It all starts with a failure. I am there, standing in the kitchen. My mouth is full of chocolate, my left arm dusted with flour and the fork I am holding is still carrying a bitten piece of oozing chocolate cake.
Oh and before I forget: I also have a gorgeous dark-brown stroke left by the cake batter of my forehead.

Once again, I managed to produce the most perfect fondant au chocolat ever. The only problem being that I initially intended to make brownies, not a chocolate fondant.
Maybe David is right. I am just not American enough to make brownies.

I know how you’re feeling right now; slightly confused. How can she pretend she cannot make brownies when I can clearly see that picture above – yes, you know, the one with the gorgeous crusty yet moist and intensely chocolaty brownies?
– a little self-persuasion can do no harm, ahem, right?
– abusive use of adjectives – oh my… foodbeam will so never be popular; I am dying.

Clearly, I overcame my lack of American-ism and made actual brownies-like brownies.
This is the result of years of labour though, and quite obviously I haven’t completely become an American (hint: just check the way I wrote labour; oh my… again).
However, as a French girl I tend to be stubborn. Ok, well, I’ll admit it: it might just be me.
So yeah, I had to become as American as possible. I tried. Hard.
I was even ready to catch that weird pronunciation thing that only American (and Canadian, to be accurate) have – like replacing Ts with Ds. The most difficult word definitely was liddle instead of my usual little.
I also had to forget some of my old-life words – aluminium (did I ever mention that I’m currently writing a thesis on the impact of aluminium icing sugar on cupcake frostings), football, pernickety (anyone knows what it means by the way). Oh, yes, these totally are the three words I use the most when I talk.
Once the brain reprogramming was completed, the next step was the use of (please, you sensitive British people who are reading this, it is now time to close your eyes and put your iPod on): cups and spoons. Now, that was violent.
Eventually, and despite the fact that I still can’t get myself to write colour like color or centre like center, I managed to make delicious brownies, which I’m sure David would rave about.
It took me quite a long time to come up with the perfect egg to flour to butter to chocolate to sugar ratios, but I made it.
I think the fact that I wanted to be a professional baseball player when I was younger might have helped and not just slightly helped. I mean, one has to know how to handle a baseball bat to make brownies.

I guess we should just all focus for a moment and imagine how good the brownies made by Coco Crisp (for those of you, who so unlike me, don’t know a thing about baseball, Coco Crisp, whose name is pretty sweet, is a great outfielder for the Boston Red Sox) must be.


Totally coco crisp(y) ricotta and brownies torte
Ricotta cheesecake adapted from the Rose Bakery cookbook.

These brownies are totally coco crispy. If you’re not familiar with my own personal language coco means absolutely fantastic.
The brownies part, which took me so long to come up with, is moist with a thin crackled top and a fudgy chocolate centre.
It does qualify, in my opinion, as proper delicious brownies. At least, I hope so; and actually, if it’s not the case, these brownies totally do it for me and the people (including friends from the US) who tasted them.

The ricotta cheesecake part is fluffy and creamy, and packed with vanilla seeds for both taste (now, that is tasty) and look (who doesn’t love a feathery white batter speckled with tiny vanilla seeds?).

I usually make the brownies alone, but when I saw Pauline‘s ricotta marbled brownies, I had to make some. Basically, I just took my basic and reliable brownies recipe to which I added the ricotta cheesecake marbles.
If you want plain brownies, leave the ricotta cheesecake part out and prepare yourself to dig into the most delicious brownies ever.

When I just make regular brownies, I love to use salted butter, which gives a nice contrasting touch. If you choose to do so, please use high-quality salted butter (I just recently became aware that the salted butter sold in the US is very different from the one I get in France. As usual, if you have any doubts about the ingredients you should use, just email me.

Ricotta and brownies torte

serves 8

for the brownies
260g dark chocolate
180g unsalted butter
65g flour
1tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
200g caster sugar

for the ricotta cheesecake
125g ricotta
80g cream cheese
30g sugar
seeds from one vanilla bean
1 egg, at room temperature
25ml double cream
1tbsp plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C, and butter and line the bottom of a 22cm tart (or cake) tin.

Melt the chocolate and butter, over a pan of simmering water and set aside to cool slightly while you get on with the rest.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy; about 7 to 10 minutes for me. Gently incorporate the melted chocolate, and then the flour mixture.
Pour into the prepared tin and make the ricotta cheesecake by mixing all the ingredients together until smooth.
Put the cheesecake batter into a piping bag and pipe the cheesecake into the uncooked brownies. You can, alternatively, spoon the cheesecake on top of the brownies batter and swirl with a knife.

Bake into the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Place on a wire rack for 15 minutes before unmoulding. Allow to come at room temperature before eating (it keeps well at room temperature for 24 hours).