Birthday Ganache

I always make a point of posting on Saturday morning at 9:30 eastern and this Saturday happens to be my birthday so I've chosen my favorite frosting to write about.I'm sure you all know what ganache is but just to be absolutely certain, it is, in my opinion, the best way to eat chocolate--a beautiful blending of bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream. Sometimes it contains a little butter and sometimes some liqueur, but basically all you need is your favorite eating chocolate and heavy cream. There are recipes galore in every dessert book and on the web and in my newest book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, with over 10 recipes fro making ganache. I even list how to vary the amount of cream depending on the percentage of cacao in the chocolate. If you have a food processor, all you need to do is process the chocolate until fine bits and add cream that has been heated to the boiling point. But what I want to share with you now is the proper texture or consistency you need in order to be soft enough to frost a cake smoothly and evenly and not separate from the cake after it is set. If you weigh the chocolate and the cream and follow the suggested proportions depending on the cacao content of the chocolate, the next thing you need to know is that it must cool uncovered for 1 hour and then covered to prevent evaporation for as long as it takes to reach a creamy texture. It is best not to stir it during this time and it really depends on the room temperature and quantity of ganache as to how long this will take, which can vary from a few to several hours. My fellow author, Lisa Yockelson, also recommends straining the ganache while pouring it out of the food processor into the bowl for a shinier texture. Ideally, ganache spreads most easily when it has cooled down to 80˚F/26˚C. Cooler and it will firm up so that it will require a few seconds in a microwave or a gently stirring over hot water. If you need to use the ganache before it is firm enough to spread, whisking it briefly will do wonders to thicken it but the incorporated air will also lighten its color. That's all there is to this magic mixture of chocolate and cream. Except for one more thing: Woody is working on three wonderful substitutions for the cream so that even the lactose intolerant will be able to enjoy eating ganache. Posting to follow soon. Meantime, you can be surfing through the over 7 million results from putting ganache into your web browser.