Nearly vegan


APPLE PUREE BROWNIES

To help keep up morale during a hectic rehearsal schedule this week in London, and to earn a few extra brownie points, I made some motivational sweet treats for the team. Our harpsichordist extraordinaire is a vegan, so I wanted him to be able to tuck in too.

I remembered guzzling a scrumptious brownie that dairy free MS had served at a party last year in Paris, and being (tipsily) impressed when she told me she'd used apple puree instead of butter. I asked her for the recipe and got an immediate reply, direct from her shoot in Bratislava. Cake waits for no man.

Of course I only realised after I'd baked it that it contains EGGS and is therefore, OBVIOUSLY, not vegan. Whoops. Sorry, lightning fingers.

For any non-vegans out there, this is for you. I've yet to find a dairy or oil free brownie that tastes this GOOD. The apple puree serves as a genuine alternative to butter, yet there is no apple taste at all. The brownies are chocolate packed, low in sugar, and have a crumbly, moussy texture. I slightly adapted the original recipe by replacing the flour with corn flour, and adding some vanilla and extra cocoa. So they're gluten free, too. Try adding a teaspoon of cardamom or coffee, for a twist.

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Apple puree brownies

Makes one tray or about 16 cupcakes, 20 minutes prep plus 20 minutes baking time

dessert / baking / perennial / quietly smug / easy peasy / ready in a jiffy / party / vegetarian / gluten free / dairy free / detox

If you're planning on eating this on the move, go for the cupcake option. The brownies are very crumbly so are difficult to eat with your fingers if tray-baked. And less photogenic.

* Apples - 3 large, peeled, cored and chopped

* Vanilla - 1/4 pod

* Dark chocolate - 150g

* Sugar - 70g

* Eggs - 3

* Corn flour - 3 tbsp

* Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp

* Baking powder - 1 tbsp

* Salt - a pinch

(Optional - a couple of handfuls of pecan nuts)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

First, make the apple puree. Put the apple in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and the vanilla. Cook over a medium heat, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the apple has disintegrated. Stir occasionally.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and fluffy. Stir in the melted chocolate.

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix to combine.

Once the apple is soft, either use a hand blender to blend it to a smooth pulp, or use the back of a spoon to push it through a coarse sieve. Add to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.

If making a tray of brownies: thoroughly grease and flour a small baking tray. Pour in the mixture and bake for about 18 minutes. The mixture will look cooked around the outside and a little soft in the middle. It will firm up when it cools. Leave to cool completely in the pan, then slice and serve.

For cupcakes: fill up each cupcake case with cake mixture and place a couple of pecans on top, if using. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cupcakes look cooked on the surface. Leave to cool and set.

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@2016 by Lucy Rose Page