Recipe: Make our brownie
- Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis
I was a latecomer to the mince pie fan club. I’d always found them too nutty, too fruity, and generally a bit blah – especially compared to the yule log mum used to put out on the Christmas table.
Over the years I’ve grown a fondness for them though. The sight of a plate of warm pies nestling next to a vat of mulled wine gives me a cosy glow.
Mince pies in our house signal a gradual slowing down. The coming to an end of a long, stressful working year...and looking forward to family time, cheesy old films (yes I do need to watch It’s A Wonderful Life again), and lashings of wine.
My kids are yet to be convinced of the encasing of fruit and nuts in pastry, but they do love a brownie. So I’ve mish-mashed the two and come up with something really quite naughty.
Inside crisp, orange-scented short pastry is an ooey-gooey brownie laced with booze-soaked dried fruit (optional). They are absolutely addictive.
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For the pastry:
250g unsalted butter, cold, chopped into rough cubes
375g plain flour
125g caster sugar
2tsps orange extract
1-2tbsps icy cold water
Flour for rolling
85g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa)
50g golden caster sugar
85g dark brown sugar
50g plain white flour, sited
20g cocoa, sifted
1 large egg
100g dried fruit, chopped and soaked overnight or for 4 hours in orange liqueur, brandy or rum (or orange juice)
Large pinch salt
To start make your pastry. I put all the ingredients (apart from the water) in a food processor, and pulsed until it started to come together. You may need to add a drizzle of water to help. Don’t over process it. Form into a ball, then press down to flatten slightly, wrap well and place in the fridge.
For the filling, melt the butter, chocolate and sugars in a saucepan on a low heat. As soon as it’s melted sift in the cocoa, salt and flour and stir well. Add the dried fruit and booze and stir again. Finally, beat in the egg. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature.
When you’re ready to cook, set the oven to 220C (190C fan) - let it heat up for 20 minutes.
Cut the dough from the fridge in half (don’t try to roll all the dough at once) and roll out to about 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 10cm rounds (I used a fluted cutter) and use them to line the holes in a cupcake tin. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the cooled filling into each one.
Now use the remaining dough, rolled to the same thickness, to create lids slightly smaller than the bases – about 7cms. When placed on top it should cover the brownie mixture. Pop the lids on top of each pie and gently tuck in the edges.
Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. They should be golden at the edges.
Allow to cool for a few minutes before carefully (using a butter knife to tease the edges) removing the pies to racks. Lovely warm with a tot of rum.