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Ganache ratios for proper consistency (macaron filling)?


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I'm a home cook, but have been working on perfecting macarons recently.  My question deals with appropriate ratios for ganache fillings based on fat content of the cream and chocolate percentages.  My recent mishap came from a Pierre Herme recipe for coffee ganache.  After making the ganache, I refrigerated it overnight and it was way too thin.  You could pour it.  The ratio for that was:

 

450g 35% White Chocolate

520g Light Whipping Cream (32%-35% fat)

 

So roughly 1:1.15 chocolate to cream.

 

Full disclosure, given availability in the grocery stores, I was using heavy whipping cream which was 36% fat.  If anything, I'd think that it would make it more stable, not less. I'm open to the idea that there was just a misprint or error.  Elsewhere in the cookbook, for similar ganaches there are ratios of 1.12:1.

 

One potential thought was the recipe called for boiling the cream and infusing it with coffee.  I probably got to something closer to a scald.  Is it possible that the boiling would reduce the cream further and make a thicker finished product?  Another possibility is that with more fat content, the cream presumably is less dense and therefore the weight measurements translates into higher volume?  Again, these seem like very minor differences.

 

Then thinking through to other recipes, I was hoping to get some sense of how you can mathematically derive the appropriate ratios.  I will be doing dark chocolate ganaches as well and again his recipes call for light whipping cream, which is challenging to locate now, and a specific 68% chocolate.  I'd like to get some sense of how sensitive the finished product is to deviations from those percentages. For example, if I use a 36% heavy whipping cream and a 70% chocolate, is the final consistency likely to be noticeably different than expectations and how can I anticipate how to adjust the recipe?  My sense is that most of his stuff is overly pretentious and that small deviations likely wouldn't have massive ramifications, but I want to make sure because each ingredient IS a meaningful financial investment.

 

Thank you in advance,

 

 

 

 

Edited by TexasMBA02 (log)
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I am not by any means knowledgeable about these things, but I do know one thing about chocolate.  And you don't say what brand of chocolate  you are using.  It's unlikely that you are using inexpensive/cheap chocolate but herein lay my problem. 

 

For items being given to or made for folks who  generally enjoy cheap chocolate, like World's Finest or its equivalent (horreurs!), I was using a really inexpensive chocolate (whereas for others who knew or cared, I would use Belcolade or Lindt...not top brands...but not cheap either).  For several years, the ganache was constantly correct for my purposes with no surprises.  But then! one day the ganache made with milk chocolate turned out like soup.  I was horrified.  Soon enough the darker chocolates followed this same soup pattern.  I wrote to the forum and naturally Kerry Beal, the Chocolate Doctor,  had the answer.  The  chocolate had changed it formula in the factory.  So whereas up to that point I had used...say...1/2 cup cream to 4 ounces chocolate, I now used 1/3 cup cream to get the results I wanted.

 

I talked at length with the sales rep from the chocolate manufacturer.  She insisted vociferously that the formula had undergone no change...but Kerry and I knew differently.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I am using Valrhona 35% white chocolate as called for by the recipe.  Not sure where that ranks for quality of chocolate, but it is brutally expensive, at least in my opinion.

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I have the French edition of his book, he calls for:
400 g white chocolate
400 g cream
20 g ground coffee
So the ratio is different than yours. I don't know if you have the English version and there is a print error there or what else.
You also don't talk about ground coffee. When you make the infusion, then an amount of liquid from the cream is going to be absorbed by the ground coffee.

 

To save your liquid ganache, remelt it and add 120 g white chocolate more.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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When making pastries you should start from the method, not from the numbers. There is no sense in looking only at the numbers if you have not learned the method.
You are asking if a ratio of 1:1 is fine. This means you just read the numbers and not the rest of the words. When you make a coffee infusion some liquid (mostly the water in cream) is absorbed by the ground coffee. So the ratio is not 1:1, it's different because you need to subtract the amount of liquid that has been lost (absorbed by the ground coffee).
To me it seems like you were searching for a white chocolate ganache, first one you found was this coffee one and stopped at reading the numbers. Before asking for explanations about numbers you should learn to read the methods.

 

 


Teo

 

Teo

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@TexasMBA02,  This is a relatively minor side point to the goal of making an acceptable (for your purposes) coffee ganache, but most recipes call for replacing the cream lost by infusion with something else to get it back to the original amount. Does your recipe call for that?  The "something else" varies, with Peter Greweling (Chocolates and Confections) calling for milk instead of cream so as to maintain the amount of fat called for in his recipe. Other authors are not so careful and say just to replace it with more cream, and I have had coffee ganaches break as a result because coffee grounds absorb so much liquid.

 

This would not solve your issue with the ganache being too fluid (in fact, adding milk instead of cream would make it more fluid). My opinion is that the slight differences in percent of fat in cream (as you know, U.S. manufacturers often do not state the fat percentage on heavy cream containers) and the variation in brand of chocolate would not create the problem you are having. I would try Teo's earlier advice and remelt and add more white chocolate. Usually recipes call for a higher percentage of white chocolate to liquefier than for dark or milk chocolate.

 

And as for the chocolate you are using, there may be better-tasting (and less expensive) white chocolate out there, but I don't think anyone would question the quality of Valrhona.

