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.
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.