Using what you have in the fruit bowl is always a good idea, especially when you get to tie together a favourite flavour combination: black Doris plums and dark chocolate. I brought them along with me for night shift, which is standard procedure now – to the point where I feel vaguely guilty if I don’t bake, and all the more relaxed and excited about my shift if I do. I don’t even try and conceal the fact I am the ultimate of feeders at work.
These brownies are fudgy and decadent – to the point where they would be entirely acceptable to serve as a dessert, perhaps with some cream and crushed meringues on the side. If plums aren’t in season, they would also be great with berries – I think it’s nice to have something slightly acidic to cut the density of the brownies and compliment the creaminess of the cheesecake. It’s probably unnecessary for me to go into such details re: the flavours working together – the simple truth is, they just taste good, and thankfully the swirling process means they look sufficiently elegant to serve to other people with very little effort.
Makes around 36 brownies – I couldn’t get to count them before the flatmates and boyfriend had some sneaky pieces (granted, they are just as deserving of treats as my colleagues, so I can hardly kick up a fuss)
- 160g butter
- 1 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa (use the best quality you can find)
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 4 black Doris plums, diced into small pieces
- 200g cream cheese, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C bake. Line a slice tin (25 x 30cm or so) with baking paper. Sprinkle the diced plums with a little sugar to allow the juices to come out to play (that reads so much sleazier on screen than in my head).
- In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until fully liquid. Add 1 and 1/3 cups of the sugar (leaving 1/3 cup for the cheesecake swirl), cocoa, flour, 3 of the eggs and the vanilla essence. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined – careful not to overmix. Mix in the chocolate chips by hand.
- Pour the brownie batter into the slice tin. In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until fluffy, then add the remaining egg and sugar. Add half the plums to the cheesecake mixture and beat on high to allow the plum flavour to be incorporated.
- Drop the cheesecake mix in a rather haphazard fashion on top of the brownie batter (it will nearly completely cover it) and then use a bamboo skewer to swirl it through via attempting to “fold” the batter. Sprinkle the remaining plums on top.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until the centre is just firming up and a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack completely before cutting into squares.