THERE MAY BE no better quick fix for a food-obsessed American traveler than a trip to Montreal—a top dining destination a whole lot faster to access than, say, Paris. The Canadian border remains closed for now, but as soon as it opens, bring on the brasseries and smoked meat.
In the meantime, start plotting ravenous travels across our neighbor to the north with the Audible podcast “Field Guide to Eating in Canada.” Host Meredith Erickson, a food writer and veteran of Montreal’s vital restaurant scene, begins in that city and then, over the course of nine more episodes, talks to foragers in the Gaspésie, indigenous chefs in Alberta, dim sum doyens in B.C., and more. It’s hard to imagine a more curious, gregarious or knowledgeable guide, or a vicarious vacation more satisfying. audible.com
At Olive + Gourmando in Montreal—featured in episode one of ‘Field Guide to Eating in Canada’— they bake these espresso brownies and then cool them overnight in the fridge to create a fudge-like interior. If you want that classic brownie crumb, then skip this step—just don’t skip anything else.
- 2½ cups 70% dark-chocolate discs, such as Valrhona brand
- 1½ tablespoons coarsely ground espresso
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
- 1 cup 70% dark-chocolate discs
- 1⅔ cups plus 2 tablespoons 54% dark-chocolate chips, such as Callebaut brand
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 1¼ cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the coffee ganache:
For the brownies:
- Make the ganache: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot over low heat, combine espresso and cream, and infuse for 4 minutes. Pass infused cream through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Pour hot cream over melted chocolate and whisk together. Working quickly, pour ganache onto prepared baking sheet and cover with another sheet of parchment. Use your hands to spread ganache evenly between sheets and press to a thickness of 1 inch. Place baking sheet in refrigerator and chill overnight. The following day, cut ganache into 1-inch cubes, working quickly to avoid melting. Place in refrigerator.
- Make the brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-12-inch rectangular pan and line with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside.
- Over a double boiler, melt butter and chocolates, stirring frequently with a spatula. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Use a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or a hand mixer to cream together eggs, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until mixture is pale and foamy and has risen in volume, about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to add a small amount of melted chocolate to eggs to temper them. Add remaining chocolate and gently fold into egg mixture.
- Add flour mixture, a third at a time, by sifting it over chocolate mixture, folding well between each addition. Add ganache cubes. There should be no streaks in the batter, but avoid overworking it.
- Transfer batter to prepared baking pan and lightly tap pan on counter to even out batter. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until batter jiggles evenly, not only in the center, if shaken gently, 18-20 minutes. Place pan on a cooling rack and let cool 1 hour before cutting into squares.
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