1 cup pecan pieces or coarsely chopped pecans (I used 1.5 cups walnuts)
14 tbsps. unsalted butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used 3.5 oz. bar of Lindt 70%)
1/2 cup + 2 teas. unsweetened cocoa, preferably fine-quality
Dutch-processed (I used Hershey’s, but it is Dutch-processed)
1 cup + 3 tbsp. sugar
3 large eggs
2 teas. pure vanilla extract
3 oz. cream cheese cut into pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 of a 3 oz. bar of bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
A 9.5 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, bottom greased, lined with parchment, and then lightly sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray.
Preheat over to 325 degrees at least 15 minutes before bake. Set an oven
rack in the middle of the oven before preheating.
Please the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them. stirring occasionally,
for about 10 minutes or just until the color deepens slightly. Cool
In a double boiler over hot water or in microwave-proof bowl, melt the
butter and chocolate, stirring two or three times. If using a double
boiler, transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Beat the cocoa, then the sugar, into the chocolate mixture, beating until
incorporated. (If you are doing this by hand, use a whisk.) Beat in the
eggs and vanilla. When incorporated, beat in the cream cheese until only
small bits remain. Add the flour and salt and mix only until the flour is
fully moistened. Stir in the nuts.
Place the prepared tart pan on a cookie sheet to catch any possible leaks.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. It will fill the pan
almost to the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the batter has set. A toothpick
inserted 1 inch from the side should come out clean. The mixture will puff
and rise a little above the sides but sinks on cooling.
Make the ganache puddle
While the brownie is baking, prepare the puddle. Melt the chocolate in a
double boiler over hot but not simmering water, stirring occasionally, or
in a microwave, using 15 second burst on high power and stirring several
times. Add the cream and stir gently until the mixture is smooth and dark.
If necessary (if the cream was too cold and the mixture is not entirely
smooth), return it to the heat and stir until totally fluid and uniform in
As soon as the brownie is removed from the oven, grease the end of a wooden
spoon (1/2 inch diameter) and insert it into the brownie at 1 inch
intervals, all the way to the bottom, twisting slightly as your insert and
withdraw it to create 23 to 28 little holes. Using a small spoon or a
re-closable freezer bag with a small piece cut off one corner, fill the
holes with the ganache until slightly rounded on top (you will need at
least 1/2 teaspoon for each). Place the pan on a wire rack and cool
completely. The chocolate puddles will sink in as the brownie cools and
more ganache can be added to fill in any depressions as long as the brownie
is still warm enough to melt it. (If necessary, you can set the tart under
a lamp to heat the ganache puddles and make them smooth.)
Unmold the tart, and place it onto a serving plate. To serve, use a thin
sharp knife to cut into wedges. Oven temperature: 325 F
Baking time: 30 to 35 minutes
Store: Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container room temperature, up to 1 week; refrigerated, up to 1 month; frozen, several
months. Try it frozen or chilled if you like a chewy brownies, at room temperature for a softer creamier texture.
CARAMEL VARIATION: Caramel blends perfectly with the chocolate and pecans and is wonderful both at room temperature and refrigerated, when it becomes more sticky and chewy. Make a half recipe of the Caramel Sauce and use it in place of the chocolate puddle glaze. It is easiest to pipe it into the holes. The caramel will pipe when warm or at room temperature.