"Cherry chocolate and sugar, like love in a bowl
Drowned in a soft blanket, that cools the soul,
A pudding of sorts, with a combination so new
Ok, I might have had a disaster, and run to the rescue!
But in the end, it's a dessert for your summer day
Can you tell it was born from error? Nope, no way.."
If you read the poem above, and tried to decipher what my words were implying, you might have guessed that this pudding arose from a slight disaster. A disaster gone right in the end of course!
I have two main issues with baking. One - measurements, and two - greasing the baking pans. I mean, why even have the option of non-stick trays when you still need to grease them?! I never have a cooking spray handy (in fact I don't think I've ever bought one!), and in the constant hurry that feel to taste the baked creation, I almost always forget to grease the baking dish. Ok, maybe sometimes I am pure lazy and hope it doesn't stick - specially if I am using those mini muffin pans. For who really has the patience to line 24 little pockets when that batter smells sooooo good and is begging to be cooked? Nope, not me.
So on this fine day, I was making a batch of fresh cherry chocolate wholewheat brownie bites, and had absolutely no intentions of going beyond that. But alas, the greasing was skipped and out came the perfectly fudgy gooey-ness that half stuck to the pan. Royally annoying. And while trying to rescue them from the crevices and sending random text updates about it to the husband (who couldn't care less if they were broken or whole as he would eat them any way!), I decided it's time to embrace the disfigured brownies, and create a pudding instead. What? I like to pretty desserts. Don't judge me.
Anyway, so these happened. They turned out to be delicious. And now nothing else matters.
For the brownies
5 oz semisweet dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa
1 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of vanilla essence
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (Indian atta)
1 cup fresh ripe cherries, pitted and cut into pieces
For the thickened milk syrup
1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons condensed milk
1 tablespoon corn starch or plain custard powder
Make the brownies
This is my classic brownie recipe, with a few substitutions - fresh seasonal juicy cherries in place of nuts/chocolate chips and healthier wholewheat flour (commonly known as Atta in India) instead of that over processed white flour.
Sift together the flour and salt and keep aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease (yes pls grease!!) a brownie dish or mini muffin pans and keep aside.
Melt together the chocolate and butter on a water bath (i.e. in a pot placed over another pot of simmering water) till smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder & sugar, and mix well. Let the mixture cool a bit. Once cooled, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla essence and finally add the flour + salt mixture. Mix just enough to incorporate the flour into the batter. Finally add the cherries, reserving some to sprinkle on top.
Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes, till a toothpick comes out almost clean, with little bits of cooked batter sticking to it. Unlike cake, if you wait for the toothpick to come out completely clean, the centre would have overcooked a bit and dry out. Also, if you are using a mini muffin pan, they'll bake much quicker (under 20 minutes), so keep an eye (and nose!) out for them. You definitely do not want to over bake these - after all a brownie is only as good as it's fudgy gooey centre! However, if you do overbake them, rest assured that this pudding will cover all your flaws. That's the sheer beauty of rescue recipes ;)
Once baked, cool the brownies to room temperature. These can be stored in airtight container for a week in cool weather. In summer, I'd store them in the fridge after 1-2 days.
Make the thickened milk syrup
In a deep pot, bring 1.5 cups of milk + condensed milk to a boil. Mix the corn starch or custard powder in 2 tbsp milk, and slowly add to the simmering milk. The mixture will begin to thicken. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, and let the milk thicken to half its initial volume. Pour the syrup in dessert pots, and refrigerate to chill - it will thicken further.
When ready to eat, warm the brownies a little and crush them on top of the chilled syrup, Add more syrup on top if you have extra, and enjoy!