Chocolate brownies are a classic American dessert. There is always much debate over their finer points. Do you prefer them fudgy, chewy, or more cake like? Do you like to eat the edge or the middle pieces? Here I have tried to combine all of these traits. These are gooey hazelnut brownies in a crisp pastry shell. A truly, heavenly combination! My willing testers were delighted and I certainly will make these again. Feel free to omit the hazelnuts or to change them for whichever nuts you prefer.
For the Pastry
- 250g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 125g unsalted butter, cubed and softened slightly
- 1 egg
- 25g sugar
- 1tbsp cold water
For the Brownie Filling
- 180g dark chocolate (70%)
- 60g butter
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- ½ tsp espresso powder
- 260g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, size L
- 50g self-raising flour
- 40g roasted chopped hazelnuts (optional)
- To make the pastry, put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add the butter, egg, sugar and salt into the centre and using your fingertips, rub everything in the middle together.
- A little at a time, mix the flour into the centre until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the cold water and mix until it forms a dough.
- Push it together gently until smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Alternatively, place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and enough water to form a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate.
- Grease and line 6 loose bottomed tartlet tins with baking parchment.
- Thinly roll out the pastry and use to line the tartlet tins and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line the pastry cases with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper from the pastry and return to the oven for another 5 – 8 minutes until the pastry starts to turn a golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.
- To make the brownie filling, melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water.
- Stir until you have a smooth mixture before adding the cocoa powder and the espresso powder. Stir until well incorporated.
- Mix the sugar with the eggs. Add the chocolate mixture then sift in the flour and stir in the hazelnuts.
- Divide the mixture between the tartlet cases and return to the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. You need to keep an eye on them. They should have a slight wobble in the middle but be springy on the outside. Remove the tartlets from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the tins and placing them on a cooling rack to cool completely.