Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Although I don’t have a sweet tooth and pastry baking is not my favourite occupation, I made some brownies last Saturday. It was my first attempt and they turned out just fine … to my surprise. You can bet that they’ll be awful the next time a try to make them.

I had spent the best part of the morning doing my weekly shopping. In the afternoon I prepared the peas and carrots for Sunday lunch and I hand-washed some delicate pieces of clothing, and watched re-runs of ‘Columbo’ and ‘Murder, She wrote’ on the television. I had unloaded the dishwasher putting everything in its right place and my kitchen looked spic-and-span.

By 7 p.m. I was bored. Outside it was raining and the laundry was drying on a rack in the second bedroom. After watching the 7 o’clock news, I was even more bored. I desperately needed something to keep me occupied till the next program of interest started. So I rummaged through some recipes that I have collected over the last twelve months. Amongst them I found a delicious panacotta with a raspberry coulis, which I made in March or April of this year. I felt like trying it again, just to keep busy. However, I didn’t have the necessary ingredients and by then all the shops were closed. Besides, the rain was still pouring down, and I didn’t feel like going out again.

And then I came across a recipe for brownies. It came on the back of a calendar page – March, I think – and looked really easy. Moreover, I had all the required ingredients in the fridge and the larder/pantry:

- 150 gr. of sugar
- 137.5 gr. of melted butter
- 3 eggs
- 50 gr. flour
- 200 gr. of chocolate

I closely followed the instructions as I know that pastry requires using the exact quantities. I started by melting the black Côte d’Or (in the US a.k.a. ‘the Elephant’) chocolate - 80% cacao and really, really dark and nice and bitter - in a bain-marie. At the same time I melted the butter in a little saucepan. I took the eggs and separated the yolks from the whites. I whisked the latter into a firm white foam. In a bowl I then mixed the yolks with the sugar, to which I added the flower, the egg whites and finally the melted chocolate, until I obtained a glossy and creamy dark brown mixture.

The brownies, nicely rising in the oven.

Still following the instructions on the calendar page, I poured the mixture in a shallow, lightly buttered tray and baked it in an oven which I had pre-heated at 170°C. 35 minutes later it came out, smelling deliciously rich and tempting. When it had cooled down, I cut it into three large strips. On Sunday I cut one of these strips into cubic 4x4x4 cm chunks, which we had for dessert. I gave the second strip to my mother, to enjoy with her afternoon coffee. On Monday I cut up the last strip into equal chunks and laid them on a plate on the corner of my desk at work. It didn’t take long before my colleagues discovered them … and by lunchtime the last brownie was gone …

P.S. I'm aware that I'm taking an enormous risk posting this recipe, as I'm sure that some of you have been making brownies for a much longer time than I have and therefore have more experience and a better result. Your tips are more than welcome!



Jean said...

I have never made brownies either. I fancy having a go - hope they turn out as good as yours!

Phil Lowe said...

The brownies look and sound great.

ladybird said...

Jean, You shouldn't have any trouble making them as you are a far more experienced pastry chef than I am. If I can make these, everybody can! :)

Hi Phil, Welcome and thank you for posting a comment. I'd send you a brownie as a welcome gift, but there are none left! ;)