There’s a tin of cherry pie filling at the back of my baking cupboard. I don’t remember buying it but I’ve recently had a clear out and have been wanting to do something to use it up. It’s the sort with cherries in a thickened syrup-y sauce so made me think of black forest gateaux… but with Jef tenaciously fasting three days a week there’s little point in making a great big cake. How about… muffins? Nah. Hmm. Brownies? I had a look online for recipes and quickly realised that the pie filling was not going to work – a 400g tin, too much for a pan of brownies. It would end up as chocolate cherry soup. So, it went back in the cupboard for another day but by then, the idea of black forest brownies was firmly set in my head so that’s what I made.
So, on my last post I mentioned I’d been out a-walking? Well, I wandered past the pond I’d found in Shenley Church End and heard a quacking so went to look: two ducks scolding each other. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a heron standing perfectly still on the other side of the water, looking for all the world like one of the statues I used to sell at Past Times. Then he turned his head and I knew he was real. We eyed each other up for a moment and I took his photo a couple of times. Then he decided he’d had enough of being admired, and took to the sky, as you can see from the photos above. (The yellow one top-right was me playing around in iPhoto! See, now I’m going to have to write a story about herons or cranes or birds, just so I can use that as the cover…)
Black Forest Brownies (original recipe here)
Makes ~24 mini bites, or ~12 more substantial brownies.
- 100g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
- 4 tbsp cold, strong coffee – I’ve been experimenting with fridge brewed coffee so used some of this
- 100g butter, softened
- 200g light soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 100g plain flour
- 150g fresh cherries, pitted and halved (This is most of a punnet but with enough left over for the cook to enjoy a handful!)
- 75g dried cherries. (I used some nice morello ones)
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease and line an 18cm square cake tin with baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate and coffee together in the microwave. (I thought it might end up grainy – it didn’t!)
- Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk until light and pale. Gradually beat in the eggs, then add the flour and the melted chocolate/coffee and mix until smooth.
- Fold in the cherries – fresh and dried – and pour the mixture into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes. (The original recipe suggested an hour. Madness.) Allow to cool completely in the tin then dust with icing sugar.
- Carefully remove from the tin and cutting into the desired number of squares.