Beet brownies

Beetroots

They are warm in both color and taste. Sweet, earthy and really beautiful. There are three different varieties always available at the markets here in Southern California. The golden beet with its orange color, the red beet with its dark, purple red meat and the chioggia which is a white red striped beet.

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A few days ago I used all three different varieties in a beet salad with walnut and rye bread crumbles and a buttermilk, sheep ricotta foam. Roasted the red and orange beet and left the chioggia raw to show off its amazing beauty.

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I was left with lots of red beet. Once I saw a brownie recipe from Georgina Fuggle, who is a British chef, and she used beet in her brownies. So I thought to give it a try, because I really love brownies. There is nothing different than in any other brownies, except for adding grated beets. It turned out really good. In certain spots you can actually taste the beets, and it is a really rich, gooey yummy brownie.

I made a small portion, as you can see in this loaf tin. Because of the richness of the brownie I think this is easily good for 6-8 portions. Especially if you follow my lead and serve it with an eggnog (or vanilla) ice cream and a caramel sauce 🙂

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Ingredients for the above size:

  • 4.5 oz good quality 70% dark chocolate
  • 3.5 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp of instant good quality espresso coffee
  • 1/4 lb cleaned, grated raw red beetroot (about 2 smaller ones)
  • 2 eggs, beaten to very good foamy state
  • 7 oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

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Instructions

  • Heat oven to 360 F.
  • Butter a loaf tin, line it with parchment and butter the parchment too.
  • Melt dark chocolate, coffee granulates and butter on low heat, very gently.
  • When completely melted, mix in grated beets, sugar and well beaten eggs.
  • Sift in flour and cocoa powder and a pinch of salt
  • Combine very well.
  • Pour batter into the tin.
  • Place on middle rack in the oven.
  • Turn down heat to 350F after about 5 minutes.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, but keep checking. Exterior should be crunchy, inside gooey.
  • Let it cool completely in the tin.
  • Serve it with eggnog ice cream and caramel sauce for the holidays 🙂 or just with fresh red fruits. The first version will be a pretty heavy dessert option.

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TIP:    You can make caramel sauce by caramelizing cane sugar in a heavy bottom pan, and adding heavy cream to it and melting them together. Or just simply adding brown sugar to heavy cream, bringing all to a boil and cook it for a little while.

 

 

 

 

Plum financier

Next to the madeleine, the financier is probably the most popular little French cake, common street food for morning or afternoon snacking. The cake’s name probably comes from the fact that a financier resembles a solid gold brick. Curiously, as popular as they are, financiers seldom appear in recipe books or in French literature.

The secret to a good financier is in the baking: For a good crust, they must begin baking in a very hot oven. Then the temperature is reduced to keep the interior moist. Placing the molds on a thick baking sheet while they are in the oven is an important baking hint from the Left Bank pastry chef Jean-Luc Poujauran, who worked for months to perfect his financiers, which are among the best in Paris.” – Epicurious

My version has plums in it, because I need to use those beautiful, flavorful market plums and it is such a great fruit when it starts baking. And it goes so perfectly with the almond taste of these little cute financiers.

You can of course experiment with any kind of fruits but make sure the one you choose will not release too much juice, and ruins the texture of the financier.

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Ingredients for 9 financiers

  • 3 1/4 oz unsalted butter, plus some extra for greasing the tin
  • 4 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 10 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 plums, each sliced into 8 slivers, sprinkled with cinnamon and golden cane sugar if very tart (you will have a few slivers left)
  • icing sugar and toasted almond to serve

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Instructions

  1. Prepare a muffin tin with at least 9 holes and grease them very well with butter. This will help in developing a nice crust on the outside of your petit financier.
  2. Melt butter completely and transfer into a small bowl and let it cool a little bit.
  3. In a bowl mix egg whites and almond extract. Don’t have to whip the egg whites, just mix properly.
  4. In another bowl add flour, almond flour, sugar and pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add egg whites to the dry mixture, mixing well.
  6. Gradually pour in the melted butter, mixing constantly, to achieve pancake batter texture.      TIP      I suggest to have some extra melted butter and almond flour by hand in case you need to adjust batter. In baking the variables are endless, and anything that works at sea level in my dry kitchen with my home grounded almond flour, will very well may not be exactly the same in your home!
  7. Pour butter in muffin tin, filling each hole only to 1/3. You want some pretty short financiers.
  8. Arrange 3-4 plum slivers in each one.
  9. Start baking in a hot oven, around 410 F. Bake only for 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it. If you see any quick browning around the edge, turn the heat down.
  10. After 8 minutes turn the temperature to 320F and finish baking. From this point they will need around 8 more minutes.

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You can serve the financiers warm, with a little bit of caramelized plum and tarragon sauce on the side. If you wish so, here is my version. Don’t be scared of combining plum and tarragon. It is a really great match! If it is really new for you, add just a little tarragon first, and taste after a bit of cooking and you will see if you like the combination and if you want to add more of this fragrant herb.

Ingredients for caramelized plum and tarragon sauce

  • 1 pound of black plum, pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup of golden cane sugar
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • chopped tarragon – according to your taste, I suggest 1 tablespoon

Instrucions

  1. Sprinkle sugar evenly in a thick bottom pan. Put on medium heat and without stirring let it melt and then caramelized. Be careful, not to burn it!
  2. Once it is caramelized, add plums and lemon juice and give it a stir.
  3. Once starts bubbling, reduce heat, add tarragon and start cooking without lid on.
  4. Cook it to a texture you want, depending on whether you want to have chunks of plum or you want it more sauce-y.
  5. Taste at some point and add more lemon juice or tarragon if needed.

 

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