We all have a go-to brownie recipe – that favourite hand-me-down recipe that serves as a well-earned afternoon chocolate fix or reliable last-minute pudding. Mine is one I adapted many moons ago from a Delia recipe that must be nearly 40 years old (sorry, Deels!).
But during some recent, imposed ‘rest time’, I decided it was time to revisit the old stalwart and start to play around with my wonderful sourdough starters, keen as I am to use these fabulously fragrant fermented flours in my everyday baking. What I didn’t expect was such a game-changer! Truly.
The recipe I share with you here is a wheat-free recipe that uses a fermented rye starter and a secret ingredient (not so secret anymore!) which means these brownies have amazing keeping qualities and, even a day or so after baking, maintain that deliciously soft, squidgy interior and crunchy outside. In fact, like so many sourdough treats, I’d venture they even improve over time.
125g rye starter* (at approx. 100% hydration), not more than 24 hours old. If using very old starter from the back of the fridge, give it a refresh a few hours before using.
*if you don’t have a rye starter, substitute with one extra egg and 70g rye flour (or ground almonds to make a gluten-free version).
Break your chocolate into little pieces and melt with the butter using your usual method, be it over a pan of hot water, gently in the microwave or at the back of your Aga – the key is do this slowly and gently to preserve the integrity of your good quality chocolate.
Meanwhile, measure out and mix together your ground almonds, salt & baking powder. Weigh out your sugar – regular, granulated is just fine – and prepare your eggs by beating lightly with a fork.
When your butter and chocolate are completely melted, take away from the heat. First add your sugar and stir in, before adding the eggs. Now stir in your rye starter and tahini, mixing well before finally adding the dried ingredients. Mix until just combined, then pour into your lined tin – I recommend a 9 inch square tin for this recipe.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachios. These add a fabulous crunch to the outside of the brownie, but I prefer the middle to remain soft and squidgy and nut-free. The pistachios can be salted or unsalted, but if using the latter, I like to add a frugal sprinkling of salt flakes to the topping.
Allow to cool in the tin. When cold, cut and transfer to an airtight container where they will keep for as long as you’re able to resist them.
Everybody is looking for something different in their perfect brownie. For me, these are Brownie Nirvana. My work here is done.