Chocolate emulsions for dessert

The physics behind a healthy chocolate ganache.
27 June 2016

Interview with 

Adam Geileskey, Hotel Chocolat


The best course of any meal? Dessert! To find out a bit about the physics of Chocolatechocolate emulsions, and how to make the perfect ganache, Georgia Mills invited Adam Geileskey, Head of Chocolate Development at Hotel Chocolat for a 'ganache-off'...

Adam - Okay Georgia, so we've got a couple of things on the go at the same time. We've got some chocolate melting. I've got some orange juice which is actually Sicilian blood orange warming up and I've got some cream warming up and we're trying to get all of these to the same temperature, about 45 degrees centigrade. So as we know chocolate is sold at room temperature, and then as we warm it up to 45 degrees, it goes a lovely liquid, and what we're going to do is how we can combine these ingredients together to make some interesting desserts and maybe even chocolates.

Georgia - So what's the name of the dessert we're making?

Adam - Okay what we're going to do is have a go at making a ganache. A ganache is when you add chocolate and some kind of liquid. So normally traditionally that's cream but you can do some interesting stuff and we're going to try orange juice today but you could easily do this rum, tea and, in fact, any kind of liquid you can think of we could have a go at making this.

So the science of this is we're making an emulsion. An emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible liquids, so in this case we've got cocoa butter, which is a fat and at 45 degrees it's going to become a liquid, and we're also adding there's water in the orange juice and in the cream. And we're going to be combining both to those, trying to mix it really thoroughly to break the cocoa butter down into tiny little pieces and surround that with a sea of water. Adding the cream and the fruit juice will also give it some extra flavour.

Georgia - So when you say immiscible, you mean they can't mix together?

Adam - Normally no. They can't mix together so if you drop one on top of the other they would separate.

Georgia - Like oil and water, something like that?

Adam - Exactly, like oil and water. And what we're doing with the ganache is very similar to what you do if ever you've had a go at making a mayonnaise, or even paint!  The way it works is the cocoa butter will get broken down into such small pieces that it's then held by this sea of water.

Georgia - Great, so we've got some bowls here.

Adam - Right, so we've got two bowls. We've got the cream and the... You're going to have a go at the cream and I'm going to have a go at the fruit juice, OK - we're going to have a ganache off! So I'm just going to now pour some of the melted chocolate into the cream and now I'm going to put some of the melted chocolate into my fruit juice.

Georgia - Chocolate and juice, it just doesn't seem right.

Adam - It's definitely going to work. I'm going to hand you a spoon. You need to get stirring. Get the spoon right in the bottom and get that moving.

Georgia - Oh gosh! I'm spilling ganache everywhere!

Adam - It's going everywhere, it's going everywhere! So you can see what's happening now. To start with it goes really lumpy and what's happening there is the water loving... you're doing really well now... the water loving cocoa powder in the chocolate sucking all the water and then the more you mix it the smoother it gets. And what you're looking for is something that's really nice and shiny and glossy, which actually, yours is looking better than mine.

Georgia - But on the other hand I have splashed it all over you and I'm very sorry about that.

Adam - I'll be having that later. OK so, actually, we can stop now. You've got a beautifully soft and glossy ganache. Actually, that looks really professional - if you're looking for another job we'd be happy to talk to you! Would you like to try some of it?

Georgia - I would love to. I was just waiting for you to say.

Adam - I recommend with your one, I recommend try it with a strawberry.

Georgia - Dip the strawberry... it's nice and warm.

Adam - While you're eating that now, you could use this as it is. This is still really nice and warm - it's like 45 degrees and his is perfect for dipping fruit and stuff like that into and just eating as it is or even a cracker or something like that, which I've also got. But if you left this and you left it overnight to set up properly, the cocoa butter then starts to crystallise. So it starts to go solid again and that firms the whole mix up and that's what we'd use for the centre of a filled chocolate, so a nice soft chocolate. If you then took a scoop of that and rolled it in cocoa powder or dipped it in chocolate, you'd have a nice filled chocolate.

Georgia - OK. So as they are now, they're kind of just a bit liquid and soft and oh.... You've got some here you made earlier Blue Peter style.

Adam - Yes, Blue Peter style - so the one I'd like you to try this is the orange ganache. This is the one that I made that didn't come out as well as yours but it does taste very good.

Georgia - This is on a nice cracker.

Adam - So tell me what you think.

Georgia - ...Oh.

Chris - Can we all try some?

Georgia - Mmm... that's fantastic.

Chris - Alex and Sue look like they're going to kill someone here if they don't get a chance to try it.

Adam - Here's some crackers and some chocolate.

Georgia - Well, I stand corrected. The orange juice and chocolate work lovely together. Does this mean it's a bit more healthy... Sorry you're wiping off all the chocolate I sprayed on you earlier. Does this mean it's a bit more healthier than the cream one, the traditional ganache?

Adam - Yes. If you think about chocolate. Half of the chocolate is cocoa butter and the other half it's a mixture of milk powder and sugar. So, obviously, adding water into that dilutes the energy parts of the ingredients so, if you were using a fruit juice, that then reduces the amount of fat in the chocolate.  But then, if you were making this say with a tea, so maybe something really interesting like a matcha tea or an earl grey tea, you're just adding really water and flavour and that would do an even better job in terms of reducing the calorie count in that filled chocolate.

Georgia - I can't wait to experiment with all the different liquids. And so, just to summarise, it's basically as simple as melting the chocolate to 40 degrees, mixing it in with the liquid of choice and then leaving it to set in the fridge or just eating it all immediately with strawberries, as I tend to do with these ones.

Adam - Yes, pretty much. So the important thing is melt you chocolate, I'd melt it to just over 45 degrees, make sure you combine all your ingredients at the same temperature. Imagine if you add cold cream to warm chocolate it just sets the chocolate and makes your grenache go really lumpy, and then get on and mix those as fast as you can, and then just sit back and enjoy it. The advantage of this as a dip at the dinner table is that it takes a lot longer for it to set so you can enjoy it for longer.

Georgia - And this is the friend of the chocolatier. You can use this to make fillings for chocolates like those mojito chocolates we were eating naughtily before the show?

Adam - Ah we use all sort of things in this type of recipe, so we add all sorts of alcohol. So I would have a go with gin, I think that would work really really well. We use all sorts of vodkas and then equally we have a recipe with carrots, like carrot cake type recipes. We've got some really interesting cocktails like mojitos and then in some of our recipes we'd use real champagne and make things like champagne truffles, so it's really versatile.

Chris - Can I ask you a question though? How do you get the alcohol to stay inside the chocolate without sort of eating it's way out?

Adam - If you're making a ganache you don't really have a problem with that. What you do is you make your ganache up to this stage and then you add your alcohol. Don't try and hear everything up with your alcohol. Make your ganache first and then add your alcohol into it so it goes in last - it lasts really well. But do keep your ganache... If you are going to have a go a making them keep your grenache in the fridge because this is a really simple recipe and it needs to be kept refrigerated otherwise it will eventually go off, and it lasts for a few day.

Chris - What do you think Will?

Will - It looks, and sounds, and tastes delicious. I'm a fan!

Chris - You're tucking in Sue.

Sue - Oh yes. I've just tried a little bit and it's perfect!

Chris - You'll be going back for more. Alex - is that something you could serve up in the restaurant?

Alex - Yeah, I think it's a great idea. We make all our own petit fours and chocolate truffles to go out with coffees at the end of a meal and I think this is a great addition to it.


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