Saturday, 7 January 2012
I have decided to get cracking on my 2012 Food Challenges, given last year I didn’t manage to complete many of them.
So on the very first day of the year, I ticked off my very first food challenge: cooking from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook.
I had recently opened a packet of prunes to wizz up a Prune & Vanilla Smoothie, so I was very happy when I saw this recipe and realised I could finish the pack AND devour some luscious, alcohol-laden baked goods.
To avoid eating the entire slab of brownies all on my own, I took the fresh treats to friends who were visiting from Switzerland.
This presented its own unique challenge because the Swiss are renown chocolate connoisseurs. To make them feel right at home, I used Switzerland's very own Lindt brand to ensure the brownies were incredibly decadent.
Voila! Perfect, fudgy, prune-studded brownies.
I was almost sad to leave them behind at the end of the day, but my tummy tyres were proud of me.
Chocolate Prune Brownies
Recipe from Bourke Street Bakery cook book. Makes 32.
300g pitted prunes, halved
200ml brandy, cognac or hot black tea
55g plain flour
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
300g good-quality dark chocolate (55% cocoa)
80g unsalted butter
300g caster (superfine) sugar
100g sour cream
145g dark chocolate melts (buttons) (55% cocoa)
1. Place the prunes in a bowl and pour over the brandy, cognac or tea. Cover and set aside to soak for 3 days.
2. Preheat the oven to 170’C (325F/Gas 3). Grease a 20 x 30 x 4cm rectangular cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
3. Put the chocolate, butter and sugar into a stainless steel bowl and sit over a saucepan of simmering water - making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir for 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has melted. Allow to cool.
4. Sift the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl.
5. Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Add the flour mixture, mix to combine, then add the sour cream, chocolate melts and prunes with the remaining soaking liquid and mix until just combined.
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until just set. Place your hand on top of the brownie in the centre and wobble to feel if it is set.
8. Allow to cool completely before turning out of the tin. Use a hot knife to cut into squares.
Note: The brownies can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for up to 4 days at room temperature.