Alexander Kapranos brownies

Inspired by the man who gave us one of the most lulzy and beety photoshoots known to humanity, I present: the Alexander Kapranos brownies, featuring beetroot and red wine. I don’t know, it just seemed right at the time. Recipe after the cut.

This is a variation of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s fantastic beetroot brownies, which I’ve made many times before.

250g chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
250g dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa solids), broken into squares
250g caster sugar
3 eggs
400ml red wine*
200g wholemeal self-raising flour
250g beetroot, finely grated (fresh or tinned, remove the skin if fresh)

*Make it a reasonably nice one that seems like it would go well in a brownie. I used a cabernet merlot (the label of which alleged flavours of blackcurrant, cassis and plum — yes, blackcurrant and cassis, as if cassis isn’t actually blackcurrant-flavoured) just because I’ve had it lying around since I won it in a baking competition (how apropos).

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease with butter and line a large brownie tin (~20x30cm, 5cm deep).

While waiting for the oven to heat, put the wine in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil. Bring it down to a simmer then let it stay this way until it has reduced down to about 130ml (1/3 of a cup). Be careful as it reduces quite quickly. Put this reduced wine aside to cool.

Put the cubed butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl and either melt over a bain marie or in a microwave (Heston Blumenthal condones this so it must be ok). Stir once or twice during the process then once it’s all completely melted, whisk with a fork to combine properly until glossy.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until smooth. Stir in the chocolate mixture until well combined, then use a fork to whisk in the reduced wine. Sift in the flour and stir to mix (be careful not to over-mix) then fold in the grated beetroot.

Pour into the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester or skewer comes out relatively clean but with maybe a few crumbs sticking to it. Don’t overcook the brownies – it’s better to undercook them than overcook them, so err on the side of less baking time if you’re unsure.

Stand the brownie cake in the tray until cooled to room temperature (this makes it a lot more solid and easy to handle). You could take it out of the tin, cut it, dust it with Dutch processed cocoa and serve it now, but I try to make the brownies at least a day before I intend to serve them, as it seems to give the sugars in the beetroot more time to break down and gives a better flavour. In which case, I refrigerate the brownies overnight then cut them directly after taking them out of the fridge, when they’re firm and very easy to cut. Then they’re left to come to room temperature for serving.

Enjoy their beety goodness in concert with perhaps some stunning Russian Constructivism-inspired imagery featuring Mr Kapranos. Or, you know, a video about beetroots.

  4 comments for “Alexander Kapranos brownies

  1. March 19, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Hi, I’m a friend of Natasha’s, and after giving me weekly updates of what you bring in to work she finally sent me your blog…so “hello” from one food blogger to another! I’m jealous of Tash for getting to eat all these treats!

  2. Jess
    March 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Hey Jenn, Tash sent me the link for your blog a few weeks back and there was just meal after meal that I wanted to take note of for inspiration (or so I could just try to replicate them, haha). There’s some awesomely creative stuff there – I feel like I need to up the ante with my baking now. ;)

  3. Natasha
    March 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Look at me, bringing people together across countries. You also both have curly hair, coincidence??

  4. Jess
    March 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I’m pretty sure the gene for curly hair and the gene for blogging about food have been shown to be associated by linkage studies. Not sure of the reference just now…

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