rich chocolate and chestnut cake
torta morbida di castagne e cioccolato
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours, 15 minutes
MAKES: 12 servings
Though you can buy peeled, jarred chestnuts to use in this recipes, consider buying fresh chestnuts when they are in season and roasting and peeling them yourself. Not only is it easy to do, but it also fills your kitchen with the most wonderful aroma. For how to roast chestnuts, look here. For more information on chestnuts, including buying tips and additional recipes, look here.
- 1 cup roasted, shelled and skinned chestnuts (½ pound in shell or about 1 (7½-ounce) jar peeled whole)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 11 ¼ ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Place chestnuts, ¾ cup sugar, vanilla bean (seeds and pod) and pinch salt in a large saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let chestnuts cool in syrup, then drain.
Put rack in center position and heat oven to 350°. Butter a 9½-inch springform pan or deep fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate with remaining ¾ cup sugar and butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk mixture until cooled to lukewarm, then whisk in egg yolks and flour.
In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold whites into batter in 2 additions.
Pour batter into prepared pan; gently press chestnuts into top. Bake until top of cake has formed a thin crust, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then release from pan and let cool completely.
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