The gianduja rice pops add a fizzy centre to these Christmas crackers, but you can leave this step out if you like and just enjoy the silky texture of chocolate mousse enclosed in a crisp chocolate shell instead.
- 75 gm caster sugar
- 15 gm liquid glucose
- 55 ml pouring cream
- 1/3 gelatine leaf (titanium strength), softened in cold water for 5 minutes
- 35 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 kg dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted
- To decorate: gold leaf (optional)
- 30 gm rice puffs (see note)
- 160 gm caster sugar
- 200 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 100 gm gianduja chocolate, finely chopped (see note)
- 30 gm popping lollies, such as Pop Rocks (see note)
- 6 cherries, pitted and halved
- 150 ml pouring cream
- 150 gm egg yolks (about 8)
- 100 gm caster sugar
- 230 gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 100 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 660 ml pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks
- 1Combine 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).
- 2For 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.
- 3Meanwhile, 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).
- 4Line 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.
- 5Cut 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.
- 6Thickly 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.
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