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Hazelnut paste ganache


parameda
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I'm trying to make a firmer ganache for truffles, but can't get the ratios of hazelnut paste, milk chocolate and cream right. I have Wybauw's and Notter's books, but they don't mention any ratios when it comes to nut pastes. If I reduce the amount of cream to make it firmer, the ganache separates and when I emulsify it well - it's too soft for hand rolling. I don't want to use liqueur, just pure hazelnut paste 1:1 to milk chocolate, but cream is the problem. Can somebody advise me, please?

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I have had this same problem and have concluded that the issue is the consistency of the hazelnut paste (I use hazelnut praline paste--with added caramelized sugar, so if you are using pure hazelnut paste, your situation will vary).  I buy the paste already made (Cacao Barry brand), and its texture varies from batch to batch, from quite fluid to very viscous.  That makes calculations difficult.  If your gianduja is too firm, you vary the percentages of paste and chocolate.  Or you can also add coconut oil (refined) to make it softer.  Just check the consistency of the paste and vary the amount of chocolate accordingly.  I have found gianduja to be very "forgiving"--there's no separation issue to content with.

 

For a hazelnut praline ganache, I use proportions of 200g paste to 100g chocolate--though I ordinarily use dark chocolate.  Plus 110g cream, 30g glucose, 50g butter.  The ganache comes out soft even when set, but it does set sufficiently for my needs (for piping it).  But again, it's the consistency of the paste that will make calculations difficult.  That's just a built-in issue when dealing with nuts and their oil.  If separation happens, just be prepared to add liquid (milk, liquor, even water).  I don't know that the ganache will ever be firm enough to roll; maybe try freezing the mixture before rolling?  I would probably use gianduja if I were making truffles.  You can test the consistency by chilling a spoonful, then add more paste or coconut oil as desired.  As I said, you can play around with gianduja without issues.  One consolation:  if the gianduja turns out too firm, a truffle is usually fine once people pop it into their mouths.

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Thanks, Jim. I’ll follow your advice and see if I can make it work. I will surely post updates since there’s no a lot of info on nut pastes

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One more thought (although it is probably one that has already occurred to you):  There is more hazelnut flavor in a gianduja than in a ganache.  The cream in the latter somewhat dulls the flavor.  That is one reason I have mostly switched to gianduja when I'm making a hazelnut bonbon.  I make something I call a "marjolaine" that, among other things, has layers of hazelnut ganache as well as almond gianduja; the almond layer has much more flavor.  I need a gianduja in one of the layers since it will enclose a crisp meringue cookie.  (Full disclosure:  the basic marjolaine idea is derived from a bonbon Susanna Yoon makes--although her version in So Good magazine and the one in an online video differ almost completely from each other.)

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That's exactly it - I want that nutty flavour to stand out. I only made gianduja once with equal parts of nut paste and tempered milk chocolate. Do you think I could make it with more nut paste, so that it comes out softer?

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I make it 2:1, hazelnut praline paste to dark chocolate.  If you use milk chocolate, I think you could increase the amount of chocolate because milk chocolate is softer.  The positive factor is that you can make it however you want, test it (refrigerate a little for a brief time so that it approximates room temp), then adjust accordingly.

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One part hazelnut paste and one part milk chocolate wasn't soft enough?

 

That's quite a lot of nut oil added to chocolate. I usually go with 60/40 and that's still soft. But yeah, to each their own. :)  Of course it's not as soft as a ganache, and maybe that's exactly the the texture you want. The downside with adding to much nut paste to chocolate is that the nut oil can make the product feel a little bit "fatty", not sure what the expression is in English. But the oil from the nuts if totally different on your tongue compared to cocoa butter.

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22 hours ago, parameda said:

That's exactly it - I want that nutty flavour to stand out. I only made gianduja once with equal parts of nut paste and tempered milk chocolate. Do you think I could make it with more nut paste, so that it comes out softer?

 

Yes, increasing or decreasing the proportion of nut paste will make your gianduja softer or firmer.  

 

Back to the original question, have you tried a lower fat cream or water?  There is so much fat in both nuts and chocolate already.  I also struggle with hazelnut ganaches.  I make one that is firm enough to cut on a guitar that has dark chocolate, sweetened hazelnut paste, water, and hazelnut liqueur but to be honest it sometimes fails and re-emulsifying the scraps never seems to work. 

 

Are you using 100% hazelnut paste?  Any sweeteners or stabilizers?  If it is un-stabilized and has any separation, you could pour the excess oil off (save it for staff meal salad dressing).

 

A couple of ideas to boost the hazelnut flavor -  steep toasted nuts in your cream/milk to flavor the liquid, add salt, add a drop of almond extract, use Valrhona Amande as part of the chocolate.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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Hey, Pastrygirl. Yes, I tried it with half heavy cream and half milk, but I'm afraid that it will decrease truffles shelf life. I'm only using 100% hazelnut paste, a bit of glucose and I roll truffles using dark cocoa powder before dipping - it gives them a certain flavour I really like. I'll try making softer gianduja and thank you for the tips - salt sound very interesting.

Rajala, there must be some difference in the viscosity of the paste, like Jim pointed out - mine is quite thick

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I always make my own hazelnut paste with my stone grinder. Let it go for like 24 h. The viscosity is pretty low. If I were to buy some random brand it would probably be a lot thicker.

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