It is a strange feeling, packing ten years into boxes. Saying goodbye to my home knowing I will probably never see the inside of these walls again. I have never been any good at goodbyes. I hate them. I procrastinate, try to keep myself from thinking too long on the inevitable and then bawl my eyes out when it’s actually time to leave. I have loved this place, in a way I grew up here.
I met Christian, my husband, more than 10 years ago. And 10 years + 1,5 months ago we moved in here together. Now our life here is in boxes and we are preparing for a new home.
But having packed already means an almost empty kitchen which also means my bakeware is gone until Saturday. That has caused a few minor crisis already, because what can you make when all of your equipment is gone? Brownies. Thankfully brownies are as delicious as they are easy to make.
Occasionally I do make a classic no-fuss, no-frills brownie, which I of course then serve with something fussy and frilly. But more often than not I add the fuss and the frills to the brownie batter itself. Or like here sandwich it in between to brownies. I love the combination of star anise and coriander with citrus fruits and dark chocolate. It emphasizes the fruity bitterness in chocolate and balances the sweetness. My chocolate of choice for this particular brownie was Valrhona’s Alpaco because of its oaky, floral flavours. In a brownie they do get mellowed down because of the sugar, butter and other ingredients you mix it with, but I personally still think it does make a difference what chocolate you use.
I wanted to play on the oaky notes in the chocolate, so I layered the brownie with my whiskey fig jam. It turned out really great. If you haven’t/don’t want to make fig jam then a not too sweet raspberry or black currant jam will also work well, or just skip the jam all together.
Spicy brownies with white chocolate and pistachios
125g unsalted butter
125g 66% dark chocolate
125g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground star anise
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
50g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
50g white chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
Butter a 20cmx20cm/8”x8” square cake pan with loose bottom. Set the pan aside.
Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over a water bath, stir until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.
Remove from the water bath and leave to cool slightly.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, spices and citrus zest.
Meanwhile beat the eggs with the salt and sugars until pale and fluffy. First fold in the chocolate mixture, then the flour and finally the chopped white chocolate and pistachios.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in the centre of the oven, or until done.
Leave to cool in the pan on a wire rack until the brownies is at room temperature before turning out.
I would definitely recommend wrapping the brownie tight in clingfilm and storing it in the fridge overnight. This is a cake that is at its best quite cool.
If you want to make a simple brownie layer cake either make a double portion and bake two 20x20cm cakes or cut the brownie in two 10x20cm rectangles. Spread the bottom layer with the jam of your choosing and sandwich with the top half.