Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dragon-fruit Double Chocolate Brownie with Chocolate Dulce de Leche




"I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not
be true, but do I dare take the chance? "


The first time I ever ate a brownie was at Nahomes’ in Kolkata, India. It was during school days, that a christian friend of mine introduced me to the oldest bakery at New Market in Kolkata.I never had tasted anything quite like it and since then brownies took over the top spot of cakes in my ‘love-it-list’.

I loved placing bets..still do.. (mostly because I won....and before your mind starts wandering, it was just for fun and strictly non-monetary) on silly things, like “you bet we won’t have tuitions today”…or “I bet the project submission dates will be extended..” etc etc.

And the prize would always be (yes you guessed it !) either a Cadbury’s Perk/Crackle or a Nahomes’ Brownie.

FYI- I still place such bets and almost always win!! ;p



The most important aspect of a brownie, for anyone who loves brownies, is texture.
I generally prefer a brownie, somewhere between chewy and fudgy. However I made this of the third kind—cakey.

A cakey brownie has a moist crumb and a slightly fluffy interior. The batter contains less butter than the other recipes, and I include milk for moistness (the milk is a great way to extend a brownie's shelf life). I don't use much flour and while brownies don't usually use chemical leavens, I add some baking powder to keep this cakey brownie light.

When I mix cakey brownies, I use a bit of cake-baking technique, too: creaming the butter and sugar first (rather than melting the butter) and then whisking the batter to aerate the mixture and get a light crumb. I think this brownie improves on sitting at least one and even two days after you bake it.







I used dragon fruits in this brownie to give it an exotic taste and feel.

As we all know I love experimenting with different flavours and cooking techniques in my lab...err..kitchen. Take for example the microwave tarts , chana dal medhu vada, fruit and nut malpua, steamed squash dumplings, my exotic trifle, macha tea & coffee cake, chives n shrimp balls, my style krusczyki, chicken lollies....and the list continues! ;p



Dragon fruits-
A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas). These fruits are commonly known as dragon fruits.

By eating the highly nutritional pitaya fruit, you gain all of the general health benefits of the pitaya nutrients simply because pitaya fruit is a great all around healthy fruit to eat with lots of beneficial nutrients which are readily metabolized from the natural pitahaya fruit (For example, dragon fruit vitamin C is more easily absorbed than vitamin C from a pill supplement).

One special health benefit of dragon fruit is that ot helps control levels of glucose blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. Its a store house of dietary fibre and Vitamin C.


Dragon-fruit Brownie with Chocolate Dulce de Leche

Ingredients-
Dragon-fruit Brownie

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dragon fruit pulp & juice
¼ cup or less warm milk


Method-


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

First sieve the flour, baking powder, coffee and salt. Keep aside.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar and margarine with vanilla extract. Add half of the milk to this.

Microwave the semi-sweet chocolate chips for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Cut the dragon fruit in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon.

Note: Since the seeds are slightly bitter in taste, I used half the pulp; and used the juice of the other half (with a strainer).

Whisk the wet ingredients into dry. Add the pulp and the dragon fruit juice to this. Add more milk, if required. Pour in your choice of baking tray.
Bake for approx. 30 minutes. Keep a check.

Tip: Brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging. It's okay for the pick to look moist, but if you see wet batter, keep baking.

One last word: although it's awfully tempting to cut into a pan of just-baked brownies, hold off. The flavor and texture of this brownie will be at its best—and definitely worth waiting for—when completely cool.


I made two brownies and sandwhiched them together with a layer of chocolate buttercream in between. You can try this icing too.
Then topped my brownie with some fresh Chantilly and drizzled with the Chocolate Dulce de Leche .







For Chocolate Dulce de Leche-
(This is my version for simplicity sake!)
I added chocolate chunks to the condensed milk to add flavour. You can use your choice of flavouring or keep it plain too.



In a microwave safe pie dish, empty half a can (200 gm/7 ounces) of condensed milk. Add ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over it. Stir in a pinch of sea-salt.
Cover tightly, twice with MW safe cling foil.
Place this in a deeper baking tray (MW safe) filled a little over half with water.
MW on medium high for 8-10 minutes. Keep checking mid way through.
(Adjust time/temperature setting according to your MW oven).
Once done, let cool. Whisk until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.





