You’ve heard of cronuts, the doughnut-croissant hybrid right? Well, over the last few months it has been toppled from its lofty pastry perch by no less than a British contender! Yes, that’s right, BRITISH! We may have been beaten to the front by the cupcake, the doughnut and the elusive cronut itself, but we won this one!
And boy, what a one to win!, Whilst the cronut is like a chinese takeway – something you eat once in a blue moon and which your weight does NOT thank you for later! – the townie is the Italian buffet, the delicious meal that you finish and can’t wait for the next. I can’t promise it will make you feel any less fat, but at least it’s not deep fried.
The original townie was made in London by Bea Vo of Bea’s of Bloomsbury, after a request to create as many rival mash-up pastries as possible. However, as with many of these things, the recipe is a closely guarded secret, so I decided to make my own version, by combining my favourite recipes for the various components. The pastry is taken from the queen herself (Delia Smith), whilst the brownies are originally a Jamie Oliver recipe. Whilst made as a large tart, you could also make smaller, muffin-sized versions as per the original – just fill greased muffin tins with a circle of pastry and fill with the brownie mix.
Whilst the basic tart is delicious on its own, I also tried out a version with added toppings – more ideas to follow…
The Hartlepool Townie
- 90g butter
- 65g caster sugar
- 3 free range egg yolks
- 200g plain flour
- 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g dark chocolate
- 50g chopped walnuts
- 80g cocoa powder, sifted
- 60g self raising flour, sifted
- 360g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- zest of 1 orange
First make the pastry by creaming together the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time until fully combined. Sift the flour into the mixture and stir until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and briefly knead until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3mm. Grease and flour a 10in loose-bottomed flan tin. Place the pastry over the top and press into the corners to fill the tin. Fill the tin with baking beans or rice (you may find it easier to place a piece of tinfoil over the pastry first) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Whilst the pastry shell is baking, make the brownie mix. Melt the butter and chocolate over a bain marie (a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) and stir until smooth. Stir in the nuts. In a separate bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together, before adding to the chocolate mixture, spoonful by spoonful. Finally, mix in the eggs one at the time, beating well until fully combined.
Pour the mixture into the pastry case (having removed the beans/rice first!) and bake in the oven for 25 minutes (still at gas mark 4) until the brownie mixture is cooked. Remember that brownie mixtures will still by squidgy when completely baked, so don’t worry if it’s still sticky! Remove from the oven and leave to cool before slicing into wedges and serving with whipped cream and berries if desired (or if you are me, eating wedge after wedge from the fridge…)