California prune, pepper + caramel brownies

Paul A Young's California Prune and Pepper Caramel Brownie. Photo: Paul Winch-Furness

Paul A Young’s California Prune and Pepper Caramel Brownie. Photo: Paul Winch-Furness

So here it is, as promised, the most decadent brownie you’re ever likely to taste, courtesy of artisan chocolatier Paul A Young, who’s been taking the British chocolate scene by storm on recent years. You can read more about the demo evening we enjoyed at his Soho chocolate shop here.

If you follow his recipe exactly, he tells us, it will turned out exactly the same every time. It may look like there’s lots to do, but actually each stage does not take a lot of time to complete. Provided you have all your ingredients measured out and ready, you can really have this in the oven in little more than 20 minutes or so.

You take it out of the oven when it still has a nice wobble in the middle (don’t stick a skewer in it to test, advises Young).

The prune caramel that’s poured over the top of the brownie is actually an absolutely divine concoction in its own right. There’ll be some left over from the quantity you make up for the recipe, so store it in the fridge. Pour it warm over ice cream for something really indulgent. Or just lick it greedily straight from the bowl!

Another little handy tip from the master chocolatier himself: it’s advisable to always add a pinch of salt (he uses Maldon sea salt) to any of your sweet baking to balance out the sweet taste.

London’s Time Out magazine credits Young with having the best brownies in the capital.

This is the first time he’s experimented with prunes, and as Young says, it makes the brownies even richer “with a molasses fruity taste, without being sickly or over sweet”.

You will definitely gain some new best friends with these little beauties.

California Prune, Pepper + Caramel Brownie

Ingredients (makes 12 brownie squares)

175g Butter
80g golden syrup
280g unrefined light muscovado sugar 320g
70% fine quality dark chocolate
4 free range eggs
70g plain flour
600g California Prune purée*
12g crushed Telicherry black peppercorns or normal pepper corns

For the caramel

100g unsalted butter
5g Maldon sea salt
100g unrefined light muscovado sugar
100mls double cream
50g milk chocolate, 33% cocoa solids or above
150g California Prune purée*


Half a Californian prune

*Prune purée method

675g California stoned, ready to eat prunes and 270ml water.

Using a liquidiser, blend the prunes with water until puréed. Makes 825g. Left over purée can be kept in the fridge for up to a week and can be used in a California Prune Smoothie (see for more prune recipes)


Pre-heat the oven to 175 oC/ Gas Mark 4.

In a medium sized saucepan on a medium heat melt the butter with the black pepper, add the sugar and syrup and heat until liquid. Take off the heat and add the prune purée, mixing well, then add the chocolate, mixing until melted.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl and add to the pan stirring until fully incorporated. Add the flour and mix well. Pour into a parchment paper lined baking tray and level out with a spoon.

To make the caramel prune topping, in a medium saucepan melt the butter, sugar and salt on a medium heat and once simmering gently set the timer for 5 minutes, making sure the caramel doesn’t burn. After 5 minutes take off the heat and allow to cool for one minute.

Now add the prune purée, mixing until smooth, and then add the cream. Finally, add the milk chocolate and mix until all the chocolate has melted.

Weigh out 150g of the prune caramel and drizzle over the brownie before baking, making sure you drizzle right to the edges.

Pour the remaining caramel into a jam jar or food container to use another time. This will keep for one month refrigerated.

Bake the brownie for 25 minutes at 175oC or until you have a set yet wobbly centre. Allow your brownie to cool thoroughly then refrigerate overnight. Cut using a hot wet knife to give you crisp clean edges. Finish with half a prune for decoration.





  1. says

    This is such an interesting take on brownies! I would have never thought to use prunes or pepper, but it does sound good!

    Thanks for sharing at Wine’d Down Wednesday! Pinning your post to our WDW Pinterest board to share with our followers! Hope to see you back at the party next week!

  2. says

    Julie they look so good. I am definitely going to try them. I love combining pepper with chocolate.
    And because they have prunes on them there’s a good chance my kids won’t steal them – here’s hoping.

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