Friday, 29 October 2010

Chestnut Brownies

There were mixed feelings here, about Dan Lepard's  recent recipe for Chestnut Brownies. Yes, they tasted rich and decadent, boozy and well flavoured, but they also had such a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture that they didn't fit into either of the usual brownie categories - they weren't moist and cakey nor dense and chewy. Eating one was more like eating a mousse - it was almost a surprise that you weren't spooning it out of a dish.

We weren't too sure about the chestnuts, either. I liked the added texture of the almost-candied little chunks, but felt they didn't add much to the flavour, whereas Hubs really disliked them and felt they spoiled the brownies and were a waste of an expensive ingredient. If the recipe had been promoted as a dessert, and served with a scoop of ice cream or creme fraiche then I'm sure we would have liked it more! Expecting a more  traditional brownie, we were slightly disappointed!

The recipe wasn't really complicated, although there were several unusual steps, such as making a meringue from egg whites and brown sugar and then beating in the egg yolks. Because I didn't think things through very carefully, I used several bowls more than I needed to, as I had to move some ingredients into bigger bowls before I could go onto the next stage. My only deviation from the recipe was that I only had 200g of chestnuts - not the specified 240g. I used dark muscovado sugar to mix with the chestnuts and light muscovado sugar with the egg whites, as my dark sugar was a bit lumpy! Although I cooked the brownies until a cocktail stick was clean when poked into the centre, they were still very moist - I think a minute or two more cooking might have been better.

Because I can't make up my mind whether I like these or not, I think this is recipe which will probably eventually just get forgotten about - although not for a while, as my daughter wants  them for her birthday visit home in a few week's time.

10 comments:

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Look so dense and delicious. Love the incorpoation of nuts for a diff texture

Joanna said...

Now I don't know whether to try them or not.... I bought a 240 g tin of chestnuts from Waitrose, reduced this week and I have a bag of fresh ones as well. Actually I had another bag of fresh ones which I was going to use and then... we ate them as they were so good with a little salt, straight out of the oven. So what am I going to do Suelle? To bake or not to bake that is the question :)

Choclette said...

They certainly sound good Suelle - I think it's the sort of thing that would appeal to me, so I will certainly be making them at some point. But maybe you're right and they would be better served warm as a pudding - hummmmm!

Suelle said...

I think you should try them, Joanna. Everyone's tastes are different. Use the tinned ones though - not the fresh.

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

I'm obsessed with chestnut purée at the moment and I wonder if they could have been made with this? They do look amazing though

Suelle said...

Hi Dom - I don't think this recipe would work as well with chestnut purée, as you would be changing the ration of solids and liquids. Have you tried Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe for Chestnut-chocolate Truffle Cake? I successfully adapted that to use chestnut purée instead of whole chestnuts.

Joanna said...

Too late! I have roasted a bag of chestnuts this evening and put them in the marinade. I was going to cook them but there is exactly one egg left in the fridge! Tomorrow is another day. I think you are right, try everything once. I was reading your other brownie recipes earlier, and trying to figure out which was your favourite ;-)

Chele said...

I'm sold!!!!! Will be getting the ingredients ASAP

celia said...

This is interesting, Suelle. I tried these brownies too, and found exactly the same thing as you - they were so moussey I had trouble getting them out of the pan. I thought it was because I used dried chestnuts that I'd boiled up, so I thought there might have been lots more liquid in the mix. Also, I think the egg size is important - my eggs were a little on the large size, I think you really need to make sure to use mediums.

I loved the flavour, but Pete found it way too alcoholic for him. For me, it was so Christmassy and I loved the chestnuts in there too. I found that it firmed up enough in the fridge to cut and serve cold.

Thanks for the report - makes me feel better..I thought my moussey texture was a mistake! :)

Suelle said...

Thanks for that, Celia. You've also reassured me that I didn't make a mistake! ;) I've decided I quite like the brownies - but as a dessert, not a cake.