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?
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.
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.
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?