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Everybody knows that chocolate + water = disaster.


Or is it?


A tiny amount of water will cause melted chocolate to seize. But keep adding water and stirring and the mixture will eventually emulsify, becoming smooth and surprisingly creamy in texture. Water-based ganache has a purity and intensity of flavour, and is particularly good for zingy fruit flavours or chocolate with strong fruity notes like Valrhona Manjari. It also allows more subtle flavours that might be masked by cream, like Earl Grey tea, to shine through.


This Irish Coffee dessert stays close to its origins, using a water-based ganache to recreate the clean flavour of black coffee with a whiskey hit under a blanket of soft cream. A make-ahead pudding that looks gorgeous in little old-fashioned wine or cocktail glasses, it’s intensely rich and perfect for hassle-free entertaining.




Irish Coffee Ganache Pudding

Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 4 hours to set



300g good dark chocolate

300ml fresh black coffee

2tsp espresso powder

50g honey

50ml whiskey (or whisky, if you prefer!)



For the topping:

300ml whipping cream

50g icing sugar

10ml whiskey

Cocoa powder



  • Add the espresso powder and honey to the coffee and allow it to cool to 60C. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate to 40C.
  • Add a quarter of the coffee mixture to the melted chocolate and stir. It may start to seize, but just keep stirring until it forms a smooth paste.
  • Keep adding coffee a little at a time until it’s all incorporated, mixing until smooth each time. The ganache will look very runny at this stage, but don’t worry.
  • Now add the whiskey. Add it gradually and adjust to taste, but bear in mind that the flavour will intensify a little as it cools.
  • To make your dessert even more silky, use a stick blender on a low speed with the head kept under the surface to avoid air bubbles.
  • Pour the ganache carefully into glasses and leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If your ganache is completely smooth you can pour it into glasses and leave them covered in the fridge for a couple of days before topping, but if it isn’t emulsified correctly it will deteriorate more quickly.
  • Lightly whip the cream with the icing sugar and a splash of whiskey until it just holds its shape and spoon into the glasses, smoothing the top. This can be done just before serving or an hour or two in advance.
  • At the last second, sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve.

These little ganaches are delicious just as they are, but you could serve them with delicate, crunchy biscuits.


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