Mini Brownie Pies
Dislike mince pies? How about this chocolate-y festive alternative?
Mince pies have been a festive favourite since their invention. I think mince pies are overrated, BUT I am still open to discover a mince pie that’s worth the hype – send me your suggestions in the comments! In the mean time, I thought I’d make a festive alternative that included pastry and the well-loved brownie.
This recipe was a bit fidgety to start with, but I have a slightly weird but effective way of making the pastry cases using the underside of a cupcake/muffin baking tray (especially as I don’t have tartlet baking cases yet).
For the pastry
8 oz. plain flour, plus extra
1 1/2 oz. icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
4 oz. unsalted butter, chilled cut into cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tbsp. cold water
For the brownie filling
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
6 oz. butter, room temperature
6 oz. soft dark brown sugar
3-4 oz. caster sugar
5 oz. plain flour, sifted
For the egg wash
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. caster sugar
- Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes or until cold.
- Sift the flour and sugar into a food processor attached with a knife blade. Add the butter and begin pulsing for 15-20 seconds or until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Empty the mixture into the cold bowl, make a well in the centre, add the egg, and start combining. Add a little cold water if necessary until the mixture starts to come together to form a soft, pliable dough. Avoid kneading or overworking the dough.
- Divide the dough into two and form into discs. Wrap with clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust your work surface with flour, then start to roll one of the dough discs until it becomes quite thin. Use a 4-inch round cutter to cut out the shells. Then gently and carefully mould the shells on the underside of a nonstick cupcake/muffins tray.
- Repeat step 4 with the other dough disc.
- Re-roll the off cuts if you need to more pastry shells. Also, with the remaining dough, cut out 12 stars and place them on a tray lined with greaseproof baking paper.
- Once you have 12 pastry shells and 12 stars place them in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170o Celsius.
- Place the shells in top shelf for 15 minutes or until they turn a pale golden colour. Keep your eye on the time as they bake quite quickly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly for a about a minute, then carefully remove them. Turn the cupcake/muffin tray the right side up then place the shells in the holes while they are still warm as they will mould into shape. Set aside.
- Make the brownie filling by first placing the chocolate and cocoa powder into a medium-sized heatproof bowl.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, pour it into the bowl with the chocolate and cocoa powder. Whisk until you have smooth melted chocolate. If it doesn’t fully melt, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (like a bain marie), and continue to whisk.
- While the chocolate mixture is still hot, add the soft dark brown sugar and mix well. Add 3 oz. caster sugar and continue to mix until fully incorporated.
- Next sift in the plain flour and 1 egg. Mix well then add another egg. Mix well again then add the third egg. Continue to mix until you have a smooth batter. Taste the batter to check for sweetness. If it needs more sugar stir in the remaining ounce of caster sugar.
- Prepare the shells by placing a strip of baking paper underneath each one to make it easier to pull out once fully baked.
- Spoon the batter into a piping bag and pipe into the shells. Alternatively, spoon the brownie mix into the shells.
- Place the stars on top, then brush lightly with the egg wash ensuring that it only goes on the star toppings.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the star turns golden and the brownie starts to form a crust.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Next, gently remove the shells from the baking tray and lightly dust with icing sugar.
- You can serve brownie pie with custard or whipped cream. You can warm up the brownie pies before serving for that extra touch of decadence. Enjoy!