Artist's Palate: Ralph Lauren's The Polo Bar brownie
There’s no doubt that Ralph Lauren is an arbiter of classic American style, and now the same can be said about classic American cuisine, too. Since opening The Polo Bar in New York City at the end of last year, Lauren has been responsible for one of the hottest tables in town. Many of the restaurant’s comforting yet elevated dishes, such as Maine lobster roll, crab cakes and a well-laden corned beef sandwich (Mr Lauren’s personal favourite), have been vetted by the designer himself. No surprise then that the restaurant’s eponymous brownie is Lauren’s dish of choice to share. Made with decadent Valrhona chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, it embodies the wholesome yet indulgent ethos that the iconic designer stands for.
Ingredients (serves 12)
680g Valrhona Caraibe 66 per cent chocolate
1,020g brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
90g Valrhona cocoa powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
255g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
350g walnut halves, cut into 4 pieces
200g Valrhona 70 per cent chocolate, chopped
In a bain-marie, melt the Caraibe chocolate and butter. Keep it over hot water until ready to use. In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the melted chocolate mixture with brown sugar – the mixture will look separated. Mixing on medium speed, add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, slowly, to emulsify. It will still look separated. As you add the last egg, the mixture will all of a sudden turn into a beautiful, smooth and shiny mix. Mix for a further 90 seconds. This last bit of mixing adds some volume to the eggs, which assists in developing the beautiful crackly crust that is the hallmark of an awesome brownie. Add the cocoa powder, salt, flour and baking powder, mixing by hand until almost combined. Stir in the walnuts and chopped chocolate just to combine. Bake at 160°C for 45 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely. When cold, cut them into 7cm x 7cm squares. To serve, warm the brownie in the oven for 4 minutes, then dust lightly with icing sugar. Place in the centre of a small plate. Add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, decorate with chocolate curls and serve with warm chocolate sauce.