Never doubt the power of prayer.
“This is the part where you pray,” I told my husband while madly whisking white chocolate and cream together as fast as I could.
“I mean it, pray to God right now! Or these won’t stay together!”
“Dear God, please keep this white chocolate together,” we both chanted, over and over, taking turns whisking as fast as we could once each other’s arms fatigued.
And so we prayed, prayed that the white chocolate wouldn’t separate, prayed that the addition of pumpkin puree wouldn’t break the emulsion and ruin the entire thing. This went on for a good 7 minutes without ceasing.
At first he thought I was joking. But I was using a new brand of white chocolate, and it was very resistant to melting. I’d seen this before, and 99 times out of 100 it meant the kiss of death for ganache, as it usually ends in me crying because white chocolate had separated and refused to hold its emulsion. Once that happens, you might as well just throw the entire thing away. And that is just so depressing to do, that you are completely unmotivated to try again, until another day when you muster up the courage to confront the white chocolate again.
I decided to be brave, and do the unorthodox. Once I saw the chocolate chunks resisting to melt despite the presence of the hot cream, I held the stainless steel mixing bowl over the still hot turned off burner. Just for about 15 seconds or so, after all one doesn’t want to completely invite disaster. Then I’d remove it from the heat again, and about a minute later, tempt it with a slight bit more heat. This is totally breaking the rules. You are never supposed to use heat directly on the chocolate, let alone a finicky chocolate. There is a reason why every ganache recipe will tell you to heat the cream and then pour over the chocolate to melt it away from the heat. But the chocolate was resisting – and drastic situations call for drastic measures.
You see, white chocolate is notorious for being a royal pain. Even some of the best brands of white chocolate have brought me to my knees in despair. And trying to make a ganache with pumpkin? Well that is just tempting fate. There is probably a reason why I couldn’t find a single recipe online for “white chocolate pumpkin ganache”, leaving me to develop my own. There are plenty of recipes for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate behaves predictably. Working with dark chocolate is, shall I dare-say, easy. But white chocolate? Ha. White chocolate laughs in your face, and says “Try me. I dare you. I know I will win and you will lose.”
But I won this time. I battled the white chocolate with shear determination, and prayer, and in the end the ganache held together. It was truly a miracle. A delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, creamy, flavorful little Autumn miracle.
- 1/4 c. + 2 tbs. heavy cream (that’s a total of 3/8 c.)
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 12 oz. white chocolate (I used Whole Foods 365 Brand white chocolate chunks)
- 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 c. confectioner’s sugar
- 12 oz. dark chocolate (I used 60%)
- 1 c. gingersnap cookies (I used GF ones)
- Prep: Pour 12 oz. white chocolate into a medium mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, measure out pumpkin puree and add seasonings. Set aside.
- Add cream to a medium sauce pan, and scrape in vanilla. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until cream just comes to a boil.
- Pour cream over chocolate, and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Then, while still stirring constantly, whisk in your pumpkin & seasonings. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.
- Chill in the fridge overnight.
- Scoop small mounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. Note – they will be quite gooey. Freeze 30 min.
- Rub confectioner’s sugar on your hands and pour the rest into a bowl. Take a mound of ganache off of the parchment paper and drop in the bowl of powdered sugar. Roll it around a bit and then shape into balls and lay them on a baking sheet lined with more parchment paper. Chill in the freezer for at least 15 min.
- Pulse gingersnap cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs.Heat up dark chocolate over a double boiler. If you have a thermometer, then temper the chocolate. If not, you will just have a matte finish on your truffles. Make sure chocolate isn’t too hot or runny or your ganache won’t hold together when you dip it. Make sure chocolate doesn’t cool down too much either. It’s a bit of an art maintaining a somewhat constant temp., but just watch it well and you should be fine. The chocolate should be completely smooth and velvety.
- Take out a few truffles at a time (1/3 to 1/4 of the entire batch), and dip in the chocolate and place on another sheet of parchment paper. To dip, since these were so fragile, I plopped them in the melted chocolate, spooned chocolate over it to cover it, scooped it up with a spoon, transferred it to a fork to let the excess chocolate run off, then transferred it back to the spoon so that I could lay it nicely on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. Refrigerate for a good 3 hours.
- Enjoy and impress your friends!