Saturday, 26 March 2011

Brownie points


Perk up your palates U.S. citizens because here is one of your national treasures with a Portuguese twist to it.Full marks to this recipe, talk about rich...these are the epitome of rich. Delectably gooey salty,sweet,and quintessentially chocolate, melt in the mouth,love it.
In my former incarnation as a Blair academy new wave dinner lady (Oliver´s army have it what you will, but I was there first ) I used to feature traditional brownies on the school pudding menu, at least once a month.Brownie recipes are something extremely personal.....What this recipe shouted to me from the highest hill was the Algarvian twist-  Flor de sal.
Whatever you put in your brownies is your business,nuts or no nuts, but at the end of the day unlike a cake where the skewer needs to come out clean with brownies the skewer needs to come out with a goo stuck to it and then you need to let it rest. They will firm up as it cools.Whatever recipe you go for you need to end up with a crust that is thin and lightly crisp and a centre that that is a cross between chocolate cake and  and the texture of a peat bog. The following recipe has gone through a big transition from its original form, but I found the final result pure ecstasy. If you are used to gilding the lily with vanilla ice cream or chocolate fudge sauce or caramel look no further its all inclusive in this particular recipe.

Flor de sal Caramel brownies

Flor de Sal caramel
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 teaspoon Flor de sal
2 tablespoons golden syrup or honey
1 cup sugar
1teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup creme fraiche
In a small saucepan combine the mascarpone and the salt, simmer over a very low heat until the salt is dissolved and then set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and syrup or honey carefully. They will not combine well until the sugar begins to melt.Cook over a high heat until a thermometer reads 350º (6-8 minutes). Without a thermometer just pull the pan off the heat when it is a medium goldish brown. It will continue to cook in the heat of the pan.( Better pull it off early than be sorry). Remove from the heat and let it cool for 1 minute.
Add the cream mixture and vanilla to the sugar mix. Whisk in the creme fraiche. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then follow the brownie instructions. Refrigerate the left over caramel and save it for an ice cream topping or midnight munchie moment.


Brownies
125g (4oz) unsweetened chocolate ( Green and Black´s or Valrhona)
11/2 cups unsalted butter
11/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
11/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of Flor de sal
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup ( I made my own) it´s so easy.
half of the above caramel recipe

Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pan over a low heat till smooth. Remove fro the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
Add the flour, salt, chocolate syrup and chocolate mixture and blend well.
In a greased 8 x 8 cake tin, pour over half of the brownie batter and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour over the caramel.For a more intense Flor de sal kick sprinkle some extra Flor de sal crystals on top of the caramel and then add the other half of the brownie batter. If it does not pour smoothly, just drop it on and swirl it around a bit. Return to the oven and bake for a further 18-20 minutes. The brownies will still seem a little wobbly due to the caramel, but they will firm up once they are cooled. Do not over bake them.

2 comments:

  1. really interesting twist to a classic cake... I must try this, thanks for the recipe x

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  2. This is really different than my normal brownie recipe, and that makes me want to make a batch now!! Love the caramel in this, so rich and decadent!!

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