For none other than fond memories of holidays past I ordered several 16 ounce cans of French Puree des Chataignes, a sweetened chestnut puree that is more popular in Europe than the US. Very delicious spread on toast, waffles, French toast, mixed with ricotta for cannolis, with ice cream or gelato. and especially for a “Mont Blanc,”. A Mont Blanc is a celebratory French desert with a meringue base topped with swirls of piped chestnut puree crowned off with with a wintry blizzard of whipped cream peaks.
Feeling not quite that ambitious for a Christmas Eve supper I settled on making a more modest traditional French chestnut puree soufflé dessert that is topped with shaved chocolate. Very simple to prepare and happily it was received with great delight.
Following that thread the following week I decided to make Nigela Lawson’s Chocolate Chestnut Cake for a New Year supper that was met with oohs and ahhs, The consensus was that while Nigela’s chocolate chestnut cake was of course deliciously decadent, it was the simpler traditional chestnut soufflé’s beguiling flavor is what won everyone’s favor.
So while the chestnut puree soufflé is not exactly a visual feast on the plate it is it’s deliciousness that triumphs .
Sweetened chestnut puree is readily available on Amazon.
Chestnut Puree Soufflé dessert
preheat the oven to 350 f /180 c
Generously butter a medium soufflé dish or spring form pan.
- 16 ounces sweetened chestnut puree
- 3 ounces unsalted butter
- 6 eggs separated
- 1 tablespoon rum or brandy
- shaved chocolate
- powdered sugar
Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
Separate the eggs into separate mixing bowls and refrigerate bowl with the egg whites.
Whisk the egg yolks together with the chestnut puree until the mixture is thick and airy.
While continuing to whisk begin adding in small amounts of butter at a time while whisking until incorporated. Add the rum and whisk until combined and set aside.
Remove the egg whites from the refrigerator. Add a pinch of salt and using a whisk, or a hand held mixer, rapidly whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks.
Then using a wide silicone spatula begin adding the egg whites, a generous dollop at a time to the chestnut puree mixture, gently fold in the whites in until they are incorporated before adding more egg whites. Continue until all of the whites are folded into the chestnut puree mixture. A few streaks of egg whites in the mixture are are fine.
Gently pour the batter into a buttered soufflé dish or spring form pan and place it gently in the center of the preheated oven.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the browning on the surface. If it’s browning too quickly open the oven door briefly and bake a little longer as needed.
Test by inserting a thin skewer gently into the center of the soufflé. If it comes out clean the soufflé is done
The soufflé will have puff up while baking but will fall once it transferred r to a rack to cool.
If you like add some shaved chocolate over the cooling surface of the soufflé.
A light dusting of powdered sugar just before serving is optional.