Friday, May 21, 2010

Second Helping: Lavender and Chamomile Ganache


The simplest way to flavor ganache, as in yesterday's post on rose ganache, is to stir in extract, spices, or zest.

Another way is to steep herbs in the cream for delicate, unusual flavors. It isn't much more work, though it takes a little more time. Gather fresh herbs and add them to the heated cream, making sure they're completely immersed. Cover the pan and let it sit for up to half an hour, strain, and reheat the cream to finish the ganache.

Lavender ganache added a lovely touch to chocolate birthday cupcakes, topped with a generous helping of vanilla bean icing (hello, new favorite cupcake!).

The leftover ganache went into the fridge to firm up while I made batch of ganache with apple-scented chamomile flowers and lemon verbena, this time with white chocolate. Both were rolled into truffles, along with the leftover rose ganache, and tucked into gift boxes.

 For more tips on making and using ganache, check out yesterday's post. If you have a favorite flavoring for ganache, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Lavender Ganache

Be sure to use culinary lavender, preferably organic. Lavender from a florist or picked off your neighbor's plant may be treated with chemicals that aren't approved for edible crops.

This technique works with any fresh herbs -- mint is an obvious choice.

8 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces high-quality chocolate in small pieces -- chopped, chips, chunks
a few sprigs of flowering lavender

Put chocolate pieces in a bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat cream until just shy of boiling. Immerse lavender sprigs, cover saucepan, and turn off heat. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes, tasting to check the strength of the lavender flavor. Be conservative -- you don't want this to taste like potpourri. When it's to your liking, pour the cream through a fine-mesh sieve (you may need to do this twice) and discard the lavender.

Return cream to saucepan and again heat until almost boiling. Carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Alternatively, pour hot cream over chocolate pieces in food processor.

Chamomile and Lemon Verbena Ganache: Substitute chamomile blossoms and sprigs of lemon verbena for the lavender, and use white chocolate.


Cindy Rowland said...

Look at those photos! Wow!

Darienne said...

Thanks, Cindy! Someone shared some good tips. :)

Cook Play Explore admin said...

I've been asked where to find lavender suitable for eating. You should be able to find lavender buds at Whole Foods, perhaps other natural food stores. I grow my own plant -- it's easy to grow, and has survived lots of neglect.

Yvonne said...

I'm adding flavored ganache to my list of homemade treats. How delightful!


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