I recently ran a poll on my Twit-stream in connection with #NationalPopcornDay asking for votes for which recipe people would like to see from a selection of three. Each of the recipes used popcorn in an alternative way. Not that there’s anything wrong with just munching on a bag in front of a good movie! But you know me and how I like to mix it up a bit!
Think of this, if you will, as a “deconstructed” cheesecake. Literally flipping everything your familiar with about cheesecake on it’s head. “Salty taste in a cheesecake?”, you say, “That’s a bit unusual”. “The crumb layer is ON TOP!?!…well that’s just crazy!” Welcome to my world.
Sweet ‘n’ Salty Upside Down Cheesecake
200g Feta Cheesecake
300g Cream Cheese
130ml whipped cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
210g of sugar
120ml double cream
14g Sweet and Salty popcorn, crushed
90g digestive biscuit crumb
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
To make the cheesecake:
In a stand mixer bowl, beat the feta cheese until smooth.
Add in the cream cheese, half of the whipped cream and the salt, and mix until combined.
Add in the remainder of the whipped cream and mix again until fully combined.
To make the caramel sauce:
In a large saucepan, heat the sugar over a moderate heat. Continue to heat until the sugar turns a deep amber color. DO NOT STIR! If needed you can swirl the pan.
When the deep amber color has been reached add in the butter and stir until melted.
Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Take extra care here as adding the cream will cause the mixture to foam up and steam. Continue to whisk until the foaming subsides and the sauce is smooth.
Leave to cool fully before proceeding.
To make the crumb topping:
Over a medium heat melt the unsalted butter in a frying pan.
Add in the biscuit crumb and crushed popcorn. Toss to coat in the melted butter.
Mix in the brown sugar and stir to evenly coat.
Continue to stir until the crumb mixture gently browns and caramelises.
Remove the crumb mixture from the pan and allow to cool on a plate or bowl until needed.
In an oblong pie dish, spoon the cheesecake mixture and smooth.
Pour over the caramel sauce and spread to smooth.
Liberally sprinkle over the crumb mixture and lightly press down.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
This started life as yet another “Popcorn” recipe which was consigned to the “Not Right Now” folder on my desktop. With the weather taking a turn for the better I’ve decided to dust it off and let it see the light of day. The flatbreads are really easy and they’re fantastic for picnic or BBQ weather. The popcorn feature ingredient can easily be omitted and the breads will be just as good- maybe not as much of a talking point though?
I love these with smeared with fresh, homemade hummus and sprinkled with some pomegranate seeds. They’re also ideal halved and stacked with slivers of BBQ’d meat, fresh juicy tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil. A definite taste for the summer!
500g strong, white bread flour
10g fast (easy) yeast
375ml warm water
40ml olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
100g chopped hazelnuts
50g sesame seeds
50g coriander seed
10g cumin seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
50g nigella seeds
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
14g Lemon & Fennel popcorn, crushed
Place the flour in a bowl, add the yeast to one side, and the salt to the other.
Create a well in the middle and add 275ml water, the olive oil and the honey and mix with your fingers until combined. Continue to add the rest of the water a little at a time until all the flour in the bowl has been incorporated. You may not need all the water- you want a dough that is well combined and soft, but not sticky or soggy. By the end your dough should be smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil a clean bowl and transfer the dough. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Whilst the dough is rising, prepare the dukkah.
In a pan add the chopped hazelnuts; sesame seeds; coriander seeds; cumin seed; nigella seeds; and paprika. Toast over a medium heat until fragrant.
Add the salt and pepper and grind until rough.
Add in the crushed popcorn and mix to combine.
Drizzle in enough olive oil to create a rough paste.
Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knock back to remove the air (knead for about 5 minutes).
Cut the dough into 4 (roughly) equal pieces, and flatten with your fingers in a rough circle shape. With a lightly oiled rolling pin, roll into a larger circular shape, approximately 10-12cms diameter.
Transfer to 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment (2 dough discs on each).
Smear each of the dough circles liberally with the dukkah paste, covering the entire surface. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Whilst the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 225 degrees.
When the dough is rested, place the baking sheets in the oven- one on top third of oven, one in lower third of oven. After 6 mins, swap the positions of the trays, also turning them 180 degrees (front to back). Continue to bake for another 6 mins.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on their baking trays for a further 5 minutes. After this time transfer from the baking trays to wire racks.
As you well know by now there’s nothing I like better than an ingredient challenge. Shaking up things is so much a part of what I do here at Mr. Mom’s- as well as flying the flag for bakers of the hirsute persuasion. This recipe was conceived as part of a bundle of bakes using a certain brand of popcorn. I crafted a number of recipes using each flaour of popcorn as a key ingredient- from sweet to savory, starter to dessert. Sadly the manufacturing company showed no interest in them and they were consigned to a dusty folder on my desktop. Until now…
One such popcorn flavour was Sour Cream and Chive. For me this is a flavour that is synonymous with parties for me. The classic retro dip always means “Abigail’s Party”-esque good time gatherings (albeit sans the penchant for Demis Roussos). I wanted to create something savoury but not heavy and filling. These light, little morsels make perfect party drinks nibbles, combining the savoury flavour of classic gougère with a tangy sprinkling of sour cream and chive popcorn. The finish of these bites is a nod to another choux treat the sweet chouquette. But here, savory popcorn crumbs are used instead of pearl sugar.
60g plain flour
3 medium eggs
40g strong cheddar, grated
40g parmesan, grated
Pinch white pepper
10g Sour Cream & Chive popcorn, crushed
Preheat your oven to 170°C, and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
In a bowl combine the two cheeses and mix well. Set aside until needed later.
In a medium saucepan add the water and butter and bring up to simmer melting the butter.
Turn off the heat and add the flour and mix well, make sure the roux is dry and all the water cooked off.
Beat 2 of the eggs together. Add ¼ of the beaten eggs and beat well to incorporate. Repeat steps until all the beaten eggs have been added.
Now add the ½ the cheese, mix well, add remainder of cheese and mix well again, season with salt and pepper. The dough should now come together in a single, soft lump in the pan.
Put into a piping bag, fitted with a plain nozzle, and pipe out the size of a small walnut onto baking paper leaving space between each one. If you have little peaks dab them down with a wet finger.
Beat the remaining egg to make a simple egg wash and gently brush each blob of pasty.
Sprinkle over the crushed popcorn, gently pushing in to the pastry.
Put into a preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes approx. until golden brown. If needed rotate the tray half way through cooking.
Remove from the oven and serve.
*For ideal serving, once cooled return to a warm oven for about 5 minutes to warm up.