Brownie Pie with Popcorn Crust and Popcorn Crunch

I talked about this pie when I made it in the form of the Grasshopper Pie, but it was such a good pie (like, the best pie of my life) that I had to make more variations on it.

And because Momofuku Milk Bar is my greatest baking inspiration, I decided to flip through more of their book. I thought of doing different crunches or crumbs on top, but then I thought: popcorn. I've seen recipes using it in baking, but never done anything with it myself. But having the creamy-gooey-chocolate-y goodness of the brownie pie being offset by the crunchy saltiness of popcorn sounded literally perfect. And it was.

Popcorn is probably my favorite traditional snack food. Like, you know the classics: chips, pretzels, popcorn... I'm normally a pretty healthy snacker (more healthy food during the day lets you eat more dessert at night, it's a direct correlation), but popcorn is both delicious and not unhealthy. Great for movies. Great for snacking. Great for life.

And we've tried plenty of different things as substitutes for cornflakes in Momofuku's cornflake crunch, why should I think popcorn is any different? It wasn't. The sugar in the crunch made it kind of like kettle corn, but it still kept some salt from the added salt and was perfect. The only things I have to stress: make sure you crush the popcorn small enough for the crunch, but don't grind it, and if you need to add more butter and dry ingredients to make clumps, do so. Some of my crunch wasn't as clumpy as other parts, I should have added more. But the parts with clumps were amazing. So: more clumps!

The opposite is the case with the crust: if it's too moist, add more popcorn so it doesn't get to be too gloopy of a crust. Try to make it like a classic graham cracker crust, with slightly bigger popcorn crumbs.

Keeping that advice in mind, go forth and make this pie. It's actually super quick to make, but tastes like it took you five hours slaving away in the kitchen. So make it for friends and family to awe them, or make it just for yourself to devour on your next movie night. Or make it for you family and friends for your next movie night. Just go make it.

What's your favorite snack food?


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Brownie Popcorn Pie

Popcorn Crust

•    3 cups unsalted popcorn
•    1/4 cup sugar
•    1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
•    4 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
To make the popcorn crust, place popcorn in bowl of food processor a cup at a time and process until finely ground. In a medium bowl, mix ground popcorn, 1/4 cup sugar, sea salt and butter until combined.
Divide mixture into thirds and then press mixture firmly onto bottom of a 10-inch pie tin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely. Prepare brownie pie to fill it with.

Brownie Pie

makes 1 (10-inch) pie; serves 8 to 10
4 ½ ounces chocolate
6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream

Chocolate chips, melted, for decorating

Popcorn Crunch (recipe below)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
3. Combine the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt them together on low for 30 to 50 seconds. Use a heatproof spatula to stir them together, working until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
4. Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip together on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow and has reached the ribbon state. (Detach your whisk, dunk it into the whipped eggs, and wave it back and forth like a pendulum: the mixture should form a thickened, silky ribbon that falls and then disappears into the batter.) If the mixture does not form ribbons, continue whipping on high as needed.
5. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment. Dump the chocolate mixture into the eggs and briefly mix together on low, then increase the speed to medium and paddle the mixture for 1 minute, or until it is brown and completely homogenous. If there are any dark streaks of chocolate, paddle for a few seconds longer, or as needed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and paddle on low speed for 45 to 60 seconds. There should be no clumps of dry ingredients. If there are any lumps, mix for an additional 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
7. Stream in the heavy cream on low speed, mixing for 30 to 45 seconds, just until the batter has loosened up a little and the white streaks of cream are fully mixed in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
8. With a spatula, scrape the brownie batter into the popcorn crust shell. Bake for 25 minutes. The pie should puff slightly on the sides and develop a sugary crust on top. If the brownie pie is still liquid in the center and has not formed a crust, bake it for an additional 5 minutes or so.
9. Cool the pie on a rack. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pie to the fridge or freezer directly out of the oven if you’re in a hurry.)

10. When it's cool, drizzle with melted chocolate and decorate with popcorn crunch (recipe below). Wrapped in plastic, the pie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Popcorn Crunch

3 cups popcorn

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk powder

4 tablespoons butter

 Heat the oven to 275°F.
2. Pour the popcorn in a medium bowl and crush with your hands to one-quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the popcorn.
3. Spread the popcorn on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.
4. Cool the popcorn crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month.

Popcorn Crust from Chew Town; Brownie Pie and Popcorn Crunch Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar