Brownie Pudding

Brownie pudding – how fabulous does that sound?!  Turns out it’s pretty fabulous.  It’s the latest exception to my rule against eating pudding that isn’t really pudding (corn pudding, rice pudding – you get the idea).  I bet it’s even more amazing if you serve it warm from the oven.  I didn’t have that luxury today.  I needed the oven for the beef roast so I made the dessert yesterday.  Still, it’s awfully good.  And I did serve it with ice cream as recommended.  I’m glad I only made a half recipe or I’d be eating it for all three meals and a snack or two tomorrow!

As I’ve mentioned before there’s not a lot of room for substitutions or monkeying with the recipe when you’re baking, unless you’re much more skilled than I.  About all you can do other than change the flavor if chips if they’re called for is halve or double the recipe, and even that’s dicey sometimes.  I did halve this recipe specifically so there wouldn’t be leftovers.  The only other change I made was to use vanilla extract instead of scraping a bean.  I figured since the recipe allowed for framboise a little liquid wouldn’t hurt.

One of the nice things about this is that the butter is melted so you don’t have to remember to take it out to soften.  You do need to take the eggs out so they can get to room temperature, but if you get a little behind just set them near the oven as it preheats.  I recommend making this batter in a stand mixer.  You mix the eggs and sugar for a long time.  It’s completely doable with a hand mixer, but it’s nice to be able to walk away from it and do something else.  And here’s a tip on melting the butter.  Do it in the microwave in 15 second increments.  Stir in between each one.  You’ll be done when there’s still just a lump or two of butter in the dish.  As you stir that last bit will melt.  If you do it this way you it won’t get too hot and you won’t have to wait for it to cool before you add it.

One thing that makes this unique is that you bake it in a water bath.  Here’s my advice on that.  Put the water in in the larger pan BEFORE you set the batter filled pan down in it.  If you put the batter filled pan in first you risk splashing water into your brownie batter.  I recommend testing the water level with the empty pan before you add the batter.  That way you don’t risk over-filling the water pan.  And do this all as close to the oven as you can.  You don’t want to have to walk too far with your batter in the water bath.

The recipe instructs you to put a cake tester in close to the edge to test for doneness.  If you do that it will break the crust on top.  At least it did mine.  This is a thick, almost cookie like crust so it will be no small hole.  More like an ice breaking ship plowing through frozen waters.  If you know how your oven normally does in terms of time and temp when you’re baking just trust that.  On the other hand you’re going to have to break this up to serve it, so maybe it doesn’t matter that much.  You just don’t want the inside to dry out.  The inside is very soft and very rich.  If you like chewy brownies (instead of cakey ones) you’re going to love this.

Oh, one more thing.  You use more cocoa powder than flour in this.  Cocoa powder is much lighter than flour.  When you add the dry ingredients to the eggs and sugar the cocoa powder makes a big cloud.  Just be prepared to wipe everything down when you’re done!

I served it by breaking up the top crust and putting some in the bottom of each bowl.  I spooned some brownie pudding insides on top of each cookie crust.  I bought individual ice creams in 5-6 flavors so everyone got to choose their own combination of  brownie and ice cream and got to control the proportions.  I served some fruit for good measure.  Turns out that the first peaches and blackberries of the summer are an excellent accompaniment to soft brownies, brownie cookies and ice cream!

Good? Are you kidding?  Fantastic!
Easy? We’re going to call this intermediate. Precision counts.
Good for company? You bet. Desserts are meant to be shared.
Special shopping? Nope. I didn’t even have to make a store run.

This is the half recipe. I think you could bake it in an 8X8 brownie pan, but I used a small, glass Pyrex dish that measures 6 1/2 x 10.

Brownie Pudding

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cups sugar
3/8 cup good cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t vanilla
Ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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