Popcorn and Hard Cider

While I really like pizza and hard cider, there is another pairing I thoroughly enjoy. That is popcorn and hard cider. One of the reasons I really enjoy pairing these together is because of the diversity you can achieve with both products. Popcorn can be made savory or sweet. You can veer it towards salty or acidic. You can also add heat and spices. These are very similar to hard cider, especially adjunct hard ciders. Another reason I like popcorn and cider is that I got a new popcorn pan. I retired our chicken fryer and upgrade to a Zippy Pop popcorn pan. The aluminum heats and cools quickly and the rotary mechanism makes adding flavors so simple, I wonder how I did it before. The last reason I enjoy popcorn and hard cider, just because it taste so good.

In my previous post on popcorn and hard cider, I shared the nostalgic element of popcorn for me and included my basic buttered popcorn recipes. However, the popcorn we made when I was young was pretty tame compared to the popcorn I make now. Since I foresee a future series of posts, I thought I would give you a sweet and a savory option so you can pick the one that sounds best. Or, you can be like me and simple make them both. The pan is already dirty! For the sweet option, we will do Halloween Corn paired with my Great Pumpkin cider. For the savory recipe, I paired Buttered Herb with my Bitter Red cider. Here’s a sneak peek at what you should expect.

As a quick note, I used to make my popcorn in a regular cooking pan. In the US, we call it a chicken fryer. It has a wide bottom, medium height walls, and lid. I recently purchased a Zippy Pop popcorn pan. It was a great investment. The clean up of the stove and pan is so much easier, the popcorn cooks quicker and more evenly, and it has a mixing device and lid port for adding ingredients. My popcorn making became much simpler and more efficient.

Zippy Pop Popcorn Pan
Zippy Pop Popcorn Pan

Halloween Corn

Servings: 8-10 Cups

A Bowl of Pumpkin Corn
A Bowl of Pumpkin Corn

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup organic popcorn (normal ratio is about 1:30 of unpopped to popped)
  • 3 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic pepper oil (I make my own by heating fresh sliced jalapeños in olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup organic peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon organic pumpkin pie spice seasoning (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic chipotle powder
  • 1/3 cup organic candy corn

Steps:

  1. Place oil in stovetop popcorn maker or high-walled pan with handle and lid with 10 cups of volume.
  2. Add 3 popcorn kernels to pan and place on medium-high heat with lid attached.
  3. Once all three kernels pop, add all the popcorn to the pan and cover again.
  4. This is where a pan with a handle is key or the Zippy Pop. You want to keep agitating or stir the pan while the corn pops. You also may need to watch the lid. Your lid might be lifted up if your pan volume is too small.
  5. Once the popcorn starts popping, add the sugar. You will notice the popping slow until the oil heats back up. Keep agitating or stirring.
  6. After the popcorn start popping again and the pan is about 1/2 full, add the peanuts. You may need to wait until the end if you don’t have a port in your lid, like the Zippy pop.
  7. Once popcorn stops popping, add the salt, spices, and candy corn. Stir or mix until the spices are well mixed. Take care if you are doing this by hand as the sugar on the popcorn will be extremely hot and can burn. Dump half in a bowl along with 1/2 the mixing ingredients and toss. Then add remaining and toss again. Let it cool before serving.

Great Pumpkin Cider

If you are having Halloween Corn with pumpkin pie spices, you have to have a pumpkin cider. This is a great time to pull out some Great Pumpkin cider that you fermented last year or during the summer. The spices will meld and the heat and the sweet of the popcorn will go well with the slight acidity of the hard cider. It will be a great pairing to sit down on the couch and watch a movie on a cool fall night.

Great Pumpkin Hard Cider
Great Pumpkin Hard Cider

Buttered Herb

Servings: 8-10 Cups

A Bowl of Buttered Herb
A Bowl of Buttered Herb

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup organic popcorn (normal ratio is about 1:30 of unpopped to popped)
  • 5 tablespoons organic ghee
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Steps:

  1. Place ghee in stovetop popcorn maker or high-walled pan with handle and lid with 10 cups of volume.
  2. Add 3 popcorn kernels to pan and place on medium-high heat with lid attached.
  3. Agitate pan to melt and heat the ghee and coat the kernels.
  4. Once all three kernels pop, add all the popcorn to the pan and cover again.
  5. This is where a pan with a handle is key or the Zippy Pop. You want to keep agitating or stir the pan while the corn pops. You also may need to watch the lid. Your lid might be lifted up if your pan volume is too small.
  6. Once popcorn stops popping, remove from heat and mix in herbs and salt. Serve in bowls.

Bitter Red Cider

Bitter Red cider pairs well with Buttered Herb popcorn because you are leveraging the aromas and fat from herbs and butter and balancing them against the acid and astringent nature of the orange and cranberry in the hard cider. You have a palate cleansing drink that brings its own flavors to the party. Where Halloween Corn is all about sweet, heat, and fall. Buttered Herb and Bitter Red are all about unctuous fats, fresh acids, and lingering bitters. It’s like the yin and yang of popcorn and hard cider, which means it’s perfect.

Bitter Red Hard Cider By Prickly Apple Cider
Bitter Red Hard Cider By Prickly Apple Cider

Did you enjoy this article? Follow me so you can get more hard cider recipes and tips as well as ideas for experiencing hard cider.


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