Monthly Archives: September 2011

Passionfruit Cream Sponge

There is something about springtime and the Royal Melbourne Show that makes one think of tradition, the country, and dang it, the mighty CWA.

Huh? What say you? 

The CWA, dear long-distance readers, is the Country Women’s Association of Victoria.  A wonderful bunch of ladies with a long and rather distinguished history and a long-standing connection with our Royal Show.  Each year they take on the task of catering for thousands of hungry Show goers at the CWA Tearooms throughout the day.  They use the proceeds to fund a range of community causes throughout regional Victoria during each year.  Superhero gals.

These ladies have a reputation for baking that is legendary.  When they hold baking competitions, their standards are exacting and their judging is stern but fair.  Their focus on traditional cakes and baked goods makes this baker glad that nostalgic favourites are not so easily lost or forgotten as our palates develop sophisticated tastes.

So it got me thinking about sponge cake.  A classic light, airy sponge filled with passionfruit cream.  Very Australian.  Very traditional.  I hope the CWA ladies would approve.  Just don’t let them near my efforts with their measuring tape or I fear disqualification before the first bite!

This cake has an incredible lightness.  The sponge is so airy, mainly because the eggs and sugar are whisked to an almost meringue-like consistency, but also because it includes cornflour.  I’d highly recommend using cornflour when making a sponge as the result is very much worth it.

The passionfruit cream is also very light and the passionfruit flavour is tangy and sweet, without being sickly.  This cream makes a lovely dessert on its own, served with fresh fruit or delicate biscuits.

This cake is gluten and nut free so is suitable for anyone with gluten intolerance or nut allergies.  It makes a lovely change from the usual gluten-free cakes that tend to be nut based or heavier in texture.

If you love passionfruit, you will love this cake.  At least, I hope you will.

Kettle on, check.  Cut a slice, check.  Kick back and enjoy.  Blue ribbon time at the Show …

Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients
Passionfruit Cream
3 egg yolks
65 grams sugar
24 grams cornflour
200 grams pure cream (35% fat)
180 grams whole milk
3 passionfruit, pulped
100 grams pure cream, extra
Sponge
4 eggs
120 grams sugar
120 grams cornflour
a pinch of salt

Instructions
Passionfruit Cream
Place the egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour into a bowl and whisk until smooth and light.

In a saucepan, combine the cream and milk and stir gently with a whisk.  Heat gently until the cream just starts to bubble around the edges.  Remove and pour in a thin stream over the egg yolks, whisking slowly.  This will make sure you don’t end up with scrambled eggs :).  Whisk the mixture well and return to the saucepan.

Place the pastry cream mixture on a low heat and stir slowly as it cooks with a whisk to make sure it remains smooth and free of lumps as it thickens.  When the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl.  Cool and then stir in the passionfruit pulp.  There is no need to strain the pulp but you can if you like.  I don’t as I love the little black passionfruit seeds speckled throughout the cream.  Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to assemble the cake.

Just before assembling the cake, add the extra cream to the passionfruit pastry cream and whisk until smooth, light and thickened to a dollop-spreading consistency.

Sponge
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Grease and line a 23 cm round or 20 cm square cake tin.  This time, I used a square tin with a removable bottom, but this is not necessary.  Set aside.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium speed until very light and tripled in volume.  The egg mixture should have the consistency of a thick cream and ribbon very slowly when the whisk attachment is lifted.

Sift together the cornflour and salt.  Sprinkle evenly over the egg mixture and fold very gently, taking care to avoid deflating the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.   Bake for about 30 mins or until risen and light golden.  A skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean.  Alternatively, if you press gently on the surface of the cake with your finger, it will spring back.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, in the tin, on a wire rack.  Once cool, gently remove from the tin and slice horizontally into 3 equal layers.  I use a serrated knife to do this as it cuts through the sponge without dragging the crumb.

