Brownies and weekends away

I made brownies yesterday in preparation for going away tonight. I’m doubling the recipe and leaving half with the fam and taking half away. The Boy and I are spending a few days in Orange. I’ve got cousins to visit, fresh produce to check out and cafes to explore. There is also a sausage dog pup that I want to steal from said cousins. The Boy doesn’t really have a choice in what we do, luckily he’s fairly compliant when it comes to these things! He’ll busy himself being a country boy for the weekend. He spent the first 20 years of his life in England, but something about leaving Sydney and heading for dirt roads unleashes his inner country boy. When we visit my cousins’ farm he wears plaid and an akubra and busies himself with fencing, quad-biking and burning things.

I read, bake and attempt to coax the farm dogs into leaving the country and returning to the city with me. I’m never successful. Sometimes I feel as though The Boy also needs coaxing back home.

I made this brownie recipe because it just screams homeliness and I think it suits the farm vibe perfectly. It’s cosy and simple. And just delightful.

Just as the farm is escapism from Sydney life, this brownie is escapism from the real world. Put away your diets for a minute, lay down the celery and indulge in a square of escapism.

textureChocolate brownie

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cups (185g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
unhealthy
Hello deliciousness!

Preheat your oven to 160°C and line a 20cm baking tin. Roughly chop your chocolate and butter and place them in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth and glossy. Put this to one side to cool slightly.

eggsCombine the sugar, cocoa, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add in the eggs and mix as thoroughly as you can, it will be hard to mix because the mixture is so dry. Add the chocolate mixture and combine. Pour the mixture into your baking tin.

uncookedBake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. For me, a perfect brownie should be squidgy in the centre, so I don’t want a completely clean skewer. If the skewer pulls out a whole chunk of mixture, pop it back into the oven, but if there is just a little bit of chocolate on the skewer, I’d say it’s done.

Allow the brownie to cool slightly in the tin before slicing. It will sink. It just will. There is nothing wrong with that – the sides and top will have puffed up more than the rest of the mixture and the centre will be deliciously moist. It’s dense, chocolatey and decadent.

wholeSprinkle with icing sugar and whip up some cream to serve.

Serve warm or cold. Makes 16 decent slices.

tongue out
Norman got some cream because chocolate isn’t good for dogs!

ABC Pudding and breakfast

Pudding for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do! This delightful little pudding has the makings of a great dessert (rich egg custard and brioche), but also the potential to be great breakfast fare (brioche and apple). I’m having it as a rather indulgent brekkie this morning and I can highly recommend it. I baked it last night and left the flavours to infuse further in the fridge overnight. It is just as delicious and impressive when it was fresh out of the oven.

Adaptable AND scrumptious – what more could you ask of a recipe?

It also uses up the brioche made with this recipe, so what are you waiting for? Get baking!

ABC* pudding

*Apple, Brioche and Custard, if you were wonderingslice

  • 6 apples
  • 130g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cup cream
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 350g brioche
  • 50g butter

applesPeel and core you apples, then dice them into 2cm cubes. Put 80g of the butter in a big saucepan over medium heat and add the diced apples. Stir until the butter has dissolved, then cover for ten minutes. Check on them every few minutes and give them a stir.

eggsCombine the vanilla, sugar, cream and milk and set to one side. Take your apples off the heat and allow them to cool. Slice up your brioche and butter the pieces liberally. Cover the outside of a 23cm tin with foil to prevent leakage – if you skip this step the egg mixture will seep out and burn the bottom of your oven! Line the foiled tin with baking paper.brioche

 


Cover the base of the tin with brioche pieces. You may need to cut them so that they fit better, don’t worry if it looks messy. Pour the apple pieces over the bread, spreading it as evenly as possible and top with more brioche pieces. You essentially have a really large apple sandwich. Spoon the egg mixture over the big sandwich, taking care not to pour it in between the baking paper and the tin. Set the tin to one for 30-45 minutes so the liquid can soak in. The longer you leave it, the softer the bread will be.
layerpour

Once your mixture has soaked sufficiently, preheat the oven to 170°C and pop it in the oven for an hour. The pudding is finished when you press down on the brioche and liquid no longer rises to the top.

Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar or a dollop of cream.

abc puddingclose up

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate custard tart and winter weather

It is heater weather at the moment, which is a perfect excuse for me to bake; I love filling the house with warm, delicious smells! This custard tart is delicious served warm or cold, and tastes just as delicious one or two days later…if it lasts that long.

The cinnamon in the chocolate custard gives it a little kick of warmth, which is delightful as the need for electric blankets and heaters increases. Norman is relishing the new heater in our house – he stands so close to it that I worry about him singeing his fur! If Norman was allowed chocolate I’m sure he would demolish this custard tart!

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Chocolate custard tart:

  • 2 sheets ready-made shortcrust pastry (even though I used puff)slice
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 250ml/9fl oz whole milk
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 250g strawberries

Preheat your oven to 200°C and grease a shallow 26 cm pie dish.

pastryDrape your sheets of pastry over your pie dish so that they cover as much of it as possible. This recipe is probably more suited to shortcrust pastry, but I was craving puff pastry! Trim the edges so and use the excess to fill in any gaps that may remain. Press together the pastry at any point where there is a join. Cover the pie with baking paper and pop it into the oven with either baking weights or rice to weight it down for 15 minutes.

I love my baking weights, I think they’re beautiful!baking weights

While the pastry is baking, whisk the sugar, eggs and cornflour together in a bowl and set them to one side.

Put the milk in a small pan along with the chocolate, cocoa and cinnamon over a medium heat. Once the ingredients have combined turn the heat up and bring chocolate mix to boil. Allow to boil for about two minutes, stirring it regularly so it doesn’t burn, then remove from heat.

Take your pastry out the oven and set it to one side to cool.

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for five minutes before adding the egg mixture to the pan and returning it to the heat. Whisk the chocolate mixture to remove any lumps and allow it to thicken. Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

chocolatePour the warm custard into your base, (spreading it out as evenly as possible) and return it to the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the tops off the strawberries and slice them thinly in preparation for when the tart comes out of the oven. When you do remove the tart from the oven, work quickly, fanning the strawberries out around the tart, making sure each slice overlaps the last one slightly.

strawbs

As you’re doing this, press them into the custard lightly so that they stay in place.

overlaptart

To serve you can glaze with a syrup made from 1 tbsp strawberry jam and ¼ cup water heated over the stove and brushed onto the strawberries, or simply sprinkle with icing sugar.

wholeflowers

The Ultimate Crowd-Pleasing Sticky Date

After a good many months contemplating this blog, I’ve finally started. It’s been so long coming that I’m slightly worried it won’t live up to the blog I’ve got going in my head.

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Insecurities aside, I’ll start here.

I’m a 23 year old, third year literature student. I’m a keen baker, tea connoisseur, dachshund lover. Who knew I could be summed up in so few words? It’s probably better, people aren’t going to read this to find out about me, they want recipes!

And recipes I shall provide…hopefully.