A few weeks ago, we wrote about chestnuts being in season and what a wonderful addition either to savoury or sweet dishes they are. I hope you had a chance to try my chicken with chestnuts and mushroom recipe. It's a wonderful meal for autumn or winter.
Today, I thought I'd give the most sumptious of Italian desserts - tiramisu, including chestnuts. This isn't a low calorie recipe, but it is delicious and one I would recommend for a big group so you can all share the calories, or for a special family occasion. You won't be disappointed!
500g fresh chestnuts (or 350g frozen peeled)
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
3 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
32 Savoiardi biscuits (Italian sponge fingers)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder plus 1 teaspoon for dusting
1. Score chestnuts by cutting a shallow cross on the flat side with the tip of a sharp knife and place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Peel as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. They’ll peel better when still warm. Make sure both skin and fine inner pellicle are removed.
2. Put 8 peeled chestnuts aside and thinly slice them. Place the rest in a small pot with milk, brown sugar and vanilla essence. Simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes until chestnuts become very soft. Remove from heat and place aside to cool. Once cool place in a food processor and blend till smooth. It may be necessary to add 3-4 tablespoons more of milk to get a creamy consistency.
3. Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together until the mixture becomes pale.
4. Beat the whites in a separate bowl until they form fluffy peaks.
5. Mix the yolk and sugar mixture together with the mascarpone, and then fold the whites in gradually.
6. Mix 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder with 100ml of water to make it easier to dissolve, then add remaining 300ml.
7. Soak the Savoiardi in the chocolate water, dipping them two at a time for a second on each side, then arrange a layer of 8 soaked biscuits on the bottom of a high-sided ceramic container around 16cm square.
8. Spread on a layer of the mascarpone and then dollop on some chestnut puree, spreading with a spatula. Repeat the process until all the biscuits and mascarpone have been used up, finishing with a layer of mascarpone on top. Scatter the sliced chestnuts over and sprinkle with remaining cocoa powder.
By the way, chestnuts are also a delicious snack that you can eat on their own. Why not grab some more and roast them on the BBQ or under the grill.