So here you have Dorie Greenspan’s French Chocolate Brownie, a little (or a lot) of homemade banana ice cream, and what Saveur magazine might call “a touch of whimsy” (i.e. a few chocolate curls). It’s definitely an uptown version of the classic American brownie I did last week for the 4th.
What’s the difference? First, you can see by comparing the photos that this one is much cakier than the last one. This is due in part to the extra flour — a full half cup compared to a mere two tablespoons. But there’s something else going on here too: leavening. Not yeast or baking powder or anything like that. Just a little beating of the eggs, which means froth, which means bubbles, which means lift. Mechanical leavening to use the technical term, steam power to you and me, since those moist little bubbles fill with steam in the oven, pushing the brownie up. Not terribly much, but enough to give this particular brownie a bit of a crumb.
Notice anything else different? If you said the shiny crackly crust on top (though it’s hard to see under all that ice cream) you get today’s cash prize (not applicable in all states, results may vary). That is something you can only get if you’ve got a reasonably high proportion of both flour and eggs in your batter. There are food scientists out there who will tell you that shiny top-crusts are only possible if you don’t beat your eggs. In fact I’ve never found this to be true. Quite the reverse in fact. More beating means more egg distributed throughout the batter, and that means more sheen, in the same way an egg glaze painted onto a brioche or a hot cross bun adds shine. Only in this case the egg is in the batter to begin with.
Something I especially like about this combo: the rum-soaked raisins go very well with the banana ice cream. Hic.