I have been fortunate in my career to work with some amazing people. Catherine Adams is one of them. She heads up the pastry team for all of Neil Perry's restaurants.
Here is one of her recipes. Perfect for those big kids out there.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
40 g popping corn
25 g sesame seeds
60 g caster sugar
50 g butter, coarsely chopped
30 g honey
400 ml pouring cream
Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean
180 gm caster sugar
6 egg yolks
50 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
45 g vegetable shortening, finely chopped
For candied popcorn, preheat oven to 180C.
Heat a large saucepan over high heat, add oil, then corn, quickly cover with a lid and shake pan occasionally until all corn has popped (2-4 minutes).
Transfer popcorn to a tray and cool to room temperature (10-15 minutes), discard unpopped kernels. Roast sesame seeds on a baking tray until light golden (5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally to evenly toast, then add to popcorn. Combine sugar, butter and honey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and boil until caramel (3-5 minutes).
Add popcorn and sesame seeds, stir to coat, then divide between two lightly oiled 20cm x 12cm cake tins. Stand until cool (20-30 minutes), then remove from tins.
For caramel parfait, combine 75ml cream and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan over low heat, stir occasionally until warm.
Whisk yolks in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and doubled in volume.
Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over high heat until hot, add sugar (it should start to melt then colour) and swirl pan occasionally until sugar is dissolved and dark amber in colour (3-5 minutes). Do not leave unattended as sugar can burn very quickly.
Gradually add warm cream (be careful as hot caramel may spit), stirring to combine. Decrease mixer speed to medium-low and slowly pour in hot caramel down side of bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and whisk until cool (6-8 minutes).
Whisk remaining cream in a bowl to stiff peaks, then fold into yolk mixture in three batches.
Pour into a 20cm x 12cm cake tin lined with baking paper. Place one sheet of candied popcorn on top. Freeze until firm (3-5 hours), then turn out and press on the remaining sheet of candied popcorn. Return to freezer and freeze until very firm (3-5 hours), then cut into six 3.5cm-wide sandwiches and freeze until required.
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (4-5 minutes), add Copha, stir until melted (1-2 minutes) and keep warm. Dip one end of each parfait sandwich in the chocolate and freeze until ready to serve.
Extra Chocolate Sauce