Blackberry season seems to have arrived, so here’s a magnificent way to use them.
These brownies are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. The basic recipe is now a family heirloom, developed from one my mother found in the 1970s. As an American who had moved to Europe in the late 1960s, she felt chronically frustrated by the absence of both brownies (bland British chocolate cake – more of a tinted Victoria sponge – was really no substitute) or any brownie recipes that would work with the ingredients available here. She finally found this one in a supermarket cookbook and declared that it passed muster, producing something with the necessary richness as well as the right texture: essentially a crust with some goo underneath, verging on the undercooked.
I’ve substituted spelt for the regular wheat flour of the original recipe, but you can use almost anything to hand – rye, for instance, adds an interesting nuttiness. And I’ve added the handful of blackberries, but blackcurrants or raspberries will also work very nicely. The black fruits, in particularly, act as a wonderfully sharp foil to the rich, smothering chocolate.
This is enough to make 16 brownies. Enjoy!
2 oz cocoa
4 oz butter
8 oz caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
2 oz spelt flour
half a teaspoon baking powder
a handful of blackberries (or blackcurrants or raspberries – or whatever you happen to have to hand – you can use frozen ones too)
How to make…
1. Pre-heat oven to a moderate 180 degrees.
2. Grease and line a 20 cms/8-inch square pan with grease-proof paper/baking parchment.
3. Carefully melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Then add the cocoa to this and blend (it will smell really wonderful). Set aside to cool.
4. In a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together till light and fluffy.
5. Add the cocoa/butter mixture to your eggs/sugar mix, along with the vanilla extract. Mix well.
6. Sift the flour and baking powder over this, and fold in gently.
7. Throw in a handful of blackberries (or whatever else you’re using) and fold just enough to distribute the fruit.
8. Turn into your prepared tin and bake for about half an hour. No need to test that it’s cooked all through the centre – it should be gooey, still sizzling, and be slightly squishy when you prod it.
9. Cool in the tin before cutting into 16 pieces (4×4). Drench with icing sugar and decorate with some extra fruit, if you like. I can recommend these served as a desert with more fresh fruit and a dollop of mascarpone.
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