Assembly
Place one sponge layer on a serving platter.  Spread with half the passionfruit cream mixture, making sure you spread the cream all the way to the edges and evenly across the layer.  Place the second layer of sponge on top and gently press down.  Cover with the remaining passionfruit cream and cover with the top layer of sponge.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar.  I reserved a little of the passionfruit cream instead and spread that in the centre of the top of the cake.  I then added a few plain dark chocolate squares … oh sue me, it’s hard for me not to add some gratuitous chocolate to just about anything, isn’t it?? 😀

This is so great for afternoon tea.  Probably a nice light dessert too.  It will keep for several days, covered, in the refrigerator.

25 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cakes, Fruit, Special Diet

Cocoa Raspberry Protein Cupcakes … once more with feeling

Hey CCM, didn’t you recently post a recipe for raspberry chocolate brownies?

Yes, I did.

So, what gives?

Well, some people just LOVE chocolate and raspberries but are following some rather strict dietary rules.  Maybe they eat according to specific dietary principles as a way of life, or because they have set themselves fat loss and/or lean muscle gain targets as part of their fitness goals.  I am in the latter group although, heck it’s a hard slog sometimes.  Temptation lurks around every corner.  I got a few requests for a treat that fits with the low-fat and reasonably low carb treat that also provides some decent protein but has that universally loved combo of raspberries and chocolate.

Also, it’s chocolate … and raspberries.   Can you really have too much?   The universe says NO.

So, I’m revisiting raspberries and chocolate again … once more with feeling 😀

I’m also conscious that a considerable number of my posts have chocolate leanings.  Affiliations.  Bias, you might say.  Well, duh.  I love my chocolate.  But here’s the thing.  The next few posts are probably going to be chocolate free.  Not for health reasons, but just because I have a list of things I’d like to bake now that it’s springtime.  Run for the hills, chocolate lovers … but I digress.

WARNING:  awesome healthy protein snack alert!

My goal here was to make something that provided some decent protein without being too heavy on the carbs but, importantly, were low in fat and a light snack that won’t weigh you down.  The inspiration is flourless chocolate cupcakes that rise and fall when they bake and cool and have a gooey, moist centre with a rich chocolately flavour and the sweet-tart explosion of raspberry goodness.  I think I’ve succeeded here.

A big thank you to one of my trainers, Anna from Wild Fitness, for being my taste tester in this experiment 🙂

These are great on their own but I love them topped with protein fluff.  Berry protein fluff would make the most sense and probably the best fit but I had them with mango fluff and WOW, they were good.  The best part is you have the little crater at the top of each cake in which the protein fluff sits rather snugly in a little mound.  Also great with some yoghurt or whatever takes your fancy … more raspberries?  Excellent.  More chocolate in the form of a choc-hazelnut spread?  DIVINE.  I store them in the refrigerator and they are brilliant straight from the fridge – the texture is really like a flourless chocolate cake.

Anna made a great suggestion, and I agree:  how magnificent would they be with the addition of some cacao nibs or chopped chocolate?  Unbearably good, I imagine.  Might do that next time  😉

A word of warning for the sugar junkies … they are not very sweet.  If, like me, you have cacao running through your veins, this is bliss because it makes the chocolate flavour much more intense (and I love the tartness of raspberries).  Definitely one for the dedicated chocolate diehards.   But, if you’re addicted to sugar, add some more maple syrup or a little brown sugar or whatever sweetener takes your fancy.  Taste the batter before you fold in the egg whites and adjust accordingly.

Don’t they look kinda cool too?  Like proper little cakes.  I’m convinced that you don’t have to sacrifice flavour and good natural ingredients to accommodate treats in a healthy diet.

Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it can’t also be downright civilised.  Enjoy the unbearable lightness of being chocolate! 😀


Makes 12 / Serves 6

Ingredients
1 egg
120 grams non-fat quark (< 0.1% fat)
95 grams non-fat plain or Greek style yoghurt
25 grams unsweetened cacao (dutch process or organic raw)
35 grams pea protein (unflavoured, vanilla, or chocolate)
15 grams coconut flour
30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) pure vanilla bean paste
40 grams 100% pure maple syrup*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of sea salt
110 grams egg whites (about 3)
150 grams raspberries (fresh or frozen)

*I’ve used maple syrup as it is lower in carbohydrates than honey and most sugars.  It is also suitable for anyone for whom fructose might cause discomfort.  As mentioned above, if you like your snacks sweet, you might want to increase the amount or substitute your preferred sweetener.

Note also that I’ve used PEA PROTEIN again here.  I’ve had a few questions about pea protein and why I don’t use whey for baking.  I do use whey sometimes but always with pea protein.  This is because whey protein tends to dry baked goods out a good deal more and the resulting texture is usually not as good.  You can try substituting some of the pea protein with whey, but if you do, use a whey concentrate or a mix of whey and casein.  Do not use whey protein isolate as this will be even more drying and can add bitterness.  You really don’t want that.

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 170℃.   Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Combine the egg, quark, yoghurt in a large bowl and whisk together until light and creamy.  Add the remaining ingredients, except for the egg whites.  Beat until the batter is smooth.

In a separate bowl, with clean beaters or whisk, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks.

Gently fold the raspberries into the cake batter, taking care not to break up the raspberries much.  You want to have whole pieces of fruit when you bite into the cakes.  Finally, gently fold through the beaten egg whites until no streaks remain.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake molds.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.  I baked them for 20 minutes as I think this produces a better result with a slightly more gooey centre.  It will depend largely on your oven though.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Note, they will rise like the little troopers they are and then they will fall again in the centre when the cool.  Like little flourless chocolate cakes.  Gooey centre, check.  Moist, check.  Raspberry goodness explosions, check check check!

I store extras in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.

Nutritional Profile

The following is based on the recipe above and shows that there is no great difference whether you use organic raw cacao or Dutch process.  For the record, I used Valrhona dutch process this time as I’m saving my raw cacao for smoothies.

I have not accounted for any added extras including extra sweeteners or chocolate chips, cacao nibs etc.

14 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Chocolate, Fruit, Protein, Protein Cakes, Special Diet

Gianduja Ice Cream

Gianduja. 

It’s so quintessentially Italian, it’s almost a national flavour emblem.  It would be tantamount to treason for an Italian to dislike the heady combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.  Consider the place that Nutella‡ has in the Italian national psyche …

The origin of the name comes from a character in Italy’s Commedia dell’ Arte, Gianduja, a cheerful character who loves to eat, drink and be merry.  He is an official symbol of Torino, in the northern region of Piemonte.  It is here where some of the world’s most flavourful hazelnuts are grown.  It is also the home of Ferrero’s Nutella, and Caffarel, the company whose signature chocolate is the Gianduotto, a smooth, sweet hazelnut and milk chocolate in the shape of an upturned boat.

Even further south, the allure of this combination has taken hold and is firmly part of tradition.  Think of Baci chocolates from Perugia, with a whole hazelnut encased in a hazelnut praline centre, coated in smooth dark chocolate … each one with its own romantic message attached.  Swoon.

Certainly, no great gelateria, anywhere in Italy, would be caught out without its own version of a gianduja or Bacio gelato on offer.  Generally these are richer ice-creams based on hazelnut paste.  I want to say WOW.  Because a great gianduja ice cream is seriously WOW.  Gianduja is special.  WOW.

So here is my version.  Or, at least, one of my versions, of a gianduja ice cream.  As usual, this is a churn free zone as I don’t have the space for a gelato machine at home, nor the inclination to clean it every time I use it.  So, this ice-cream is one of my semifreddo-style gelati.  The texture is very rich and smooth as it should be … it doesn’t set hard when frozen but it’s not frothy and light like a soft-serve either.  Gianduja is serious business in the gelato department.