Now for some history lesson--
It is said that Dulce de Leche originated in Argentina in 1829 in the providence of Cañuelas in Buenos Aires. Two opposing forces were on the brink of ending a war. The General Lavalle and the General Manuel de Rosas came together in order to make a treaty.

The General Lavalle arrived very tired at the campo of General Manuel de Rosas. Manuel de Rosas wasn’t in the camp at the moment so General Lavalle entered into his tent and took a nap.

While the General Lavalle was napping a serving woman was preparing “la lechada” for the camp. “La lechada” is prepared by heating sugar and milk. The woman went to speak with the General Manuel de Rosas in his tent, but when she entered she discovered the enemy. She didn’t know about the treaty the two generals were about to make, so she ran to find soldiers.

The General Manuel de Rosas arrived moments before the soldiers, and stopped them from waking the sleeping General Lavalle. In the chaos, the woman forgot about “la lechada.”
When she remembered and checked on “la lechada,” she noticed that it had become a dark brown jelly substance. It is said that a very (brave) and hungry soldier tried the jelly and then dulce de leche was born.


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I send this to Lore of Culinarty, for her monthly event.




Also, this was a dry run for my Valentines' day dessert recipe. Wait and watch for Feb 14th! :)
I share this lovely dessert with The Alchemist Chef's Valentines' Day Recipe Competition, who is striving to have a great collection of recipes before the "Celebration of Love" day !
--0--
Another V-day giveway notice( if it interests you)--
Check this place for a surprise V-day basket of goodies!

52 comments:

  1. Wowoww wat a delicious cake, send me some would love to have this delish immediately, u always come with unique dishes...hats off Navita!!!

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  2. Like you, I prefer my brownies fudgy and chewy. The addition of dragonfruit is very creative here!

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  3. I love how you incorporated dragon fruit into a cake...great plating too!

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  4. Cool! Double whammy with Chocolate! :)

    Waiting for V day to see what you are baking!

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  5. I learned about Dragon Fruit recently, posted about it on Fizz. Love the theory at the top, why take chances indeed?

    AV
    http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
    http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/
    http://thingsthatfizz.blogspot.com/

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  6. The plating looks beautiful and the brownie looks absolutely delicious! I like your comment about waiting until the brownies are completely cool before cutting into them, so the flavor and texture are at their best...but I think I would have a very difficult time waiting. :)

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  7. Navita, this is a beautiful dessert and I love your presentation. Dragon fruit sounds interesting. Can I find it in a regular store?

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  8. Bookmarked...awesome navi awesome...the brownie is so tempting that i crave for it now
    and dragon fruit,that sounds even greater !!

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  9. No probs navi,just mix it and steam in a steamer

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  10. Wow - your brownie looks beautiful and mouthwatering and your pictures are, as usual, stunning! I would love to try dragon fruit, but it's too exotic for my little corner of the boonies! And I LOVE dulce de leche!

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  11. My hubby loves tres leche cake, I should make this for him...love the post, and you are so right about the betting stuff, funny!

    Also, not sure if you know I cook for an Indian family here in Jersey, so many of my foods are spicy with the curry powders, I love it!

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  12. Awesome brownie, looks tempting...thanks for letting me know about the gum, plan to try that sometime soon :-)

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  13. Your brownie looks absolutely divine!!

    Rosie x

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  14. I don't know how the dragon fruit tastes as I've never seen any in Greece but I have made dulce di leche and it is fantastic, although I did it the traditional way. Your brownies are making me drool.

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  15. Beautiful dessert and gorgeous photo!

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  16. Scrumptious brownies!!! I love Dulce de leche, so sweet and delicious!

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  17. Hi Navita! I got your invitation to stop by your site and I think it's great!! I'm lucky that the first recipe I see is brownies - one of my faves. The dragon fruit really caught my eye and I love how you've incorporated both nutritional information and history lessons. This blog has a little bit of everything. I look forward to going through your archives and seeing future posts! Thanks for visiting my site, too!

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  18. Wow, I love the way u presented like a pro! Very tempting!

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  19. This looks delicious! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I hope you'll come back soon :-)

    ~Monica

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  20. Wow, Navita! That picture is beautiful! :)

    I have had dragon fruit before on two separate occasions and it really didn't taste like much to me - kind of like kiwi, which I am not too big on anyway. But it really is one of the most beautiful fruits!

