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whole foods


I love science. It is the closest thing to being a magician. Who doesn't want to be a magician?

Pumpkin Popcorn Pies

Deep inside I am wide eyed child. Or a nerd. However, you like it.

The gist is I am a wanna-be magician. That is why I cook and bake.

Sometimes, I do a bit of experimenting in the kitchen. Ok, I do a fair bit. My cooking is intuitive with a big dash of ah-let's-see-what-happens-here attitude. I don't know where I get that from. Certainly, not my overall outlook, although I try! ;-)

Whenever the smallest opportunity, to play, presents itself, I pounce on it. I get a gleam in my eye and am filled with glee. When that happens, I am in a far-away land in my head, wearing a white lab coat and playing with beakers and test tubes and mixing concoctions in a large pot and watching it bubble with satisfaction. Now, that sounds like a witch. But I am not. Even if I am, I am like Dorothy, I swear!

Alchemy with Popcorn and Cream Wafers

I don't fly around on a broomstick as much as I to like travel and neither am I green or purple. Matter of fact, I am brown but that is really irrelevant. So. Not a witch. Besides I don't like pointy hats. I like those chic ones they wore around the 70s. Groovy!

Anyway, sometimes, I manage to create magic. Those times, when something I mix, stir, shake and bake comes out perfectly tasty. Really, it makes me feel all puffed up and happy like a custard baking in the oven. You know that poofy top of tart filling just as you take it out of the oven? Only I don't collapse after, unless I have consumed oodles of sugar. Then I just fall asleep and that is neither here nor there.

There is in me an inane desire to play alchemy, to convert one to another. Maybe, it comes from a dislike for eating the same meal more than twice. Really, even if it is simply the best dish on Earth, my palate turns its nose up unbidden after two tries. That's it. Erase. Scratch. Reform.

Pie - Fruit of experiments

If there is food that I don't necessarily like or think can be put to better service, I will modify it, sometimes in simple ways and sometimes elaborately. Like, I made a whole Mughlai dish to finish leftover mashed potatoes. It was awesome but did involve a couple of hours of casting spells.

Recently Whole Foods sent me Holiday package of 365 products. There was a bag of chocolate coated popcorn, pumpkin cream biscuits and sea salt in it. The popcorn I really liked. Cream biscuits not so much.

Even as a child, when most kids went crazy over cream biscuits and oreo cookies, I much preferred the plainer tea biscuits. I always found the cream filled ones too sweet.

So, of course I set about planning an alchemy. Those three ingredients were to be used. And, I decided to play with pies.

I separated the 'cheese cake' cream filing and the biscuits. The biscuits were processed fine with a bit of vegetable oil for the crust. The cream itself was whipped with an egg and some sour cream to make the tart filling. I could have left it at this but the filling was still way too sweet. So I mixed in a bit of bittersweet cocoa to balance it. Then to add more depth of flavor and texture, I folded in some pulverised popcorn. Topped with sea salt, off it went into the oven.

Pumpkin Popcorn Chocolate Pies

I am going to be modest and say, it was a success! The crust is crumbly, no surprise there, it was just another take on the graham cracker crust. The filling is what I am really proud of. It turned out to be the perfect fudgy chocolate creation I have ever tasted. Moist, smooth, not too sweet and with a touch of salt to satisfy any 'dark' cravings! Unfortunately, there was no pumpkin flavor in the tart as it was only the crust that had it and it was not intense enough to survive the alchemy. I would recommend substituting some of the sour cream for pumpkin puree to bring back the flavor.

Disclosure: I received the popcorn, biscuits and sea salt as free samples from Whole Foods but had no obligation to use them. I received no further remuneration to write this post. This post is from my own desire to have fun with food and avoid wastage

Pumpkin Popcorn Pie

Makes one 8 inch pie

{You can make this from any package of vanilla flavored cream biscuits. If not using store bought cream biscuits, use digestives or graham crackers for the crust. For the filling, add about 1/4 cup cream cheese instead of the cream filling}


1 packet of cream biscuits, wafer and cream separated

1-1/2 T vegetable oil

3 T sour cream

5 T pumpkin puree

2 eggs

3 T cocoa powder

good handful of popcorn, pulsed

pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

To make the crust, process the biscuit to a fine crumble. Stream in the oil and pulse to form a crumbly mixture. Press the mixture to the base of a pie pan.

To make the filling, pulse together the cream from the biscuits, eggs, sour cream and pumpkin puree to a smooth mixture. Fold in the cocoa powder and popcorn.

Pour the custard filling into the pie shell. Top with a sprinkling of sea salt.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the center is set and starting to crack. Cool on rack. When cool, gently pry the pie out of mold.

This pie is best served cold or at room temperature.


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