Ganache is a word that is often met in dessert cookbooks and while it is easy to figure out that it stands for some kind of chocolate, it is not often that clear what exactly for a chocolate mixture a recipe calls for.
And to make it further complicated, the ganache – made of basically melted chocolate and heavy cream – can achieve multiple forms depending on the mixture’s temperature and density.
Warm ganache can be served as a filling in a warm souffle cake or drizzled over it to create a glaze.
Cold ganache, on another hand, can be whipped into a dessert frosting or a cold mousse-like filling and most of all – used for making heavenly tasting chocolate truffles.
The word ganache is believed to had been firstly used to name a kind of truffle made of cream and chocolate by Paris confectioners Maison Siraudin, named after Les Ganaches (a popular comic play of the time).
But according to culinary folklore, the word was coined in 1920s by the famous French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier (of Savoy and Ritz-Carlton fame who, as we already know, helped for the world fame of Boeuf bourguignon). The story goes that one day an apprentice accidentally poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolate pieces and the chef, in a Gordon Ramsay style, shouted at him “ganache.” As you have probably figured it out, the French word ganache meant to name a person of low intelligence.
Ganache – etymology
The story might be just a colourful culinary myth, but the etymology of the chocolate mixture indeed derives from the French word for “fool”. And through that meaning the English readers got to know the word back in 19th century. Starting with the first written reference coming from a 1814 newspaper: “There..is a letter from your ganache of a father .” and going to 1902, Life magazine: “He happened one fine day to say that the Emperor of Austria was nothing but a ‘ganache’”.
The first time the word appeared in print in the English language to name a chocolate mixture used in confections was in a September, 1922 issue of the world’s first illustrated weekly news magazine, The Illustrated London News, in an advertisement for Maison Lyons chocolates offering nougat ganache sold in Salons at the Corner Houses, Maison Lyons and Lyons’ teashops and in some theatres and by good confectioners.