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  21. Hi Navita, thanks for stopping by my blog, it was good to hear from you!

    I love this recipe, can you taste the dragon fruit in the finished brownie? I often see them for sale at my local market, they look fantastic but I've never bought one because I didn't know what to do with it!

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  22. I love the cakey texture of this brownie, dragon fruit looks beautiful, ever since I saw a picture of it I have been looking for it - No luck.

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  23. Thank you for visiting my blog and the nice comments. Your dessert looks very good. I do not know if we have dragonfruit available where I live but I am going to look. My son drinks this foul Sobe drink that claims to have dragonfruit. It smells good but the taste is too sweet. Then again, it's a processed drink. I definately want to try your brownie!

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  24. I like my brownies chewy and dense but these do sound great, I like something different... The dragon fruit certainly makes it different!!!

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  25. How neat! I just made brownies a couple of days ago myself. I used the recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything book and added chocolate chips.

    We can't get dragon fruit here. We've had it in Vancouver (Canada) before, but you can't get the really fresh ones there either.

    Your brownies look really yummy!

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  26. This looks so good, I've never had fresh dragonfruit before!

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  27. I've always wanted to taste dragon fruit. I bet these brownies are SO good!! :D

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  28. those brownies looks delicious. Iam a great fan of brownies.

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  29. Hey thanks for dropping by......currently holidaying in India...so was off from blogosphere...brownie looks fluffy and lip smacking

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  30. Now that's what I call indulgence! Luscious!!!
    Love how dulce de leche binds the two brownie layers together.
    Btw it's completely true, chocolate slows the aging process ;)
    Thanks for sharing your creation with the Original Recipes Round-Up :)

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  31. just reading the title it already brought me to heaven!! yummy!! love it

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  32. WOW, i love how you incorporated Dragon Fruit, and the dulce de leche brown layers.. YUM, this is fabulous, it really is. I can't wait to see what you post next!

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  33. Hi Navita ! Thanks for stopping by my blog...reading your brownie post was very interesting, especially about the fruit part...a fruit I have never even heard about !!! This world is so interesting, isn't it!
    I wonder what fruit I could use in this recipe that I could find in the Northeast United States???

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  34. I agree with Girl Japan, it is so innovative for you to include dragon fruit! I have never had dragon fruit with cake--just alone, but your great idea has definitely inspired me!

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  35. What an interesting idea to put the dragon fruit in there! I think I'm going to have to take up betting if I can get brownies out of it ;-)

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  36. Navita This is awesome!! and georgeous!! I love Dulce de Leche, is one of my favorites and this recipe look wonderful!!! Gloria

    Thanks to stopping by at my Blog!! Love yours!!

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  37. I want to have them, it looks so temptingly delicious.

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  38. The presentation is lovely! I would love this dessert!

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  39. Wow... looks tempting! Drooling here... Is that slice.. for me? Thats a nice piece of info..

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  40. Thanks for dropping by my blog. This is a lovely dessert. Looks so moist. Never had dragon fruit before. I'll be following your updates on Google Reader. Have a great day.

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  41. This looks wonderful! I don't think I've ever seen dragon fruit before, but I've never really looked. I had no idea about all its health benefits. I'll have to make this sometime soon!

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  42. How interesting Dragon Fruit is. It looks like a cross between a kiwi and a california cactus fruit. :) I love the ease of your recipe for chocolate dulce de leche! One of my husbands favorites. Love your blog.. you write wonderfully! :)

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  43. Hi Navita!

    Never tasted a brownie with a dragon fruit, chocolate and the super dulce de leche my favourite! So delicious and gorgeous recipe to give it a try! A truly pleasure to stay at your yummy blog! :)

    All the best!
    Gera

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  44. I like your presentation skills. It looks yummy. I had dulce de leche cake (wasn't chocolate though) once last year and I loved it. Haven't had a chance to make it though.

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  45. drooling over those .. lovely pics

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  46. Lovely job with these! Dragonfruit is delicious!

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  47. The thought of dulce de leche with chocolate is making my hungry. Sounds so good!

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  48. This is both delicious looking and tasting. I've tried this before different variations. This is pure delight and I would surely make them again.

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