You can set aside a portion of the hazelnuts after toasting them, if you want to add them to the ice cream (chopped) for added texture.  If doing that, I usually reserve about 25 – 30 grams, chop them, and add them to the cream with the chocolate hazelnut paste.  Eccò!  Bacio ice-cream!  I have not done that here, as I made it for my father this time, and he prefers it without the chopped hazelnut pieces.  Go figure.

I hope you enjoy this ice-cream.  It’s wonderful on its own, served scooped in a bowl, or atop a waffle cone.

Served with delicate hazelnut biscotti and a glass of Frangelico liqueur, it makes a sophisticated and decadent dessert.

Simple but very very cool.

‡I don’t want to rant about Nutella but one has to acknowledge that it is no longer the wonderful spread that it used to be.  We all know why.  No point getting on a soapbox about it here 😦  The recipe has changed dramatically over the years, which is unfortunate, as it is now a much more sickly sweet chocolate spread with some rather dubious ingredients.  Rather unfair to children today, in my humble opinion, as the original was a sublime experience.  It was divine.  I think most people over the age of 30 or 4o probably love Nutella for the sweet memories of childhood it invokes.  I certainly do.   *stares dreamily into the distance*

These days, it’s a great idea to make your own and capture that wonderful flavour again.  It’s also easy.

 

Serves 6

Ingredients
110 grams hazelnuts
25 grams sugar
100 grams couverture at a minimum 70% cacao*
125 grams sugar
50 millilitres water
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites
500 millilitres double/heavy cream, chilled
*I used Valrhona’s Coeur de Guanaja for this recipe.  It’s a very technical couverture that has a much lower cacao butter content than usual.  It has a minimum of 80% cacao mass and 34% cacao butter.  Most couvertures have a cacao butter content around 50% or so.  It’s wonderful for making creams, ice-creams, and mousses and anything where you want intense chocolate flavour but wish to keep a creamier consistency.   There is no need to use this chocolate – any good quality couverture will be fabulous.

Instructions
Toast the hazelnuts in a 180℃ oven for about 6 – 8 minutes.  You will smell the lovely toasty aroma, but do keep an eye on them so they don’t over-roast and burn.  Remove and place on paper towels or a tea towel and use to rub off as much of the skins as possible.  Let the hazelnuts cool, and then place in a food processor or nut grinder with the 25 grams of sugar.  Grind until the nuts and sugar form a paste.  This will take some time.  Make sure to scrape down the bowl now and then so that the nuts are evenly ground.  It’s OK if a few nut pieces remain.  Set aside.

Chop or grate the couverture and place in a bowl.  Melt the couverture in a microwave or over a pan of hot water until melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and add the hazelnut paste.  I use a whisk to gently swirl the nut paste into the melted chocolate.  You will get a lovely chocolate hazelnut creamy paste … oh, hang on, that’s very NUTELLA  😀

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat.  Let the sugar dissolve and bring to the boil.  Do not stir.  Place the egg whites in a bowl nearby.  Have the egg yolks ready in a separate bowl.

When the syrup has begun to boil watch it carefully.  Insert the candy thermometer in the syrup and wait until it reaches 115℃.  As you do this, beat the egg whites until they reach soft peak stage only.  When the syrup is ready, pour half of it in a thin and steady stream into the egg whites, as you continue to beat them on high-speed.  Set the remaining syrup aside, off the heat for now.  Continue beating the egg whites until they are glossy.  Set the meringue aside.

Return the syrup to the heat if required, just to melt it a little (it may start to set if it cools too quickly).  Beat the egg yolks.  Pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks in a thin steady stream as you beat them on high-speed.  Continue beating until the egg yolk mixture is light and tripled in volume.

