Saturday, December 29, 2007

Making Ganache

Cupcakes with Ganache and Strawberries
More on decorating cupcakes: You can make a simple ganache (pronounced ger-nash) to spread and cover your cupcakes. If you love chocolate, you will love ganache. Ganache is essentially made up of good quality (semi-sweet or unsweetened) chocolate and heavy cream. To make ganache that is shiny and gorgeous-looking, it has to have enough fat in it, which explains why heavy or whipping cream is used. To give it that intense chocolaty flavor, use chocolate that has a high cocoa content.

In the video below, Anna starts by heating the heavy cream over a stove till it bubbles. Then she pours it over the chocolate. The mixture is allowed to stand for a minute so that the chocolate melts. It is then stirred before a little honey is added. The honey sweetens the ganache and gives it shine as well. Some bakers even add a little cognac to their chocolate ganache to give it that extra oomph.
Watch the video below and turn up the volume on your computer speakers to hear the conversation between Anna and me.
Video: Making Ganache (by Anna Chan)

The good thing about Anna’s ganache is that it is very spreadable, so a spoon is all that’s needed to scoop it onto the chocolate cupcakes. The ganache flows and covers the cupcakes without her having to do much! The ganache is allowed to set and harden a little in the fridge before decorating with sliced strawberries or whole strawberries cut in halves. This prevents the strawberries from sicking into the ganache. Anna used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the strawberries.

Wife Pastry (Lao Por Bing): These lao por bing were a gift. They were bought from the airport in Hong Kong. My husband and children loved eating these! These were manufactured by Wing Wah (

Lao Por Bing from Wing Wah
Here is the ingredient list: wheat flour, glutinous rice flour, sugar, vegetable shortening, winter melon paste (contains maltose, water, winter melon, sugar, vegetable shortening, gelling agent E406, colour E100, preservative E202), modified starch, egg, honey, emulsifier E322, humectant E420, flavouring (vanilla, coconut).
I make it a point to read the ingredient list in everything I eat. It’s become a habit due to my food allergies and intolerances. But the other reason is that I want to know what goes into it. I love making lao por bing and the first thing I did when I received these Wing Wah lao por bing was to take a look at the ingredient list and compare it to what I use in my lao por bing. Besides preservatives and trans-fat shortening, the other ingredient which I do not use in is maltose. Maltose is a sweetener, also known as mai ya tang. It’s brownish in colour and is super sticky and thick. Perhaps the next time I make lao por bing, I should try adding some maltose.
Here’s an interesting tale of how Lao Por Bing originated. The following passage was taken from the Wing Wah package box. “Legend has it that back in feudal China, a daughter-in-law offered herself for sale in return for money to cure her ill-health father-in-law. In a desperate attempt to redeem his spouse, the husband created a gourmet cake for sale in the bazaar. His product did pay off with the proceeds saved. The couple was able to get together again and lived happily ever after. His recipe then spread from place to place, winning the name “Wife Cake”.”

Making Pineapple Tarts: Now that Christmas is over, the next celebration to look forward to is Chinese New Year! A dear reader has written in to ask about pineapple tart making.
Question: Can unbaked pineapple tarts be prepared and frozen till they are ready to be baked?
Answer: Yes, you can mould and freeze the tarts in advance. There is no need to defrost them before baking. Simply pop them into the oven after taking them out of the freezer. But you might have to bake them a little longer than usual.
Question: How long can cooked pineapple filling be stored in the fridge?
Answer: You can keep the filling in the fridge for about a week. However, if you want the filling to last longer, keep it in the freezer. It should keep well for about one month. To ensure that the filling is as fresh as the day you made it, make sure the plastic bag or container used is very clean and dry and that you minimise handling the filling with bare hands - use a clean spoon to scoop the filling into the plastic bag/container. This ensures that no bacteria contaminates the filling before it is stored in the freezer. Note: Pineapple filling that contains more sugar lasts longer than low-sugar filling, because sugar is a natural preservative.
Wishing everyone a truly blessed and joyous 2008!


Anonymous said...

Hi Oi Lin,

I came upon your blog when searching for a good pineapple tart recipe (I made some last week with my sister but think they should taste better). Wow, you give alot of info on your blog. I'm a novice baker and love to collect recipes & cookbooks. I could learn so much from reading your blog. I'll definitely look out for your books when I return to SG next month. Thanks.

Best regards,

Oi Lin said...

Dear Jenise,
Thank you for writing!I wish you and your sister many happy hours of baking together. It's fun to bake with a loved one - it's like a bonding session. Do tell me how your next batch of pineapple tarts turn out!!

Oi Lin

xonice said...

Hi Oi Lin,

About the ganache, what is the difference by using whipping cream and butter?
I tried using butter before but feel is a bit 'oily'
I used conventure dark choc and find it nice and rich. i used ganache for my brownies but just couldnt get the 'right taste' for the ganache.
BTW, will u publish recipe for brownies?

Oi Lin said...

Hi, I think that whipping cream will make the ganache taste richer instead of oilier, which is the case with butter. The recipe for the brownies will be out in Anna Chan's 'Gorgeous Cupcakes for the Homebaker' cookbook, which will be out in about a month's time.
Regards, Oi Lin