I made these when my friend Jenny came round. She is gluten intolerant, so brownies seemed like an obvious choice. Wheat flour can easily be substituted for another flour, such as rice flour, or ground almonds, as I’ve used here. Adopting a gluten free lifestyle seems to be all the rage nowadays, whether or not you actually have coeliac disease. Two of my favourite food blogs are by people who don’t eat gluten – Tartlette and La Tartine Gourmande.
Gluten seems to be hidden in a remarkable amount of things. According to a quick Wikipedia glance (the extent of any ‘research’ I do for this blog) gluten is found in cosmetics and hair products. Baking powder often contains gluten – although I’m skeptical of how useful baking powder is. Especially in brownies, as I’ve made them with or without, and can’t see any discernable difference, so I was happy to leave it out here. I’m still a little uncertain as to what gluten actually is – in my local healthfood shop you can buy large packets of a flour-like substance that is simply, and a little bizarrely, just called ‘gluten’.
This recipe was inspired by something I had from the Hummingbird Bakery in London. They produce an amazing concoction: a layer of brownie, topped with a layer of cheesecake, then a layer of vibrantly pink raspberry-flavoured cream. I did away with the separate layers, and swirled a mixture of cream cheese, egg and crushed raspberries into the top of the brownie batter before it goes in the oven. Doing my bit to make coping without bread and pasta a little bit easier.
I used a tin measuring 30cm square, about 4cm deep.
200g dark chocolate
150g butter, softened
80g soft light brown sugar
50g ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
100g cream cheese
60g fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 180C.* Line the tin with baking parchment, making sure it comes all the way up the sides. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Beat the butter and brown sugar together. Stir in the eggs, ground almonds and a pinch of salt. Mix in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level out.
For the cheesecake topping, whisk together the cream cheese and egg with a fork until there are no lumps remaining. Crush about half of the raspberries with a fork and fold into the cream cheese mixture. Swirl the cheesecake mixture into the top of the brownie batter without incorporating it too much. Dot the top with the remaining whole raspberries, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the top is risen and slightly cracked, and the centre is still wobbly. It will firm up when cooled. If you can bear it, leave to cool completely and cut into squares.
* The oven I’m currently using is a retro one without a fan, so if you’ve got a fan oven it’ll be more like 160C, and reduce the cooking time slightly.