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Blender beetroot brownie

Servings: 6
This oozy, gluten-free skillet sweetie takes inspiration from Claudia Roden’s world-famous orange-almond cake, where oranges are boiled until completely soft, then used to give both flavour and moisture to an almond meal base. Except I’ve brownie-fied this with the addition of dark chocolate and whizzed it into a wintery wonderland with beetroot. I’m especially enamoured with the colour – a kind of deep burgundy that could almost be red-velvet – and the flavour of chocolate Jaffas. I like to keep this brownie quite gooey in the middle (like a lava cake), but if you’d prefer to slice and be more sensible, bake it for a little longer.
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Ingredients 

  • 1 orange preferably organic
  • 1 beetroot beet of a similar size to the orange, plus 1 small finely sliced beetroot
  • 200 g 7 oz butter, melted
  • 200 g 7 oz dark chocolate, melted, plus 50 g (13/4 oz) extra, chopped for the top
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup 220 g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 cups 200 g almond meal
  • ½ cup 75 g plain (all-purpose) gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup 55 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup 70 g walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt flakes yoghurt to serve

Instructions 

  • Boil the orange and beetroot together in a saucepan, topping up with boiling water from a kettle regularly to keep them covered. Cook for about 1 hour, until both are soft, and you can put a skewer through them.
  • Line a 20 cm x 30 cm (8 inch x 12 inch) brownie tin or skillet with baking paper. (I line all the way up the sides if I’m using a brownie tin and plan to turn the whole thing out, but for the skillet version, simply lining the base of the pan will do.)
  • When the beetroot is cool enough to handle (but still warm), use some paper towel or a teaspoon to create some friction and help slip the skin off.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Pop the warm beet in a blender or food processor, along with the orange, butter and the 200 g (7 oz) chocolate. Blitz to combine, keeping the machine whirring until a smooth purée forms. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla and blitz until incorporated.
  • In a bowl, mix together the almond meal, flour, cocoa, walnuts and baking powder, then add these to your blitz-machine and give it a few pulses, until the lumps of flour have mostly incorporated – but not too much, lest you bake a brick!
  • Pour the batter into the brownie tin or skillet, then dot with the extra chocolate and beetroot slices. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the brownie is fudgey and still moist. Don’t bother doing the skewer test … it’ll lead you astray.
  • Allow to cool slightly before digging in. Serve warm with yoghurt as a decadent pudding, or cut into small slices for lunchboxes and mid-afternoon snacking. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, where it’ll happily keep for at least 1 week (but who are we kidding here?).

Notes

Tip
I use a mandoline to thinly slice the beetroot for garnishing, but you can also peel it into strips using a vegetable peeler.
Shortcut
Before baking, scoop out 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the batter for zapping it in a microwave-proof mug to make a mug cake. It’s not as oozy, but if you’re desperate and can’t wait, the option is there for you.
This recipe appears in the purple section from In Praise of Veg.

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