Liquorice is one of the signature tastes of Italy. As this is an ingredient that divides people viscerally, I've made it just for 2, or possibly 1 very greedy liquorice eater...
I use the tiny liquorice pellets that come, usually, from Calabria and are seen everywhere in Italy. Outside of Italy, you can find them in Italian delis and via the internet: for those who share my love for this almost vicious aniseed flavour, there is a whole world online for you.
I have expressed my passion for salted caramel elsewhere, but here I must declare my deep, almost deviant, love for salted liquorice. I don't want the two wholly mixed in here, but prefer to have some soft, sea salt flakes (the French fleur de sel is my choice here) to sprinkle on as I eat. I get a frisson just thinking of it.
- 60 millilitres water
- 1 teaspoon pure italian liquorice pellets (such as Amarelli Rossano) Click Here To Buy
- 2 tablespoons light brown muscovado sugar
- 175 millilitres double cream
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 tablespoon milk
- soft sea salt flakes (to serve)
- Put the water and liquorice pellets in your smallest pan and bring to the boil, stirring or whisking frequently to help the liquorice melt. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes, stirring or whisking every now and again.
- Turn the heat back on and whisk in the sugar, then the cream, and bring to a bubble. Remove from the heat.
- Spoon the cornflour into a little bowl, cup or ramekin and slake it with the milk: which is to say, whisk in the milk until you have a smooth paste.
- Pour this, whisking as you go, into the mixture in the saucepan. Still whisking, put the pan back on the heat and bring back to a bubble, whisking all the while, for 20-30 seconds, or until thickened.
- Divide between 2 heatproof glasses or cups and - unless you want to eat this hot - cover, touching the surface of the puddings, with clingfilm or baking parchment that you've wet with cold water then wrung out (this is to prevent a skin forming, a thing I cannot tolerate), and put them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Let the puddings come to room temperature before serving, and remove the clingfilm or baking parchment and smooth the tops with the back of a teaspoon. Put the soft sea salt on the table to sprinkle over as you eat, if wished. For those of us who love liquorice, this pudding is a sheer, spine-tingling joy.