Autumn is a time of year when many nut trees drop their bountiful baubles of goodness – hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and chestnuts. Although many in Australia may have seen and experienced roasted chestnuts as a fireside treat, very few may realise the diversity of this delicious nut. Across Europe this wonderful nut is used in various countries to create both savoury and sweet dishes.
Here is a simplified version of one of my favourites – a rich, nutty chocolate cake that is also gluten free.
Serves 8 to 10
250 grams – roasted chestnuts (de-shelled)
250 ml milk
250 grams dark chocolate
250 grams unsalted butter
125 grams sugar
Roast chestnuts – simply slice a cross in their base of the nut and place into some aluminium foil with 2 tablespoons of water and seal tightly. Then bake in an oven on high at 220°C for approximately 20 minutes, you will smell the chestnuts when they are cooked.
After removing the outer shell, it is also important to also remove the outer brown surface of the nut. This is best done by placing the cooked nuts into a pot of water and bringing them to the boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Whilst still hot gently peel the outer brown skin away from the nut flesh. You may need to use a small knife if the skin is stubborn.
Generally older nuts are more difficult to peel, try to use freshly picked nuts if possible.
1. Place double peeled chestnuts into a small saucepan and cover with milk and bring to a boil. Once boiled allow to cool and them mash or place in a blender and pulse to a thick paste. Set aside until needed.
2. Place chocolate and butter into a bowl and place the boil over a boiling pot of water so it melt gently and combines into one silking liquid.
3. Combine the paste and chocolate together and then prepare eggs.
4. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites into two separate bowl. Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk until pail and thick – approximately 3 minutes. Add to the chocolate, butter and chestnut mixture and mix thoroughly so combined.
5. Then whisk the whites until light and fluffy – approximately 4 minutes.
6. Gently fold the whisked whites into the chocolate mixture and then pour into a well-greased 22 cm spring form cake tin. Cook at 180° C for 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Can be served warm or allowed to cool completely and served cold.