Make sure the cream is chilled.  Place the heavy cream in a large bowl.  Using a hand-held whisk, gently whisk until  thickened slightly. Gently fold the chocolate hazelnut paste into the cream, using the whisk.

Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the cream.  While you can be a little heavy-handed, you still want to keep the lightness of all that air we’ve beaten into the eggs.  Finally, gently fold in the meringue until no streaks remain.

Place into an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

30 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Chocolate, Ice cream & Sorbet, Nuts, Special Diet

Blueberry & Lemon Protein Loaves … and The Taming of the FEW

Wait for it … this doesn’t look like a protein snack or bar or whatever … does it?  Doesn’t taste like it’s a pre-workout thang either.  It’s kinda dainty and, dare I say it, girly.  Well, don’t let appearances fool you.  Don’t even let the mmmm yumumumumum taste fool you either.  These are a fantastic part of a pre-workout meal or snack.  You can pack ’em up to take on the road with you during a busy day.  Plus, Spring has sprung here and blueberries are a very dainty sunny berry, perfect for a lighter protein snack.  What was that about appearances?  Yeah, like us girls, blueberries are seriously powerful beings.  I have them all year round … fresh, frozen, and now even dried wild blueberries.

A week ago, I had just returned from a week away in Port Douglas.  Remember I said I was being all healthy while on holiday?  I seem to be keeping up the good work.  I’m impressed … hope it lasts!   Yes, I made brownies but in the end I managed to eat only half of one, for posterity.

Dear desserts, it seems I’m just not that into you right now.   (OK, I still love making them).

Let me share with you my favourite part of the day in Port Douglas … watching the sunrise as I walked 12km along Four Mile Beach in the mornings.  Beautiful, isn’t it?   Just wanted to share it with you, as it’s one of my favourite places in the world.  It inspires me to keep up with the healthy habits for spring and summer too.

Back to the food!

Remember I mentioned I’d bought some frozen egg whites before heading off on holiday?  But I didn’t use them, because I totally failed to cut that slippery eel of a frozen block of albumen into portions, and feared risking life and limb when attempting it?

Enter the FEW (aka Frozen Egg Whites) into the arena (aka the kitchen bench).

Enter MY MUM wielding a CLEAVER and a MEAT MALLET.  Ten seconds later we had 4 equal portions and no blood spatter, no medical emergencies.  Crisis averted.  She looked so smug.  I was only a bit afraid.  Italian mothers rock … as funny as they are awesome.  😀

So what’s with the FEW?  I owe that little moniker to Maree, a dear, lovely gal who lives in abject terror of frozen egg whites.  She finds the concept horrifying and teases me rather mercilessly about my commitment to using FEW.  So now that’s what I call them.  This is my first experiment in using them in baking and I’m very pleased with the outcome.   They were brilliant in this recipe, just the same as using fresh egg whites.  They frothed up nicely, although you’d never use them to make meringue.  Pasteurisation appears to break down some of the structure in the egg white that lends volume and stability to a meringue.   But you can still get some aeration going so that baked goods will be light in texture and rise properly.  Hooray.

These blueberry and lemon loaves are just proteintastic.  The texture is open and light, they’re moist, not too sweet, and totally YUMUMUMUMUM.

Fat molecules are conspicuous by their general absence but there is lots of protein, friendly carbs, and truckloads of flavour.  I’ve included the nutritional information below, as usual.  Two loaves gives you 31.8 grams of protein.  Normally, I’d use fresh blueberries but I’m quite liking some dried wild blueberries I bought recently, so I threw those in.  Very intense and of course, the combination of blueberry and lemon just has pound-cakey goodness written all over it … without the pounds 🙂

I’m dedicating this recipe to Maree, for showing me just how funny this FEW obsession has become, and to Anna at Protein Pow(d)er, for inspiring this recipe.  She is the queen of protein powder cookery and I’ve learned mucho about how to use different protein sources from her blog.

