Chocolate peanut popcorn and coconut custard

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Coconut custard and chocolate peanut popcorn combine in this sweet treat from Paul Ainsworth. The popping candy used in the chocolate coating for the popcorn adds a bit of a thrill to this fun dessert. This playful popcorn recipe was part of an array of fairground treats created by Paul on BBC's Great British Menu.

First published in 2015




Coconut custard

  • 100ml of coconut rum
  • 250ml of coconut milk
  • 250ml of double cream
  • 2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped out and reserved
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 90g of caster sugar
  • 1 gelatine leaf, soaked in cold water until soft

Chocolate peanut popcorn


First make the coconut custard. Add the coconut rum to a pan, place on a medium heat and reduce by half. Once reduced, set aside to cool
Add the cream, vanilla pods and seeds and coconut milk to a pan and bring to the boil
Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and sugar until pale and smooth
Measure out 50ml of the hot coconut cream mixture and add to another small pan. Squeeze out the gelatine to remove excess liquid, then add to the coconut cream in the small pan, stirring to dissolve
  • 1 gelatine leaf
Whisk the remaining coconut cream into the egg and sugar mix until smooth. Return this mixture to the pan and place over a low heat, cooking and stirring until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon
Stir the gelatine coconut cream into the custard
Mix in the reduced rum and pass through a sieve into a clean bowl, then set aside to cool
To make the popcorn, place a pan (with a lid) over a medium heat and add a splash of oil. When the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels and replace the lid
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 100g of popcorn kernels
Keep shaking the pan over the heat until there is no more popping. Spread the cooked popcorn out onto a tray, discarding any un-popped kernels
Melt the chocolate, stirring until nice and smooth, then stir in the popping candy and peanuts
Stir the popcorn into the chocolate until nicely coated, then spread out onto a lined tray and place in the fridge for 10 - 15 minutes to set
One set and hard, break the popcorn sheet into bite-size pieces
To assemble the dish, add the custard to a piping bag and pipe into the bottom of serving glasses. Top with the chocolate popcorn and serve

Southampton-born Paul Ainsworth got his break courtesy of Gary Rhodes, whom he worked for three years. After that, he moved to Gordon Ramsay's organisation, working first at his flagship Royal Hospital Road restaurant and then with Marcus Wareing at Petrus.

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