Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend...

“Ingratitude is treason to mankind.” James Thomson

Friday 19 March 2010

Recipe Wednesdays. On Friday. Still alliteration-free.

Damn, my second Recipe Wednesdays, dashed by my National Gallery induced trauma.

How about this amazing brownie? The directions sound much more involved than they are. In short, make the puree, melt the chocolate and butter, throw it all together. And this is a super-robust item, folks - just keep the correct proportions of wet and dry ingredients. I've already cut the sugar from the original recipe by 50g, but if you wanted to trim a little more (probably no more than 25g though) just sub an equal amount of flour or ground almonds instead. You can use prunes instead of figs, or sub spelt flour for wheat. I actually used leftover homemade cranberry sauce instead of figs after I wildly overestimated our Thanksgiving requirements, and they were very popular indeed.

The original recipe is apparently something to do with Linda McCartney, but what you really should take away from that link is that Green & Black's is indeed the only chocolate to cook with and you should definitely use it to make these brownies if it is humanly possible and also, I've said it before and Linda would agree with me, please use free-range eggs. So thanks Linda, but I found your brownies toe-curlingly sweet, so I've made adjustments. The last time I made these I felt compelled to eat pretty much the whole tray, so I renamed them.

These Brownies Made My Clothes Too Small Brownies

175 g pureed dried figs
125 g butter
300 g good quality chocolate (70%/85%, I always use Green and Black's)
400 g sugar
5 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
200 g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt (optional)
150 g roasted nuts (optional, but I like hazelnuts and almonds)

To make fig puree, cover about 125-150g of dried figs with boiling water (figs+water to equal 175g). Keep warm (you can microwave on low for 5 minutes or so or put in a small pan over low heat). Soak until soft (about 10 minutes) and puree in food processor or with stick blender. The puree should have a texture similar to thick batter or soft butter. If it's too thick, add a little water or if it's too thin, add more softened figs. (If you find you've made a bit more than the 175g you need for the brownies, you can use it to top toast or porridge or substitute for butter in biscuit or flapjack recipes.).

Melt butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, or put it in the microwave on low for about two minutes (check, stir and repeat until melted).
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick and creamy, then add 175g of the fig puree and then the chocolate/butter mixture.
Sift together flour and baking powder (add a pinch of salt if desired) into the bowl and combine.
If adding nuts, roast under grill or in a hot pan, chop and add.
Pour into baking pan or loaf tins. I use silicone, which doesn't need preparation, but a metal tin should be greased and either floured or lined with baking paper.
Bake at 180°C/350 F/gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes or until the brownie begins to crack and does not wobble when shaken. This may take slightly less or slightly more time depending on how hot your oven is and how you like your brownies (ie longer baking time makes a cakier, less fudgy brownie). Cool and cut into squares. Take skin off tongue by eating most of them.

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