These loaves are fantabulous sliced and topped with fresh ricotta and more blueberries.  I also tried them with some homemade chocolate almond spread.  Sensational.  Almond butter, another winner.  On their own, can’t go wrong.  But my favourite is the ricotta and blueberry topping.

Hello breakfast.  WHOAAAAAA.  Too too good.

These loaves won’t cause bloating or discomfort before or during a workout.  Of course, they’re also great post workout.  They do contain some fibre but I didn’t add much in the way of fibre rich ingredients as these make for a great pre-workout or pre-race snack and a high-fibre snack beforehand can cause discomfort for some.  Lab tested by moi 🙂

This recipe is also gluten-free and good for anyone with issues relating to malabsorption of fructose and/or fructans.  If lactose is a problem, you could substitute soy yoghurt or lactose-free yoghurt in this recipe.

Wonder if the guys will like them?  You tell me.  These give you the old energy to move, power to lift.  Of course.

Makes 8 mini loaves (4 serves)

You could make this as one large loaf.  My guess is a 20cm oblong tin would be about right.  Baking time is likely to be around 25 to 30 minutes for a large loaf.  Check it around the 25 minute mark.

Ingredients
250 grams egg whites (fresh OR frozen and thawed)
30 grams coconut sugar
70 grams pea protein powder
30 grams brown rice protein powder
30 grams quinoa flakes (optional)
200 grams non-fat plain yoghurt
grated zest of 1 medium lemon
3 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free)
150 grams fresh blueberries OR 80 grams organic dried wild blueberries

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 175℃.  Line 8 mini loaf tins with non stick baking paper.  I used loaf tins measuring 10cm x 5.5cm each.  You only need one sheet of baking paper that will come up two sides and on the base.  This will make removal of the loaves easier than if you simply grease the tins.  Alternatively, use silicon molds, if you have them.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk or beat until very frothy.  Add the coconut sugar, pea and rice proteins, quinoa flakes, yoghurt, lemon zest, and baking powder.  Beat on low-speed until incorporated and then at medium speed until the batter is smooth and light.

Fold in the blueberries.  Divide the batter among the loaf tins.

Bake for 15 minutes until risen and starting to colour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool, in the tins, on a wire rack.  Carefully remove from the tins and serve.

I store leftovers in the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before eating, as they contain no added fats.  You could blitz them in a microwave for 10 seconds.  Click on the pic and check  out that lovely texture … mmmm.

Nutritional Information
I’ve provided nutritional profiles for versions with both fresh and dried blueberries.  I’ve based the dried blueberry information on the ones that I used, Eden Organics Dried Wild Blueberries.

15 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Fruit, Protein, Protein Bars, Special Diet

Raspberry Truffle Brownies

Ahhhh brownies …. 😀

Guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone’s face.  Maybe not if you don’t like chocolate, but then you wouldn’t be reading this if you did not!

I just got back from a week away in Port Douglas, a beautiful town in far north Queensland.  the whole week was just sunshine, warm weather, long walks on the beach, lots of lazing about by the pool and in cafés, reading and catching up with friends.  Most people totally pig out when they go on holiday.  Not me, oh no.  I had a wonderful apartment in which I mostly cooked for myself, getting lots of fresh local produce.  The whole week was so healthy, I’m stunned.  Not a cupcake, cookie, dessert was had.  OK, I had a bit of organic fair trade 85% chocolate.  Just a bit.  Because it’s so good with my peppermint tea. 🙂

As relaxed as I was, it was still bizarre to spend a whole week without baking anything.  NOTHING.  NADA.  By the time I boarded my flight back, I was already dreaming up what I wanted to make when I got back.  I’ve got a list of baked goodies on my to do list but all I could think of was BROWNIES.  Didn’t go down so badly as an idea with the family either.  So today I made brownies.  Not just any brownies.  Decadent gooey raspberry truffle brownies.  They’re almost like eating a massive raspberry truffle.

