Chestnut/chocolate cream (Turinois)



This is a no-bake dessert devised by Françoise Bernard, the Goddess of French cooking in the sixties and seventies. My mother who was a die-hard francophile always had her books in the kitchen especially when the family moved to France. Françoise Bernard specialized in easy, practical, recipes for the busy housewive or working woman; her recipes would give price range, time, difficulty level, etc. Her books are still reprinted now and cover everything under the sun that a French person might wish to prepare at home.

For this dessert, you simply mix chestnuts with chocolate, butter and a bit of sugar and serve. 


It is a dense dessert, not too sweet (you can increase the sugar, of course) put together in mere minutes. I played a little with some white chocolate I had laying around, melting it in the microwave, mixing it with some neon food colors and spreading it on pieces of parchment paper; I used cookie cutters and made the little hearts.

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

  • 1 can of chestnuts (285 g. or 10 oz) or chestnut cream
  • 1/2 bar of Lindt 70% chocolate (50 g.) or semi-sweet choc.chips or more up to 75 g. (3/4 of a 3 oz. bar)
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 oz. of unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla 
  • 1 Tbsp of rum (optional)
  • Whole walnuts, to garnish (optional)
  • Whipped cream to garnish (optional)

Place the chestnuts in the bowl of a food processor and purée them till smooth. Place the chocolate, broken up in chunks and the butter in a saucepan over very low heat; melt the butter and chocolate, stirring from time to time. Add the sugar, vanilla and rum and stir to combine. Transfer the butter and sugar mixture to the bowl of chestnuts and purée to combine well.

Pour into plastic-lined (or oiled) ramequins and refrigerate till firm. Unmold and serve. Can be frozen.

le turinois

A last-minute idea was to scoop it out like ice-cream and make a quick caramel. To make caramel, all you need is some sugar and a bit of whipping cream. Place 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a skillet over medium-low heat; eventually, the sugar will dissolve and turn golden, then darker; immediately, pour the cream (very carefully) and stir. It takes a couple  of minutes and you’ve got your caramel ready to be poured. If you want, make it in advance and reheat it very gently for a minute or two. Caramel and chestnut and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

Happy Valentine!!!

Kurdish man and baby by Basta house

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  1. Posted February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    A divine dessert! Perfect for Valentine’s Day.



  2. Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    That’s it?? I am SO trying this! It’s brilliant! Who is that cutie??

  3. Joumana
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    @Belinda: A man in the street during a Kurdish event.

  4. Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Trés jolie! And I love chestnuts!

  5. Posted February 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    What a delightful dessert and it sounds easy to make! I love your white chocolate-dyed hearts :) I love the idea of adding caramel too – great combination.

  6. Posted February 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Simple yet decadent. Yum

  7. Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Goodness, this looks delicious! Just my kind of dessert, I’m a sucker for chestnuts and chocolate! I’m definitely making this!

  8. Posted February 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The lusciousness is just mind blowing Joumana! What wonderful creaminess and texture. Beautiful pictures too. Such a perfect V-Day treat!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  9. Posted February 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    what a lovely dessert! i love chestnuts and the texture looks marvelous.

  10. Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Mm love this combination of chestnuts and chocolate!

  11. Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    This looks like such a fun dessert for Valentine’s Day! The caramel sauce sounds fantastic with it. And, I love white chocolate. The hearts are a perfect garnish.

  12. Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Un superbe dessert pour tout les Valentins du monde…une pure gourmandise…bisous et douce soirée

  13. Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    In my book, caramel and ANYTHING is a match made in heaven. Love the simplicity of this dessert, and so pretty too!

  14. Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    My mother used to make something like that in the 70s! It always had a layer of whipped cream around the outside, and flaked toasted almonds decorating it. Such delicious flavours.

  15. Elena
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    So tasty and simply to prepare! I made it and garnish with ice-cream. Thanks for idea.

  16. humble_pie
    Posted March 30, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    joumama some of your recipes are too wonderful to be believed & it is such a shame to let them slip into the sweet bye-and-bye of history.

    this delicious chocolate/chestnut confection turned up in the “you might also like” add-ons to the popcorn cake. It’s a classic, both for its divine tastes & its simplicity of preparation.

    hmmn how to solve for this effect, as blog entries recede back into time? how to keep the oldies-but-goldies always available?

    i think the “you might also like” feature is probably good enough. I’ve learned to look very carefully at it, because it often offers a heavenly recipe from one of your previous posts. Mille mercis.

  17. Joumana
    Posted March 30, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    @humble pie: 1000 thanks for your praise! :)

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