"You could argue that no one needs yet another brownie recipe, but this one is rather special," says Lee. "Inspired by a David Everitt Matthias recipe, it is deeply chocolate flavoured, yet light enough to invite repeated spoonfuls. Dress it up with shards of honeycomb, cocoa nibs and maybe some thick cream, or serve it simply as is, and not too cold, to allow all the flavours to bloom." Begin this recipe about 8 hours ahead.
- 2 eggs
- 150 gm brown sugar
- 150 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
- 240 gm dark chocolate (51%-55% cocoa solids), chopped
- 20 gm cocoa powder, sifted
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 60 gm buckwheat flour
- 40 gm natural almonds, roasted and crushed
- Cacao nibs and double cream (optional), to serve
- 250 gm dark chocolate (68%-70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 275 ml pouring cream
- Finely grated rind of 1 orange (bergamot orange, if available)
- 2 tbsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea (see note)
- ½ tsp agar agar (see note)
- 60 gm (2 tbsp) honey
- ⅓ titanium-strength gelatine leaf, softened in cold water
- 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 60 gm (2 tbsp) honey
- 1 tbsp liquid glucose
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1Grease a 23cm round springform pan and line base and sides with baking paper.
- 2Preheat oven to 190°C. Whisk eggs and brown sugar until thick and pale (4-5 minutes). Melt butter, chocolate and ½ tsp salt flakes in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let bowl touch water). Fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture, sift in cocoa, baking powder and flour, add almonds and fold to combine. Transfer to prepared tin and bake until puffed and a skewer inserted withdraws with wet crumbs (20-25 minutes). Cool (1½-2 hours), then remove baking paper lining the sides and level top of brownie with an offset palette knife or a spatula. Refrigerate until needed.
- 3For ganache, place chocolate in a tall heatproof container suitable for use with a handheld blender. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Remove from heat, add orange rind and tea, stand to infuse for 5 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve. Return cream to saucepan, bring to the boil, then add to chocolate. Whisk agar agar and 300ml water in a small saucepan to combine. Whisking continuously over medium-high heat, add honey and ¼ tsp salt flakes until a rolling boil, then remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and whisk to combine. Pour honey mixture over chocolate mixture, and blend with a hand-held blender on low speed until just combined (be careful not to over-aerate). Strain through a fine sieve over brownie and chill until set (3 hours, or overnight).
- 4For honeycomb, grease a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin and line with baking paper. Place sugar, honey, glucose, ½ tsp salt flakes and 50ml water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, then boil, swirling occasionally, until syrup reaches 154°C on a sugar thermometer (about 4 minutes after boiling; hard crack stage). Remove from heat and whisk in bicarbonate of soda (be careful, honeycomb is hot and will foam up). Working quickly, pour honeycomb into prepared tin and set aside to cool and set (45 minutes to 1 hour). When cool, break into shards with the tip of a knife. Honeycomb will keep stored in an airtight container for 3 days.
- 5Bring brownie to room temperature (an hour before serving). Gently warm sides of tin with a blowtorch or a hot, damp tea towel and remove brownie. Top with honeycomb and cacao nibs and serve with cream. (A hot knife will make it easier to slice.) Brownie will keep in an airtight container for a week.
Lee recommends Mariage Frères Earl Grey French Blue tea, available from La Belle Miette (labellemiette.com.au). Agar agar, a setting agent derived from seaweed, is available from health-food shops and Asian grocers.