The cosmic balance is restored.

If you’re here for a healthy treat, move right along, there’s nothing here for you.  This is serious chocolate, sugar, butter territory.  Artery clogging chocoaltey raspberry goodness.

I’ve used one of those aluminium trays you get at the supermarket as my baking pan.  If you’ve got a pan of about the same size, use that.  I just wanted to see how they would turn out and I must admit, the result was fabulous.  It makes frosting in the pan really easy and you just snip away the sides to cut the brownie slab into bars.  Great also if making for kids to take to school for a baking day or to take to a picnic.  No washing up.  Sometimes, that’s a blessing.

The brownies are studded with fresh raspberries but also contain seedless raspberry preserves in the batter.  This gives a more intense raspberry flavour and the theme carries through to the ganache topping.  You can make these without the ganache topping.  Perfect with a glass of cold milk as a snack or with coffee.  The ganache topping just adds an extra truffle-like richness, great for a party dessert or special occasion.  Or just because you love it.

Sometimes more is more.  Enjoy!

Makes 18 – 21

Brownies
400 grams dark couverture (64% – 70% cacao)
200 grams unsweetened couverture (100% cacao)
250 grams unsalted butter
6 large eggs
400 grams brown sugar
110 grams seedless raspberry jam
75 grams hazelnut meal*
50 grams plain flour

32 fresh raspberries (about 150 grams)

Raspberry Ganache
115 grams dark couverture (64% – 70% cacao)
200 grams cream (35% fat)
50 grams seedless raspberry jam

*You can use bought hazelnut meal or make your own for extra flavour.  Measure out the hazelnuts by weight, roast in a 180℃ oven for about 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and rub in a tea towel to remove the skins.  Cool and grind to a fine meal in a food processor or nut grinder.

Instructions
Make the brownies: Line the base of a 29cm x 19 cm x 5 cm aluminium tray with baking paper.  This will protect the base of the brownies from over-browning during baking.

Finely chop the couverture and unsweetened chocolate and place in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into cubes and add to the chocolate.  Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, over a low heat.  Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally.  When melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, and raspberry jam.  Use a hand-held whisk to whisk the mixture until well combined.  We are not trying to beat air into the mixture.  If you do, it will create unwanted air bubbles that will cause air pockets in the brownies.  If the brown sugar is very lumpy, you might want to pass it through a sieve before adding to the eggs.  Add the hazelnut meal and flour and whisk until combined.  Gradually add the melted chocolate and butter mixture as you whisk slowly from the centre of the bowl.  Fold and whisk until just combined and smooth.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Press the raspberries into the batter at even intervals as shown.

Bake at 175℃ oven for about 50 minutes.  Check it after 45 minutes and be careful not to overbake.  The cooked brownies should still be a little gooey in the centre.  Ahhhhh 🙂  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack, in the pan.

Make the ganache: Finely chop or grate the couverture and place in a bowl.  Place the cream and raspberry jam in a saucepan over a low heat.  Stir to combine and bring to the boil.  When it reaches the boil, pour evenly over the chopped chocolate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds.  Stir gently from the centre of the bowl to make sure that all the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth.  Don’t whisk or beat it as you don’t want to incorporate air bubbles.

When the brownies have cooled, pour the ganache over the top and smooth or swirl the top.  When thickened or set, snip the aluminium to gently remove the sides of the pan.  This allows you to more easily slice the brownies.  Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.  I got about twenty-one bars by cutting the brownie in three lengthwise and then in seven across the width.  I think this is already a fairly generous size as they are incredibly rich, but hey, it’s up to you!  Cut into small squares, they would make lovely petit fours for a BBQ or party.

Serve with extra fresh raspberries.

I store these in an airtight tin in a cool, dry spot at room temperature.  They should keep for several days at least if stored correctly.  In hot weather, you might like to store them in the refrigerator.

18 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Bars & Slices, Chocolate, Fruit