Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies
The international success of the carrot cake has surely paved the way for experimenting with root vegetables in other cake recipes.
Well, this is my contribution to the genre. It’s a corker – rich and velvety, and a tad lighter than a traditional, fudgy brownie. Warm from the over, it makes a good pudding brownie to serve with vanilla ice cream.
Makes about 20
250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
250g dark chocolate (about 70% coca solids), broken into pieces
3 medium eggs
250g caster sugar
A pinch of sea salt
150g self-raising flour (I use wholemeal, but white works well too)
250g beetroot, boiled until tender, cooled, peeled and grated
Grease a shallow baking tin, approximately 20 x 25 cm, and line the base with baking parchment.
Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the oven at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and put the bowl in it or a few minutes until the chocolate and butter start to melt. Stir, then put back into the oven for a few more minutes to melt completely. Of course, you could melt them together in the traditional way, over a pan of hot water but it seems a shame not to exploit the warming oven.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until combined, then beat in the melted chocolate and butter until smooth. Combine the salt with the flour, sift them over the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Fold in the grated beetroot – be careful not to over-mix or it will make the brownies tough.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes; when the brownies are done, a knife or skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Don’t be tempted to overcook them or they will be dry. Remove the tin form the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool before cutting into squares.
Plain chocolate brownies
With a little more sugar and a little less flour than the beetroot version, these are dense and fudgy - a classic brownie. They’re very good served warm as a pud, but also excellent cold.
Follow the main recipe but increase the caster sugar to 275g, reduce the flour to 125g and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract to the egg and sugar mixture. Omit the beetroot.
© From “River Cottage Every Day”, published October 2009 (Bloomsbury Publishing)