Shiraz fig brownies
My favourite thing about these gluten-free brownies is the intense red-wine syrup (obviously, don't use your best plonk here), simmered until it almost starts to caramelise, which adds a heady fruitiness, and picks out those same notes in the dark chocolate.
Figs, chocolate and wine: what's not to like about these shiraz fig brownies? Photo: William Meppem
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75g ground walnuts or almonds
275g dark muscovado sugar
150g dark chocolate, 70 per cent, broken into pieces
200g unsalted butter, chopped
2 eggs, 60g each
200g soft dried figs, quartered
200g shelled walnut halves
175g gluten-free flour mix, brown or white
extra walnuts, figs and anise seeds to finish
1. Pour the shiraz into a saucepan and boil until only about 150 millilitres remain. The easiest way to do this is to weigh your saucepan first, then pour in the shiraz and boil. Then when it looks like it's cooked down by two-thirds, put the pan on the scales (zero it with a folded cloth on first if it's plastic topped) then check the weight. You want it to be the weight of the saucepan plus 150 grams.
2. Stir in the ground walnuts and sugar, return to a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Take the saucepan off the heat, stir in the chocolate and butter and leave to melt. Then beat in the eggs, stir in the figs and walnut halves and then fold in the gluten-free flour mix.
3. Line the base and sides of a deep, 20-centimetre square brownie tin with non-stick baking paper or foil. Spoon the mixture into the tin, press a scant layer of sliced figs, walnuts and anise seeds (if you like) into the top and bake at 180C, or 160C fan-forced for about 30 minutes or until the edges have set and the middle is still a bit wobbly. Leave to cool in the tin, preferably overnight, then it's ready to slice.
Tip: The chewiness of soft dried figs together with walnuts and anise seeds works well, but if you can't resist using fresh figs, poke three-quarters of a fresh fig in the top, cut-side upwards, instead of dried figs.