These Christmas Brownies with Brandy Custard Sauce are an easy modern day take on Christmas Pudding with Hard Sauce.
They use dried dates to give them their ‘chewy-ness’ and it keeps the refined sugar content down too.
The recipe is originally from the LCBO’s Holiday Food and Drink edition 2018. I amped up the Christmas pudding aspect a bit by adding in some raisins and dried cranberries. And I upped the Brandy and switched out maple syrup for the honey in the Brandy Sauce… turned out to be an awesome decision!
Compared to a traditional pudding these are cinch to make- no harder than regular brownies and icing.
I actually made two versions. The amped up ‘Christmas pudding’ version as the recipe is written and a simpler version that accentuates the chocolate flavour and lets the brandy sauce shine. See the Recipe Notes for the variation.
The Christmas ‘pudding’ version makes a fancier presentation but you could do the same thing with the simple version is you bake it in an 8 or 9″ round cake pan.
The simple version is plain chocolate flavour. You really can’t tell the dates are there, they just make them dense and chewy. The depth of chocolate and the brandy cream really play off each other.
Full confession – I think I like the plain chocolate version best but they are both good.
You could garnish them with pomegranate arils or even frozen sweet cherries. Anything to add a bit of juicy sweetness.
This Brandy Custard Sauce is so good I am thinking about what other things I can drizzle it on. I am thinking perhaps baked pears drizzled with it would be awesome!
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter cubed
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 24 cups Medjool dates pitted and packed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsps good quality maple syrup (or substitute honey)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup cream 5% or1 10%
- 2 Tbsps brandy
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 recipe sugared cranberries optional
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray a 9 or 10" spring form pan with cooking spray and line the removable bottom with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa and salt together in a medium bowl til well mixed.
- Combine dates and water in a large sauce pan. Bring them to a boil and simmer until dates are very soft and most of the water has evaporated. -about 8-10 minutes of simmering. Mash the dates until they make a thick paste. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Stir until it is all melted.
- Stir the eggs in vigorously, one at a time. Whisk in the vanilla.
- Fold the flour into the date mixture 1/3 at a time. Stir in the cranberries and raisins.
- Transfer the thick batter to the spring form pan. Smooth the top so it is even.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow brownies to cool about 15 minutes. Run a knife along the outer edge of the brownies to loosen them from the sides. Open the outer ring and transfer the brownie onto your serving platter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and cornstarch together. Ensure there are no lumps then whisk in honey.
- Bring milk, brandy and vanilla just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add half the milk mixture to the yolk mixture whisking vigorously the whole time. Whisk this back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened -1-2 minutes.
- Sift icing sugar over the top of the cake if desired. To serve cut a thin brownie wedge. Drizzle with warm custard and garnish with Sugared Cranberries if desired.