I initially came across water ganache while watching the Nadiya Bakes show. There was an episode where Aneesh Popat was showing how to make a water ganache for his tart. I was so skeptical initially but it actually really works! If you add the right amount of water in the right way, then you get a wonderful ganache with pure chocolate flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Minimal ingredients: While a ganache is typically composed of chocolate and heavy cream, a water ganache uses water as the liquid. If you’ve got chocolate, then you can make this recipe! No need to run to the store to get heavy cream or anything else.
- Customizable: Use this recipe as a starting point to make whatever type of ganache you’d like. You can use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, a combination of chocolate etc. You can also tweak the amount of water to get the consistency you’d like. And of course you can turn this ganache into a delicious chocolate orange ganache or add the flavorings of your choice.
- Delicious: This recipe is perfect for chocolate lovers who want the full flavor of chocolate to shine through in their desserts.
- Chocolate: You can use whatever chocolate you want depending on the flavor and sweetness you are looking for. Just make sure you really like it! The chocolate gets center stage in this recipe and there are no ingredients to cover up the flavor. I’ve tried this recipe with all types of chocolate: dark, milk, white and a combination of dark and milk. They all work great although I wouldn’t recommend using the white chocolate as a filling for tarts for example. It can be overly sweet and is best enjoyed in small quantities such as for drizzles or drips.
- Water: You’ll need warm water (at around 41°C/105°F) to thin out the melted chocolate. The amount of water will determine how soft or firm your ganache is. Be careful not to add too much water however or the ganache will be more likely to become grainy and taste bland. You could have some fun experimenting with the liquid. For example, using infused water or teas would add a subtle twist to your ganache.
I’ve played around quite a bit with the amount of water added until I got to the consistency I liked. Below are my favorite results. Note that the amount of water is given as a percentage of the amount of chocolate used. So for 100 g of chocolate, 45% water would be 45 g of water.
- Dark chocolate (with 45% water): Pipeable once chilled. See piped shapes in featured image. They were left out at room temperature for at least an hour without any change.
- Dark chocolate (with 25% water): Thickish even when warm. Falls in chunks from a spoon, not in a stream. Thickens even at room temperature after a few minutes and retains shape when sliced with a spoon. Good for truffles once chilled.
- Combination of dark chocolate and milk chocolate (with 40% water): Sliceable but soft once chilled. Great as a tart filling (see featured image without piping). Softens if left at room temperature for too long.
- Milk chocolate (with 35% water): Rather soft for piping even once chilled. Peaks won’t stand tall but will tilt slightly. Holds its shape when sliced but on the softer side, like peanut butter or hazelnut spread.
- Milk chocolate (with 25% water): Pourable when warm and firm once chilled.
You can tweak the amount of water to get to what you deem the perfect consistency. I use couverture chocolate, 53% cocoa for the dark chocolate and 40% cocoa for the milk chocolate. If you use chocolate with a different cocoa percentage, you won’t get exactly the same results. But you can always experiment using small amounts of chocolate if you’d like.
How to Make A Water Ganache
- Place the chocolate in a medium microwavable bowl. Melt in the microwave in 10 to 20-second increments, stirring in-between.
- Once completely smooth, add about half the warm water. Stir with a spoon (or spatula) from the center then outwards until combined.
Don’t worry if the ganache starts to look grainy and lumpy. Just keep stirring it and it will eventually become smooth.
- Add the remaining water in two more additions, and stir until completely smooth.
- Optional: Strain the ganache through a fine mesh sieve placed over a measuring cup to get rid of any chocolate lumps, if necessary.
- Use warm for a pourable consistency. Alternatively, pour into a wide container (to cool down faster). Cool down completely at room temperature then cover with cling film (or parchment paper). Chill until needed or until firm enough to pipe.
If you initially add too little water to the melted chocolate, you might end up with a thick mass that is hard to mix. If it’s starting to thicken, add a little more water and stir again to combine. Gradually add the remaining water.
If you are having trouble getting a smooth ganache using a spoon, switch to a whisk to get rid of the chocolate lumps. Alternatively, use an immersion blender. You can then strain the ganache to get rid of air bubbles and any bits of chocolate.
Adding Flavorings To The Ganache
If you’d like to add some flavorings to the ganache such as orange zest and salt, simply add it to the melted chocolate. Stir to combine then gradually add the water until you get a smooth ganache.
Whipping The Ganache
If you’re wondering if you can whip a water ganache then the answer is yes! And it will turn into a mousse! Hervé This actually had the brilliant idea of making mousse using just chocolate and water. If you’d like to give it a go, place the bowl with the warm ganache over an ice bath and whisk until you get to the desired texture.
The ganache will start to lighten in color and thicken. If you whisk it a bit too much, the ganache/mousse will harden but you can always remelt it (gently) and try again. Note that this won’t work well if you use a lot of water in your ganache.