I was working on a new dessert, and wanted to incorporate Szechuan peppercorns into it, without it being overpowering. I thought that white chocolate would be the perfect vehicle for it, especially if I roasted the chocolate first. This worked out far better than I had hoped. It’s super-easy, and I hope that you try it.
Caramelized White Chocolate & Szechuan Peppercorn Ganache
White Chocolate (Cacao Barry Blanc Satin) 500 g
Heavy Cream 475 g
Szechuan Peppercorns 7.5 g
Sea Salt (Maldon) 2 g
If you’re not using chocolate pistols/chips, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Put the chocolate in a 300 F oven and cook for 15 minutes. I used a convection oven with the fan on low.
Stir the chocolate to create uniform browning, and put it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
While the chocolate is roasting, combine the cream and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer, stir, turn off the heat and cover. Steep for 20 minutes.
Strain the warm cream over the caramelized chocolate stirring until the chocolate begins to melt. It’ll be sort of clumpy and look like a big mess at this point. Scrape into a pot and heat on low for about 2 minutes. then turn off the heat. At this point I use a stick blender to really break down the chocolate and get it thoroughly incorporated. Strain it again into the bowl of a stand mixer that has the whip attachment. If you have a tabletop Kitchen Aid, this is perfect for it. Add the sea salt and let it sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool.
Turn on the mixer, slowly at first. Then crank it all the way up to high. I let it rip for a full 10 minutes. When you’re done, the ganache will have increased in volume and have a consistency similar to marshmallow fluff. I find that the peppercorn flavor comes out after it sits for a while, so don’t oversteep or add more peppercorns (unless you really want to). This batch fits perfectly in a quart deli container. It should be cool enough to put right in the fridge.
Mine is going to go with Chess Pie Bars. Try popping it in the microwave for 10 seconds and pouring it on ice cream. I also like to eat it straight out of the container. What would you do with it?
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