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Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
Makes enough ganache to cover a 9 inch (23 cm) cake or torte.
To Cover a Torte or Cake:
Note: If covering a cake with ganache that is to be refrigerated, make sure the cake is cold before covering with the ganache. This will ensure that the ganache does not dull when stored in the refrigerator.
Brush any loose crumbs from the cake and place cake on a wire rack. Put the wire rack on a baking sheet. In this way if the ganache drips it will end up on the baking sheet, which makes clean up easier. Using a cake spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake with about 2 tablespoons ganache. This is called a crumb coat and seals in any cake crumbs so that your cake will have a smooth finish. Refrigerate cake for 5 minutes to set the crumb coat. If you have any air bubbles or crumbs in your ganache, pour through a strainer. To cover cake, pour the remaining ganache into the center of the cake. Working quickly, spread with a spatula, using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake, to create an even coating of ganache. If there are any bare spots on sides of cake, cover with leftover ganache. Strain leftover ganache to remove any crumbs. At this point the leftover ganache can be refrigerated until cold so you can make truffles. Or it can be whipped with an electric hand mixer or whisk and then piped. In the above picture I used a Wilton 1M open star tip to pipe rosettes.
8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
Note: Truffles can also be made with Ganache. Truffles are just small balls of chocolate that can be rolled into cocoa powder, powdered sugar or toasted chopped nuts. You can use your hands to form the truffles, or else a melon baller or small spoon. Make sure the chocolate ganache is well chilled before forming into balls. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months. They are delicious and a great way to use "leftovers".
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