- With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, letting it hang over two sides.
- In a bowl, over a double boiler or in the microwave oven, melt the chocolate with the butter. Let cool.
- In another bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar and salt with a whisk until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture, then the flour, and stir until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out with a few crumbs and not completely clean. Let cool in the pan, about 2 hours. Remove from the pan and cut into cubes. Set aside 8 brownie cubes as garnish.
- In a pot off the heat, combine the sugar with the cornstarch. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Stir in the milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously while scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.
- Strain the custard through a sieve set over a bowl to remove any lumps, if necessary. Add the chocolate and mix until completely melted. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. Let cool and refrigerate for 2 hours or until completely chilled. When ready to use the custard, stir with a spatula until creamy and smooth.
- In a pot, bring the sugar and bourbon (or water) to a boil. Cook without stirring until the mixture turns golden brown. Off the heat, gradually add the cream and salt. Watch out for splattering. Bring back to a boil and cook until the mixture is just smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
- In a bowl, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- At the bottom of a 12-cup (3 litre) glass serving bowl, spread ½ cup (125 ml) of the whipped cream. Layer with half the brownies, a quarter of the caramel, half of the crushed pecans, half the chocolate custard and half the remaining whipped cream. Repeat the sequence a second time. Garnish with the reserved brownies, whole pecans and the rest of the caramel. Refrigerate for 12 hours before serving.
Time saver: Swap the Classic Brownies recipe with 1 lb (454 g) of store-bought brownies.