If you’re looking to make some ganache for a glaze or to fill some pastries, then you need one that will harden enough to keep its shape. Or at least stop dripping eventually. But what if your ganache isn’t thick enough, even at room temp ?
Why is ganache runny, and how can you fix it ? Fortunately the answer for this is pretty simple, and fixing it is fairly easy too. And don’t worry, you can still save runny ganache and use it in some way !
Why is ganache runny ?
Ganache is runny because the cream to chocolate ratio is off. For a stable ganache that thickens you need to add more chocolate than cream, and what kind of chocolate you use matters a lot.
Each chocolate is different, and the key ingredient here is the cocoa solids. Dark chocolate ganache is hard to mess up, as it can take a lot of cream and still get very thick. Milk chocolate ganache will never get completely hard, as it has more milk solids and you need to use less cream.
Another reason for runny ganache could be not waiting for it to cool enough before you use or pour it. You need to let it cool almost to room temperature before you try to do anything with it.
Be extra careful with white ganache
White chocolate needs barely any cream, because it comes out very runny. Compared to dark chocolate ganache where you need to add more cream than chocolate, white ganache needs something like 1:3 cream to white chocolate ratio, maybe even higher like 1:4.
read also: Chocolate Mousse VS Ganache
It’s better to make a very thick ganache and then thin it down to whatever consistency you need. To do this you can heat cream separately and mix it into the hot white chocolate until it gets a little thinner than the consistency you want it to be when cold.
Is ganache supposed to harden ?
Yes, ganache is actually supposed to harden but then again this is a very loose term. Ganache means any sort of mixture of melted chocolate and hot cream. It can be various ratios of cream to chocolate and it could still be ganache.
The traditional one uses dark chocolate and cream, which almost always leads to a glaze that will set. Now just because your ganache won’t set it doesn’t mean it’s not ganache.
You can try popping it in the fridge for a couple of hours to see if it doesn’t help. If you do, keep in mind that it may lose its shiny sheen and turn matte.
How to thicken ganache
You can thicken ganache by adding more chocolate, but it has to be at least warm otherwise you’ll get lumps.
Another option would be to add in a tiny amount of cream with a lot of cocoa powder. This works best for milk chocolate and dark chocolate. If you think it can end up too bitter, add some powdered milk into the mixture.
Read also: Ganache VS Frosting
Other options include adding ground nuts, coconut flakes, almond flour to thicken the general consistency. We really recommend going to the extra chocolate version, as that will give you the purest ganache possible. Chocolate chips and flakes work well too, if you don’t have actual chocolate bars.
A word of caution when thickening ganache. Do it on a double boiler, because you only need to heat it a little and you don’t need direct heat. It can burn the chocolate, even when it’s mixed in with cream. And actively boiling (even simmering) ganache will make it grainy, so do your best to avoid it.
If you’re wondering if you could thicken ganache with cornstarch, it would be a very difficult thing to pull off. The thing is cornstarch needs some moisture, which the ganache has, but it also need to be simmered for it to cook through. Ganache is hard to simmer without it getting grainy. And aside from all this, it would simply stop being a ganache and cross over into pudding territory.
How to use ganache that won’t harden
If your ganache just won’t harden at all, there’s a few things you can do to or with it. It all depends on how flexible your recipe is, and how much you’re willing to stray from the original.
One thing you can try is whipping the mixture when it’s cooled down. If it’s a very runny one, do it when it’s completely cold. You should get something very similar to a thick whipped cream, and it may even resemble a mousse in some ways. So now you can serve it as a faux mousse, or add it as a frosting if it’s thick enough.
Careful to not overmix it, otherwise you’ll get the solids separated from the fats and end up with a grainy ganache.
Another option would be to mix in some unsalted butter, this should help firm it up. It won’t be a ganache, and it won’t exactly be a buttercream frosting, but it will be much sturdier. It will work well as a filling, or even as a frosting if you can get it thick enough.
Let’s see, what else can you do with this runny ganache ? You can use it in place of a chocolate sauce on top of ice cream or desserts. You can bottle it or put it in a jar and use it as a base for hot chocolate.
Or, if your family loves pudding, you can add less milk and instead add some of the runny ganache. You end up with a stronger chocolate flavor. And if you have white ganache it will go well with vanilla pudding.
You could even mix the cold ganache into some whipped cream, before mixing. You’ll get a thicken whipped cream, and it will have a nice flavor too!
And that’s about it when it comes to runny ganache. Unless you thicken it, it won’t really be salvageable. Sure, there’s things you can do with runny ganache but if you need it for a glaze it needs thickening.
I hope this article helped you find out why ganache is runny and the best way to thicken it. It’s always annoying when you try to make a beautiful cake and the ganache doesn’t have the desired texture. I don’t know why but something wrong in making cakes is more frustrating than something that goes wrong in cooking.