These are the most seductive brownies I’ve ever had, and without sounding like a total brownie whore, I’ve had a hell of a lot of brownies. Besides the chocolate, they’re full of the world’s unsexiest ingredient, prunes. All the marketing for prunes seems to be related entirely to its uses as a laxative, but try not to think about that now. Taste these brownies and you’ll realise that those glossy misshapen globules magically create pockets of gooey texture and lend a deliciously rich yet subtle fruity sweetness to this deeply chocolately brownie. Sorry I didn’t mean to go all Nigella on you in that last sentence there.
I love the cocoa-powdered crunchy shattered tops hiding all that luscious chocolate underneath, but let me tell you that it’s impossible to cut them into clean pieces – just a warning if you’re obsessive compulsive about that sort of thing. Your life will be a lot easier if you chill them in the fridge first. There is going to be a guaranteed mess of chocolate everywhere, but in a good way.
Now my sister Rachel suggested adding a Level of Difficulty Scale to the recipes on this blog, as some recipes are slightly more involved than others and it would be helpful to see at a glance whether an attempt should be bothered at all or if it would be best to save yourself the stress and buy a cake instead. What a good idea, Sis.
So I looked at my recipes and finally came to the conclusion that a scale would be difficult as everyone has varying ideas of what their culinary skill level is. Look at that cooking show My Kitchen Rules, for fucks sake. There are people out there who are clearly delusional.
These brownies only really require melting and mixing which I think is pretty easy, so I’ll have to assume everyone has at least some basic culinary skills. I’ll add a note regarding difficulty level and hope that it gives you some guidance and peace of mind for your sake as well as mine. I feel personally liable when an endeavour to recreate my recipe fails miserably. Unless you’re a terrible cook to begin with and in that case I take no responsibility whatsoever.
Difficulty Level: Finding a car space in an almost empty car park.
CHOCOLATE PRUNE BROWNIES
Recipe from ‘Bourke Street Bakery’ by Paul Allam & David McGuinness
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)
Place the prunes in a bowl and pour over the brandy, cognac or tea. Cover and set aside for a few hours to soak up all the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius fan forced, (325F/Gas 3). Grease a 20 x 30 x 4cm rectangular cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Sift the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
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, then transfer 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. 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.
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. Allow to cool completely before turning out of the tin. Use a hot knife to cut into squares. The brownies can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for up to 4 days at room temperature.