Combining Whipped Cream and Melted Chocolate
I have a couple of recipes where you are required to fold whipped cream into cooled, melted chocolate. I think that if you did this you would risk having the chocolate seize or at least set in the cream. The pictures in the books do not show this, but they could well have been Photoshopped. Has anyone done this successfully?
How would this differ from just making whipped ganache (hot whipping cream poured over chocolate, combined, cooled and whipped)?
The difference is texture. Whipped cream makes essentially a mousse, unwhipped, a ganache. It won't seize, whipping cream has too much fat (a bit of water would seize, but a large amount would just make syrup). Good idea to first fold in a bit of the whipped cream to lighten and loosen the chocolate, then fold in the rest.
Your pictures were not photoshopped. It will not seize; the fat content in the cream prevents that from happening. As sbp stated, think mousse, and follow his/her folding technique for maintaining maximum volume resulting in a light fluffy texture, which is the difference between a basic mousse and ganache, that, and the proportions of chocolate to cream are different.
I add egg yolks and liquor to my chocolate mousse as well, cooked as a custard base first, before folding in the melted chocolate and whipped cream.
I've done this in the past with melted chocolate, but left it hot because it can seize the chocolate (though if it's too hot and you have the cream whipped fully, you can break the whole mix (lose the emulsification). If you underwhip the cream a little and add about 30% to the warm chocolate and whisk vigorously until combined, you can then fold in the rest of the cream. Depending on technique, the cream you fold in can be more whipped.
I have one recipe that requires this very thing and, over the years, I've figured out a way that works. If you just fold the melted chocolate into the cold whipped cream it does partially solidify almost instantly, leaving you with streaks of hardened chocolate throughout the cream. If you continue to fold, in an attempt to get the whole thing well-mixed, you eventually deflate the cream and although it's not awful (how can cream and chocolate be awful?) it isn't the effect you're hoping for.
Instead, melt the chocolate gently with about 1/4 (or so) of the cream (before whipping). Whip the remaining cream and then you can more easily fold the two together because the chocolate will be slightly more liquid. You can also, if you want, add a bit of additional cream (rather than stealing some out of the total amount) to the chocolate in order to achieve the same result. It all takes a bit of finesse - you have to work quickly but gently - but it is possible to do this.
Interesting responses. I went back to one of the recipes - it tells you to melt and cool the chocolate and whip the cream to soft peaks, quickly and vigorously stir some of the cream into the chocolate, then quickly stir the chocolate mixture into the cream. It also states that if you have done it successfully you will have a smooth mixture; if not it will be gritty from some of the chocolate setting in the cool of the cream.
I think I will try Nyleve's method first as it reminds me somewhat of the way RLB uses white chocolate to stabilize whipped cream - her method does work.