Chopped Vegan Challenge: Popcorn, Apricot, and Rosemary Biscuit Cups with Butternut Squash Creme Brulee

On Thursday, Isa Chandra posted a Chopped/Vegan challenge on the Vegan Mofo page. I read it on my lunch break at work and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the afternoon and playing around with what I could do with the ingredients Popcorn, Apricot Preserves, Rosemary, and Butternut Squash for a Brunch. Imaging how the rosemary would fit in was especially difficult due to the fact that I am allergic to this popular herb and am not sure what it tastes like.

The more I thought about it I knew I had seen recipes with rosemary and apricots together as toppings or in salads so I figured it must compliment sweet fairly well. It has been years since I have been to a brunch but I still remember the amazing dessert/pastry spreads they had, which is where I always went first and why I knew I had to go the sweet route. While at work (if my employer only knew how much time I spent at work daydreaming of recipes) I also started thinking about grinding down popcorn into a flour like substance. When I got home and did some searching on the net I realized I was not the first to think of this.

I have to admit that my original plan was to make tarts but I didn’t have tart pans. I read a recipe that wasn’t vegan that used the back of muffin pans but when I attempted to vaganize the recipe it was a fail. Hubby said they tasted good but they fell apart. So I tried a different approach which worked. Hubby has been my taste tester for this and he liked the final version as well, saying they taste like mini creme brulee pies!

This recipe will yield one dozen biscuits

6 cups air popped popcorn
3 cups flour plus some for rolling
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup organic powdered sugar
2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
4 tbsp apricot preserves
1 cup vegan butter (put in freezer for 15 minutes before using) cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water

You will need a large cupcake tin (enough for 12) greased.

Pull out 12 pieces of popcorn. Put the rest into a food processor and turn on for a minute or two. You will have popcorn flour mix with small chunks of popcorn. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix flour, salt, sugar and rosemary. Add in apricot preserves and with the back of a fork cut it into the flour until you have little pea size balls throughout. Add the pieces of butter and incorporate into dough by hand. slowly add ice water and work it into the dough. Add popcorn into the dough, folding it in so there is popcorn throughout dough. Work dough until you can get it into a ball. Throw in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface roll out dough to about 1/8 of an inch. Separate dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each piece into a ball and form into cupcake tin so that you have formed a cup out of the dough. Repeat with the remainder of the dough balls.

Put in oven for 5 minutes. With a fork or toothpick poke holes into bottom of cups. Bake for 10-15 more minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Once you can handle by hand remove them from cupcake pan and set on cooling rack.

Butternut Squash Creme Brulee Directions:
1/3 cup raw cashews soaked for at least 8 hours
3/4 cups water
6 oz butternut squash cooked and cubed
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 cup brown sugar plus approximately 1/4 cup extra for the top
3 oz silken tofu
1 tbsp agar
1 tbsp apricot preserves
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients (except extra brown sugar for the top) in a blender on high until well blended. Pour into a saucepan and cook on low, stirring constantly until all air bubbles are gone, about 15 minutes. Do not let it boil. Pour into biscuits.  Refrigerate until completely cooled ( I chilled overnight.) To serve sprinkle raw sugar over the top (about 1/4 tsp of sugar per cup) and brown the sugar with a blowtorch. Serve.

Decorative Top – Optional
12 pieces popped pop corn
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp apricot preserves
36 rosemary leaves

In a small saucepan over med-low heat melt butter. Stir in sugar and preserves. Continue to stir until sugar is melted. Stop stirring and allow it to begin to boil. Remove from heat and add popcorn. Set popcorn on parchment paper and allow time to cool. Decorate top as you like with popcorn and rosemary leaves.

This entry was posted in An Ode to Vegan Bloggers MOFO 2012, breakfast, dessert. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Chopped Vegan Challenge: Popcorn, Apricot, and Rosemary Biscuit Cups with Butternut Squash Creme Brulee

  1. Colynn says:

    These are so cute! What a good idea with the creme brulee!

  2. Pingback: My Blogging Aspirations | Don't Fear The Vegan

  3. Pingback: 12 Days: Day 3 – Spiced Persimmon Creme Brulee & the Vegg | Don't Fear The Vegan

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