Sunday, January 29, 2012

Outsiders in London: Brownies

Outsider Tart - Wine and Cheese Festival
Of course, the moment I heard there was going to be a Chocolate Festival in London it was on my calendar. The main event for me was the baking demonstration with David from The Outsider Tart. I had tried their peanut butter cheesecake brownie at the Wine and Cheese Festival earlier in my London adventures and fell in love. I was determined when I saw they were doing a baking demonstration that I had to go.

Little did I know that this was an American bakery - until I googled it. Of all the things for me to fall in love with in London it was an American bakery. Funny, right?

The bakery was started when both Davids (David Lesniak and David Muniz) moved to London from New York. They started The Outsider Tart to bring American baked goods to the area, focusing on brownies, cupcakes, whoopie pies, and cookies. For them, it was about spreading recipes that had been passed down for generations and showing that baking can be accessible to everyone. For me, it was a taste of home.

The cooking demonstration was cold, wet, and we were all huddled in folding chairs in a large white tent. But it was worth every minute. The David who wasn't sick showed up and had the host of the festival help him create two of their favorite brownie recipes. The fun part was that he didn't take himself too seriously. Although they have their own pans made specially for them, he emphasized how anyone can bake and that you have to keep going no matter what gets thrown at you. He even forgot to add some liquor to one of the brownie batters until it was in the pan, but that didn't faze him.

He made a chocolate-cherry cheesecake brownie that was prime competition for their peanut butter cheesecake brownie. The brownie and cheesecake were mixed together in this beautiful soft meld of flavors. I think their real trick is that when swirling together the cheesecake and the brownie mix it's very simple and light. You aren't supposed to shove the knife in and swirl it dramatically - as I know I do to try and get that marbled look. Instead he emphasized a light drawing of the knife back and forth across the plan and finishing there. Don't go back again. Don't play with it. Don't try to be too creative. This way the brownie batter is still mostly at the bottom, but you get a nice moist mix of the two to give it that mix of flavors.

These brownies were so good that I was begging for more, literally. They had trays of samples for everyone and the leftovers I called out and asked for. When it comes to brownies this good, you can be greedy.

I now desperately want their new book Baked in America. It can be ordered online at their website, through Amazon, or picked up at their store. If you're in London stop by their store. I was really disappointed I didn't go, but was at least able to take advantage of seeing them at the two food festivals. Back in America, I still want their recipes. There's 120 in their new book too and I can not stop drooling over the cheesecake brownies.

Perhaps it's the taste of home for another outsider in London that drew me to them, but that doesn't decrease the deliciousness of these baked goods.
- Mollie

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