I’m not really sure whether this is a terrine or a panna cotta, but the name really doesn’t make a huge amount of difference for our purposes. Although according to wikipedia – so it must be true – a panna cotta is an Italian “dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatine and molded.” This both sweetened cream, gelatine, and is molded. Tick, tick and tick.
Anyways, thanks to the yoghurt it’s not as heavy as a pannacotta normally is, and thanks to the vanilla and lime rind, it’s also not as sweet.
Sadly there are no photos as these looked crap on the plate – white on white with just a little interest from the yellow of the passion fruit pulp on top…boring. But then, I’ve never pretended to be a food stylist. It’s how they taste that matters…
This recipe makes 6 small panna cottas. What you can do is double the recipe and pour it into a (cling film lined) larger container (like a loaf tin or a small ice cream container?) and scoop it out instead.
What you need…
300ml cream. I get ours from the markets – it’s local, and it’s good.
¼ cup sugar. If you have a real sweet tooth you can add more, but this amount is, I think, fine.
2 – 3 strips of lime peel. Cut this with a vegetable peeler so you have no pith
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp vanilla essence – or a vanilla bean if you have any in the pantry
2 sheets gelatine – I used titanium strength
300ml greek style yoghurt
1 – 2 tbsp passionfruit juice (no pulp)
Extra passionfruit pulp to serve
What you do with it…
Heat the cream, lime rind, vanilla and sugar in a small pan. Bring it just to a simmer, take out the lime rind, and remove it from heat.
Soften the gelatine sheets in cold water for a few minutes until they’re all squidgy. Squeeze out all the excess water and stir into the hot cream. Whisk in the yoghurt, passionfruit juice and lime juice until it’s smooth.
If you’re using individual molds, line these with cling film. I find this a real palaver in that it leaves little marks on the panna cotta from where the plastic is uneven. You can pour it straight into the cold and hope you can get it out in one piece without resorting to hot water and potentially melting it – I’ll leave that choice with you.
Ok, I need to say at the outset that this really is the name of the recipe. Christmas Crack. My friend made some for her builders and wondered whether she could therefore legitimately call it Builder’s Crack? Hmmm….you’re probably going to need to be an Aussie or a Kiwi to understand that one.
Anyways, this is a relatively easy little recipe that is festive enough for this time of the year. After all, how could you possibly go wrong with caramel, chocolate and salada biscuits? Am I right or am I right?
As for the crack part of the Christmas Crack recipe? Some say it’s the sound as you break the biscuits, others could say that it’s because of the addictive nature of the salty caramel and chocolate combo. I’ll leave that one up to you.
As per usual, the ingredients and quantities are a tad loose. From this recipe we got 2 trays of crack (that really does sound so wrong).
What you need
Salada biscuits – or some other salted cracker e.g. premiums or saltines – enough to line the tray/s
Dark chocolate – we used Whittaker’s because I was in New Zealand and because this is an amazing chocolate…just saying. Anyways, you’ll need 300-340g…or thereabouts.
220g dark brown sugar
225g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maldon salt or other salt flakes
Pohutukawa blossoms to style the finished result are an optional but oh so perfect finishing touch. Just saying. These ones were acquired from an obliging tree in Petone.
What you do with it
Preheat your oven to about 200C
Line a cookie tray with alfoil. Spray it lightly with olive oil or cooking spray.
Line your lined tray (yes, that did come out loud) with your saladas
Make your caramel. For this caramel you need to stir – and keep stirring – but it’s worth it. Pop the sugar, butter and maldon salt – into a saucepan. Re the amount of salt you use, ¼ of teaspoon for a regular caramel, a tad more for salted. Your call. Anyways, cook it over a medium heat, stirring until the butter melts, then stir some more – for another 5 minutes or so – until it boils and darkens in colour. Don’t get too precious about the colour. Add the vanilla extract and stir that in.
Pour the caramel over the biscuits to make a relatively thin, even coat, and pop it into the oven for 5 minutes. the caramel should bubble away happily.
Now you can melt your chocolate. The easiest way is in the microwave in 30sec stages. Cook for 30secs, then stir…and repeat until melted.
As long as the caramel has stopped bubbling, pour over the caramel in a thin layer. As a little extra, sparkle over some extra malden salt, or maybe some coconut or even red and green M&Ms for that festive look.
Allow to cool on the tray and then transfer to the fridge for an overnight rest.
Once it’s cold, take it out of the pan and remove the foil. Now you get to crack the biscuits. Of course, you could make score lines down the natural break marks of the crackers to get a neat square, but where would be the fun in that?
Transfer your Christmas Crack to an appropriately photogenic plate and pop some pohutukawa on top. Then move it around the house until you find the perfect light and background to photograph your ummm crack.
Note: The pohutukawa is the New Zealand Christmas tree – so called because it blooms very dramatically during December. You probably won’t find it anywhere else in the world…but once you’ve seen one you won’t forget it.