicky. Especially if you disregard all helpful directions and plow ahead from excitement. And you end up with this:

A grainy, separated mess! Too much heat will cause the cocoa butter to pool out and you'll see a layer of oil separate out from your formerly lovely chocolate-cream mixture. But I'm stubborn, and I didn't want to give up and throw the mess out. So I did a little googling to see if I could fix it. And you can! First you break out your trusty candy thermometer. Then you divide the mess in half. You heat one half to 130 degrees, and cool the other half to 60 degrees. Then you slowly whisk the hot half into the cool half. This supposedly averages out the temperature so that the fat droplets in your ganache become evenly suspended.

Hard to believe that this mess actually somehow became a yummy ganache! I had steeped the cream with cinnamon stick, a chile, cardamom, and cayenne. Then I mixed some ground cinnamon and cayenne into the cocoa powder for rolling. The result? A very delicious truffle, with just the right amount of kick. It was pronounced "yummy" by the boyfriend and the roommate.

Moral of the story? Read the directions! But also, don't get flustered and give up...with a little bit of patience (or perhaps desperation?) you can fix most kitchen disasters into something palatable and even delicious!


Sam said...

well saved! I might have given up if that had happened to me. I admire your patience.

Anonymous said...

I followed your instructions to save my separated chocolate and it worked perfectly - thank you so much, I'm so glad I found this page!