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CHESTNUT CAKE - TORTA DI CASTAGNE RECIPE BY TALLYRAND

You can't have your cake and eat it too!

This week sees the last week of tip toeing through some of my favourite Italian recipes. Next week I will be bringing you a whole new series of recipes.

As you are reading this I am either on a plane from somewhere to somewhere else or flying over a different country altogether, either that or I am in Hong Kong, mainland China, Germany or in the UK . . . who knows? Yes I am on my yearly sojourn overseas but not all for play. While in the UK I will be conducting cooking demonstrations at Pontyprydd College of Further Education on December 9th and 10th. The new series of recipes I mentioned above, will be the ones I will be demonstrating, all to promote the best of New Zealand cuisine and produce.

With Christmas on all our minds, and the song "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" on our lips, my mind turned to an Italian recipe for chestnut cake. Chestnuts to me say Christmas, Christmas to me says chestnuts! While you can buy them whole or puréed in tins, jars or frozen these days do me, yourself and this recipe a favour and go and buy some fresh ones. They are so easy to prepare and cook and in this case there really is no substitute for fresh. Do your kids a favour too and buy a few extra and cook them in your open fire . . . I will tell you how later!

Ever fancied a cooking holiday? Ever fancied learning
to make bread - www.cookingholidays.co.uk

This cake makes a great alternative to the normal Christmas fruit cake or better still used to compliment it. Why not serve the fruit cake on Christmas Day and the chestnut cake on Christmas Eve with a deep, rich, strong cup of coffee. Christmas eve is often the time when friends and family drop by and a cup of hot toddy, mulled wine or egg nog is served up to warm off those winter chills.

This traditional egg nog is very familiar to the Italian Zabaglione that is either served as a dessert on its own or as an accompaniment to another dish . . . lets use it as an accompaniment to the cake and a lighter version of the egg nog! Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too!

For previous Italian recipes I have covered:

CHESTNUT CAKE - TORT DI CASTAGNE

Ingredients for Chestnut Cake

chestnuts - peeled
500
gm
milk
250
ml
sugar - castor
250
gm
egg yolks
6
pc
butter - melted
100
gm
almonds - finely chopped
100
gm
chocolate - bitter cooking
100
gm
brandy
50
ml
lemon
1
pc
egg whites
6
pc

How to make Chestnut Cake - Tort di Castagne

Preparing the cake tin (25 - 27cm round):

  • Brush the cake tin lightly with some melted butter and lightly flour

Preparing the chestnuts:

  • With a small sharp pointed knife, make a two slits on the flat side of the chestnuts in a cross formation

  • Either place in a roasting tray on into a very hot oven for 10 - 15 minutes or wrap well in tin foil and place in the fire for 5 minutes (if you are roasting them to eat as is, add some salt into the parcel)

  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly and peel. The chestnuts must still be hot to warm while peeling, if allowed to cool too much they will be difficult to peel

Preparing the cake:

  • Place the peeled chestnuts in the milk with a little extra sugar, bring to a boil and simmer for approximately 15 minutes until soft

  • Drain and puree the chestnuts in a food processor

  • Place the sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk until thickened

  • Add the melted butter and combine

  • Add the chopped almonds, chocolate, zest and juice of the lemon and the brandy and combine

  • Whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage and fold gently into the above mixture

  • Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven: pre-heated to 180ºC for 45 minutes.

Chef's Tip:

To know more about whipping egg whites <click here>
To know more about cake tin preparation and testing cakes to see if they are cooked <click here>

Traditionally the chestnuts were put onto a garden spade and held over the open fire.

ZABAGLIONE RECIPE

Ingredients

egg yolks
6
pc
sugar - castor
100
gm
Marsala
200
ml

Method

  • In a bowl whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and the Marsala

  • Place over a saucepan with boiling water in it (approx. 2cm deep): the water must not be allowed to touch the base of the bowl

  • Whisk until it looks almost white and has doubled in bulk and is light and frothy

  • Serve immediately while still warm

Chef's Tip:

If you do not like or have not got any Marsala swap it for some white wine, sherry, port, brandy or a liqueur of your choice

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

  lt
=
litres   tsp = teaspoon
  ml
=
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
  kg
=
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
  gm
=
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Tallyrand
Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com