My biggest luxury ingredient is one that I use in my cake kitchen on a daily basis, yet I still consider it completely and utterly exceptional. Dark chocolate. But not just ordinary dark chocolate; the kind I buy for my cakes is the best money can buy. In fact I spend much more money on chocolate than I do on rent, or any other ingredient, but will never compromise on it because it's such incredibly quality. I get my chocolate from a company called Equagold, who sell all sorts of other luxury ingredients, like the finest freeze dried vanilla powder, saffron threads and the most pure tasting cinnamon you'll ever come across. My chocolate brand is called Barry Callebaut and it's Belgian couverture, 70% cocoa solids, so pretty dark but not bitter. It's naturally vegan because it contains no milk solids, is low in sugar, and melts like an absolute dream. This chocolate is the main ingredient in my famous flourless dark chocolate cake, which has been voted the best chocolate cake in Auckland! I'll never share the recipe for this cake as it's top secret and so easy that I'd go out of business if people knew how to make it, but here's my recipe for silky, rich ganache, which is simple to make, but utterly decadent. It will bring every dessert to another level of luxury.
Dark chocolate ganache:
Ganache is easy to make, but also pretty easy to mess up. When it's made properly it's glossy and thick and delicious smothered over a cake, fruit or ice cream. I make it all the time, but it took me a little while to figure out how to get it perfect (the number one rule is very good quality chocolate).
250ml heavy cream
250g 70% very good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just reaches a boil (small bubbles will appear).
2. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate.
3. Stir gently to make sure all of the chocolate is covered by the cream and allow it to sit for a minute.
4. Stir well, until it is smooth and blended. Add the vanilla and mix it in.
5. Pour over your cake immediately and then refrigerate if you want it to set quickly.
Note: you can use a dollop of butter if you want it to be extra glossy.