75 gmcaster sugar15 gmliquid glucose55 mlpouring cream1/3gelatine leaf (titanium strength), softened in cold water for 5 minutes35 gmunsalted butter, coarsely chopped1 kgdark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), meltedTo decorate:gold leaf (optional)Gianduja rice pops30 gmrice puffs (see note)160 gmcaster sugar200 gmdark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped100 gmgianduja chocolate, finely chopped (see note)30 gmpopping lollies, such as Pop Rocks (see note)6cherries, pitted and halvedChocolate mousse sabayon150 mlpouring cream150 gmegg yolks (about 8)100 gmcaster sugar230 gmdark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), finely chopped100 gmdark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped660 mlpouring cream, whisked to soft peaks
Combine sugar, glucose and 30ml water in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, then bring to the boil and cook until dark caramel (8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, warm cream in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Add to caramel (be careful as mixture will spit), stir to combine. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, stir into caramel, remove from heat, add butter, stir to combine. Stir through ½ tsp sea salt flakes, refrigerate until cooled completely (15-20 minutes).
For gianduja rice pops, preheat oven to 180C. Spread rice puffs on an oven tray and bake until toasted (2-3 minutes). Combine sugar and 40ml water in a small saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, then bring to the boil and cook until dark caramel (8-10 minutes). Stir through rice puffs with an oiled spoon, spread on a lightly oiled tray, then cool completely, finely chop and set aside.Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, stir through gianduja until melted, then stir through pop rocks and rice puff mixture. Half-fill lightly oiled ice cube trays with gianduja rice pops, forming a well in centre, pipe in a little butter caramel (you may have a little left over) and top with a cherry half. Fill with remaining gianduja rice pops, refrigerate until firm (20-30 minutes), then unmould.
Meanwhile, for chocolate mousse sabayon, combine cream, yolks and sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Whisk continuously over low heat until mixture reaches 85C on a sugar thermometer (5-7 minutes). Transfer to an electric mixer and whisk until cooled to room temperature (5-7 minutes). Meanwhile, melt both chocolates in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then cool to 45C on a sugar thermometer. Fold through whipped cream, then fold in cooled yolk mixture, transfer to a piping bag (no nozzle).
Line twelve 5cm-diameter, 10cm-high cylinder moulds (see note) with baking paper and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Half-fill each mould with chocolate mousse sabayon, push a piece of gainduja rice pop vertically into each, pipe in enough chocolate mousse sabayon to fill to tops and freeze until firm (1-1¼ hours), then unmould and freeze until required.
Cut twelve 10cm x 21cm pieces of acetate (see note) and place on a work surface. Working with one piece of acetate at a time, spread a 2mm-thick layer of melted chocolate with a palette knife, set aside stand until starting to set (2-3 minutes), then wrap around a chocolate mousse cylinder, chocolate-side inward. Refrigerate until chocolate is well set (8-10 minutes), remove acetate and refrigerate until required.
Thickly brush insides of 24 silicone patty cases with most of remaining chocolate, freeze until well set, peel away silicone and refrigerate chocolate cases until required. Brush underside of chocolate cases with a little more melted chocolate, attach to each end of chocolate-coated cylinders, decorate with gold leaf, refrigerate until required. Crackers can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Note Rice puffs are available from the cereal section of supermarkets. Gianduja chocolate is available from Simon Johnson, The Essential Ingredient and select delicatessens. Popping lollies are available from The Essential Ingredient but need to be ordered. If cylinder moulds are unavailable, substitute tall drinking glasses of similar dimensions. Oil bases and sides well, line sides with baking paper and follow recipe. To unmould, dip bases of glasses in hot water to loosen. Acetate is available in sheets from art supply stores; you’ll need the thin flexible sheets.
This recipe is from the December 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.