From Couch Potato To Decadent Dessert - Peanut Sticky Rice Dumplings with Chocolate Shortbread and Salted Caramel Sauce
Does reality television kill off brain cells like a game of Space Invaders so that you stare slack-jawed at the accomplishment of others while sitting glued to the couch, shovelling down fast food? Or does it inspire you to leap forth, conquering new frontiers you would never have imagined? The truth is probably somewhere in between, but that would never make the news...
For the dumpling filling
1. Grind the peanuts until they are reduced to very small pieces (just a little finer than the consistency coarse breadcrumbs or sea salt flakes). I used a food processor to do this (a stick blender attachment would be more efficient with this small quantity, but, alas, mine has recently died).
2. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan, and then stir in the crushed peanuts. Stir to combine thoroughly, and continue cooking for a minute or two. Set the resulting crunchy peanut paste aside to cool.
3. Divide the dough into 15-16 even pieces (they will weigh around 30 g each, if you're being fussy and want them all the same size), and roll each piece into a ball.
4. Gently flatten each dumpling a little, and press an indentation into it to contain the filling. Scoop a small amount of peanut filling into the centre of each dumpling (I found a measuring teaspoon was the ideal shape and size for this).
5. Fold the edges of the dumpling over the filling and press them together to seal the join. Roll the dumpling lightly between the palms of your hands to achieve a uniform shape and remove the sign of the join.
: When folding and sealing the dumplings, it is preferable for the filling to remain centred inside them, rather than off to one side. Next time I make these, I will roll the dumplings a little thinner and squeeze in more filling for a better squish-to-crunch ratio.
6. The dumplings can now be set aside until you're ready to start assembling the dessert.
7. To cook the dumplings, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Carefully add the dumplings (I lowered each one into the water using a quarter cup measure) and use a metal spoon to separate any that cluster together (I cooked the dumplings in two batches to avoid overcrowding). The dumplings are cooked when they float to the surface of the water (this took about 5 minutes).
8. Remove the dumplings from the boiling water (I used the cup measure again) and drain on a plate. I was very wary of using a sieve or kitchen paper to drain the dumplings, in case they stuck.
(adapted, just a little, from Ready for Dessert, by David Lebovitz)
1. Place the butter and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan (it's important to use a big saucepan, as the sauce will bubble up when the cream is added) and cook over a medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally.
2. Continue cooking until the melted butter and sugar caramelise to a deep, rich golden colour. For quite a lot of the cooking process, the melted butter didn't emulsify with the sugar and floated as a separate layer on top. This will be resolved as it continues to cook and thicken, and a bit of a stir with a silicone spatula also helps.
3. Once you've boiled the caramel until it is as dark as you'd like, making sure you don't let it burn, remove it from the heat and, standing well back as it bubbles, add the cream and whisk like mad. Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth.
4. Add salt to taste (I used just under a teaspoonful).
5. Sieve the sauce into a container - it will keep for over a week in the fridge, and the recipe makes more than you will need for the dessert (though it is utterly delectable, so having some on hand for top ups might also be an option!).
To assemble the dessert
3. Balance a dumpling on the shortbread, and sprinkle lightly with some of the leftover peanut filling.
The Other Penguin, not typically a dumpling fan, polished it off, pronouncing the caramel sauce his favourite part. This is definitely a recipe I will return to – it would be ideal for dinner parties, as the components can be made in advance, and the dumplings cooked in a few minutes before serving.