170 g (6 oz) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
170 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
160 g (3/4 cup) lightly packed brown sugar
1 mL (¼ tsp.) salt
75 g (½ cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
Chocolate pastry cream
105 g (½ cup) sugar
25 g (3 tbsp.) cornstarch
500 mL (2 cups) milk
170 g (6 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
210 g (1 cup) sugar
30 mL (2 tbsp.) bourbon or water
125 mL (½ cup) 35% cream
2.5 mL (½ tsp.) fleur de sel
500 mL (2 cups) 35% cream
55 g (¼ cup) sugar
5 mL (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
180 g (1 ½ cups) toasted pecans (½ cup whole and 1 cup crushed)
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Place the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan and line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper, leaving it hanging over two sides.
In a bowl, in a double boiler or in the microwave oven, melt chocolate with butter. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar and salt until smooth. Add chocolate mixture and flour and mix until smooth.
Pour into pan. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few lumps and not completely clean. Let cool in pan for 2 hours. Remove from pan and cut into cubes. Set aside 8 cubes for the top.
Chocolate pastry cream
In a saucepan off the heat, mix the sugar with the cornstarch. Add eggs and mix well with a whisk. Stir in milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom and sides of pan until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Strain custard as needed. Add chocolate and stir until completely melted. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. Let cool and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until completely chilled. When ready to use, mix the custard with a spatula to make it more flexible.
In a saucepan, bring sugar and bourbon (or water) to a boil. Cook without stirring until the mixture turns golden. Remove from heat and gradually add cream and salt. Watch for splashes. Bring to a boil again and cook until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
In a bowl, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks.
In a glass serving bowl with a capacity of about 3 liters (12 cups), place 125 mL (½ cup) of whipped cream. Divide among the brownies, a quarter of the caramel, half of the crushed pecans, half of the chocolate custard and half of the whipped cream. Repeat the sequence a second time. Top trifle with reserved brownies, whole pecans and remaining caramel. Refrigerate 12 hours before serving.