Ganache sounds more complicated than its two ingredients suggest, but when blended together, chocolate and cream form the perfect union, resulting in a rich, luxurious confection. Master the surprisingly simple technique behind making ganache, and you'll find you've mastered the art of decadence itself.
What You'll Need 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 cup heavy cream
The chocolate must first be chopped into small pieces so that it will melt evenly. If you leave it in large chunks, the outside surface will melt long before the center begins to soften, and the melted portion will stay hot too long, which can ruin the ganache. Use a heavy serrated knife (or a chocolate chopper) to shave off shards of chocolate; these can then be chopped again with the knife, or transferred to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulsed briefly; be careful not to let the chocolate melt in the processor bowl.
Put chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup of cream just to a boil over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir the mixture very gently, incorporating the cream steadily, without overworking. The mixture should begin to appear glossy, a good sign that the suspension is stable.
If using ganache as a glaze on a cake, make sure the cake is completely cool and set it on a wire rack. Place the wire rack on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Pour ganache over cake, using an offset spatula to spread evenly.