Recipe: A brownie and pear treat

Served with vanilla ice cream or cream and toasted almonds - this makes for a delicious dessert
Recipe: A brownie and pear treat

Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies, by Mercy Fenton.

"These gingerbread brownies are moist and delicious, partnered with the spiced poached pears and smothered with caramel sauce; it’s a lovely winter dessert. Served with vanilla ice cream or cream and toasted almonds," writes Mercy Fenton in her weekly column.

Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies

Ingredients

75g butter (cut in small dice and leave at room temperature)

150gr dark chocolate drops - between 50-60% choc drops

3 free-range eggs

182gr soft light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

60gr Doves farm gluten free white flour

18gr cocoa powder

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

70gr white choc drops (or bar cut in pieces)

70gr dark or milk chocolate drops (or bar cut in pieces)

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  • Lightly grease an 8x8 in the tin and line with parchment paper.
  • Place butter in a small heat-proof bowl - stainless steel or Pyrex, melt over a Bain Marie of water then add the 150g dark chocolate drops - continue to melt. Be careful not to overheat - you just want it to melt to room temperature.
  • Carefully whisk together the flour, spices and cocoa powder.
  • In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  • Add the melted chocolate, to the egg mixture, and whisk to combine.
  • Sift on the cocoa & flour and carefully mix in.
  • Fold in chocolate drops.
  • Carefully level the mixture, ensuring it goes fully into the corners.
  • Place in the centre of the oven - cook for about 18 minutes then check - it should be just set. It will be risen gently around the edges and seem set in the centre, but may still be a bit moist - be brave, don’t overcook it.
  • Once removed from the oven, allow to cool completely before cutting into about 9 portions.
  • This is lovely served warm with spiced poached pear and caramel sauce. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or cream would also be delicious with it.

Spiced Poached pears

Ingredients

400ml apple juice

40gr peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced

3 or 4 strips of orange peel

1 star anise

½ cinnamon stick

Juice of ½ lemon

4 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored.

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

125gr sugar

25gr water

80ml cream - warmed

Method:

  • Cook 125gr of sugar and the water to caramel,
  • cooking the sugar to caramel Be very careful, as caramel burns are very serious.
  • Get ready a small bowl of ice water and a clean pastry brush.
  • Put the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pan (choose a pan slightly larger than you think you need and ideally with high sides) and cook over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Turn up the heat, the syrup will begin to boil rapidly.
  • Sugar crystals may form at the side of the pan; brush these down carefully with the ice-cold water and a pastry brush, be very careful doing this to ensure the sugar does not splatter.
  • When the sugar begins to caramelize, swirl the pan gently to disperse the heat.
  • When you tilt the pan, the liquid should be a rich caramel colour, be brave enough to cook it to quite a deep colour (if you smell burn you need to start again), once your caramel is cooked remove from the heat.
  • Carefully add the warmed cream and cook for a minute or two more stirring well to remove any lumps.
  • Cool the caramel until required.
  • Re-heat when required, thin slightly with some of the poaching liquid if necessary.

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