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@Jim D., Thank you for the thoughtful response.  While it never occurred to me that the act of infusion could alter the ratios, the variation of ingredients did.  I followed the recipe exactly, other than using a cream with a slightly higher fat content (36% per the carton) vs the light whipping cream it called for (32% - 35%).  In light of how infusion may change the ratios, would weighing the ingredients post-infusion accommodate that potential better?  

 

Knowing that I can always remelt and add more of one of the ingredients is helpful.  Regretfully, I did throw away the original attempt.  But I did redo it last night STARTING with a ratio of 1.15:1 and I think it turned out very well.  

 

And I would love any recommendations for other brands of chocolate to try.  The reason I went with Valhrona was to stay as faithful to the recipe as possible.  I had attempted to use some Callebaut white chocolate callets in similar recipes in the past and found the flavor overwhelming and unpleasant.  

 

Thanks again.

 

 

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@TexasMBA02, what I do with infusions (and it's simply what Greweling says to do), is weigh the coffee beans and the cream, heat them, strain out the coffee, put the (cleaned) original pot on a scale, zero out the scale, pour in the strained cream, and add milk to equal the original amount called for.

 

Glad to hear that the recipe turned out better in your recent attempt.

 

The subject of white chocolates has received much discussion on eGullet over the years. After trying a lot of them, I have settled on Valrhona's Opalys. It is very difficult to use for making chocolate shells, but the taste justifies (for me) the extra effort. And it is great for making ganaches, has a clean dairy taste and (this next observation is based on absolutely no evidence whatever aside from my impressions) almost a citrus-like note.  The next best, in my opinion, is Cacao Barry's Zéphyr, which is somewhat easier to work with and costs a little less. I don't know where you get your chocolate, but if you have a supplier, sometimes they will provide small samples, but since you say you are a home cook,  there is always Chocosphere, which sells 1kilo bags of many chocolates, including Opalys and Zéphyr.

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Even a 1:1 ratio of white chocolate to cream seems like it would be veeeeery fluid and unlikely to set up to me. I’ve seen recipes go as high as 4:1 white chocolate to cream for macarons. 
 

As far as the dark recipe, a change from 68% to 70% shouldn’t make a huge difference. I’d give it a try and if you find it too firm, just add a smidge more cream the next time. 

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I made a filling with 2:1 ratio white chocolate:cream last weekend and it was juuuuuust firm enough after some time cooling in the fridge. Next time I'll go 2.5:1

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@gfron1, that is good to know.  I'm glad I'm not the only one.  After studying that book a decent amount, there seem to be some inconsistencies that are a bit perplexing.  

 

@Pastrypastmidnight & @keychris, I wonder if part of the difference is application.  My sense is as you mature the macarons in the fridge a day or two, the filling tends to soften the shells and meld a bit.  Presumably then, the opposite is happening as moisture is wicked out of the filling it should firm up a bit.  I tried his recipe for pistachio ganache and it is a 1:1 ratio (with some pistachio paste) and it set up pretty nicely once the macarons had matured in the fridge.  

 

For further R&D, I will probably continue to push the ratio higher because one thing that is true is that as I'm filling them, it is pretty loose and so keeping them aesthetically pleasing is more challenging.  

 

Thanks again for all the help.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 5/1/2020 at 12:12 PM, TexasMBA02 said:

@gfron1, that is good to know.  I'm glad I'm not the only one.  After studying that book a decent amount, there seem to be some inconsistencies that are a bit perplexing.  

 

@Pastrypastmidnight & @keychris, I wonder if part of the difference is application.  My sense is as you mature the macarons in the fridge a day or two, the filling tends to soften the shells and meld a bit.  Presumably then, the opposite is happening as moisture is wicked out of the filling it should firm up a bit.  I tried his recipe for pistachio ganache and it is a 1:1 ratio (with some pistachio paste) and it set up pretty nicely once the macarons had matured in the fridge.  

 

For further R&D, I will probably continue to push the ratio higher because one thing that is true is that as I'm filling them, it is pretty loose and so keeping them aesthetically pleasing is more challenging.  

 

Thanks again for all the help.

You may be right! One thing I’ve done with soft fillings is freeze the macs upright right after filling, then turn them on their sides for storage in the fridge after they’re frozen. Because, as you said, the shells draw moisture out of the filling, and I find that once I bring them out of the fridge they are nice and sturdy. 

Edited by Pastrypastmidnight (log)
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If you're on instagram, a great chef to follow is Karina Rivera (@karinarc_5).  She used to work at Bachour.  She posts a lot of ganache recipes for macarons, which are great by themselves but also to get an idea of how to properly formulate a recipe.  

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On 5/12/2020 at 12:47 PM, Bentley said:

If you're on instagram, a great chef to follow is

 

That's actually a great potential topic! I'm following a lot of Chef's on instagram (mostly french). quite a few are posting recipes, videos ect. maybe because they have nothing better to do. There's a lot of inspiration to be had there!

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8 hours ago, AAQuesada said:

 

That's actually a great potential topic! I'm following a lot of Chef's on instagram (mostly french). quite a few are posting recipes, videos ect. maybe because they have nothing better to do. There's a lot of inspiration to be had there!

 

We started a similar topic here: New options for online learning and socializing. Feel free to add to the list of noteworthy chefs and their courses!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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