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We are trying to make chocolate truffles by heating cream and adding to chopped up chocolate but it keeps curdling. Are there any tips to avoid this happening?

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I followed this recipe, ( bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/truffles_67741 ) and I think the 'rolling boil' instruction made me curdle the mixture also. I am going to try the below and see if that works tonight. –  jos Nov 28 '12 at 10:46

8 Answers 8

I have made a lot of truffles, and even more ganache for other purposes, and I have never had this happen. My guess is that you are boiling the cream too hard and that is causing the curdling.

How to make ganache: You will need by weight one part 35% cream to 2 parts chocolate of your choice.

Chop your chocolate (if it's in blocks or chunks), put into a heatproof bowl (stainless steel is best) away fro your heat.

In a saucepan or pot (depending on how much you're making), bring the cream up to a high simmer.

Pour the cream immediately over the chocolate and stir with a silicone spatula if you have one, a wooden spoon otherwise. The chocolate should completely melt within about two minutes; longer for very high percentage dark chocolates. At this point if you are making flavoured truffles, add your flavourings (unless your flavour compounds have been infused into the cream).

Chill until set, make into truffles.

Edited to add:

If you are using alcohol as a flavouring in your truffles, you will need to use either more chocolate or less cream. I have found that approximately for every fluid ounce of alcohol added, remove 3/4-1 fluid ounce of cream from the recipe. I prefer to infuse flavourings in the cream, and have had great success with beets, bacon (with a Guinness reduction added to the chocolate later), black truffle and pureed walnut, and honey. Be sure to strain, of course, before adding the hot cream to the chocolate.

I have also found that white chocolate will often need slightly less cream than a milk or dark.

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Agreed; I've never had this happen either. The only other reason I can think of that might cause the problem is if somehow water (even a tiny bit) is being introduced before the cream. That will cause seizing. Another way to make ganache is to microwave the cream and chocolate together. Very efficient and clean for small batches. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Oct 11 '10 at 15:44

Try adding the heated cream to the chocolate away from the heat. Curdling often occurs when you add too much heat to the chocolate as it's the fats and cocoa solids in the chocolate separating that causes the issues.

When I make truffles I tend to use a cheese grater to create fine chocolate shavings which melt easily when mixed with warm cream avoiding the need to add more heat which you might need to do if you have bigger chunks.

To save a slightly curdled mixture you can sometimes get away with frantic whisking but the taste will probably be affected.

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I melt the chocolate then allow it to cool slightly and add the cream at room temperature, stirring it in gradually, adding any alcohol for flavouring as I go - I've never had it curdle this way.

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You should melt the chocolate over a double boiler as you heat the cream, and stir the cream vigorously into the melted chocolate to prevent this.

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This is not how to make ganache, will significantly lengthen the preparation process due to having to chill further, is more likely to separate, and is generally an unnecessary step. –  daniel Oct 10 '10 at 21:27

There are many reasons why this can happen. It is actually one of the most common problems with ganache. Here are a few things that can cause the lumpiness:

  • Overheated cream - The cream should come to a simmer and not much more. If you want to be precise, it should be around 105 F when it is added to the chocolate.
  • The chocolate should be finely chopped so it melts easily. It should also ideally (although it doesn't absolutely have to be) be tempered. If you are using new chocolate that was not previously melted, it should already be tempered.

What recipe are you using? If you have any liquid flavorings (rum, fruit puree, etc) that can be a factor. Are you adding butter or only using cream?

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From more experimentation it seems like too much heat is probably the problem. Less heat does mean more work chopping up the chocolate finely. Just using chocolate and cream. Does butter help? –  Russell Gallop Dec 17 '10 at 13:08
    
Yes, there is a lot of work involved in chopping up the chocolate. When possible, I often buy chocolate from companies that sell their chocolate pre-formed into small (chocolate-chip-like) pieces. Try using a thermometer to check the temperature of your cream before you pour it onto the chocolate. It should be around 105 F. Let the cream and the chocolate sit without stirring for 30 seconds to a minute and then start stirring and add a small amount of butter if you want. After trying many, many ganache recipes, my go-to ratio for basic ganache is from this site: tiny.cc/7ppjm –  Computerish Dec 17 '10 at 13:54
    
I never use butter in my ganache, as it is far too likely to split the emulsion by tilting the balance too far towards the fatty end. You can use butter of course, but there is really no need to. –  daniel Dec 24 '10 at 23:08

If your truffle mixture happens to curdle all you do is add a splash of boiling water and mix it in. This smooths out the sauce and brings it back to a silky smooth mixture. I have found that whisking the mixture when it has curdled tends to make it worse.

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I have had it split and it's generally adding something cold too late, whisking for a few minutes with an electric whisk on high speed will fix it, well it worked for me.

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Boiling water worked for me! Cheers

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how do you use the boiling water? –  rumtscho Nov 11 '13 at 21:04

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