Chocolate Chestnut Creams

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I don’t know…it looks a little bit like canned meat…and it doesn’t smell good either, I told my friend on the phone.  I was making dessert, and that’s not a sentence that should ever be said when referencing something sweet.

I was talking about chestnut puree. 

I bought it at a grocery in Brooklyn called Sahadi’s (which is a fantastic store, by the way!  Don’t be deterred by this product…if you’re in the area I highly recommend checking it out), and I had high hopes for it.  I love the flavor of chestnut – complex, slightly sweet, nutty, with a buttery texture – and I thought I would use the puree to make a festive treat around the holidays.

That is, until I opened the can.  (And no, it wasn’t expired…the expiration date is actually December 3, 2015!  But I can’t imagine how it would look/smell then.)  Since I don’t have access to chestnut puree on a regular basis (and I didn’t feel like making a trip to the store for chesnuts, which I would then have to roast and turn into puree), and I’ve never had chestnut puree before so I have no point of reference as to what it should look/smell like, I pressed on.  (Yes, I know, maybe not the best idea, lol!)

I had the idea to make a chocolate chestnut pastry cream and mix it with whipped cream for a light, mousse-like dessert.  After it was made it looked gorgeously delicious and smelled just as good as it looked; still, it was with great caution that I convinced myself to taste it (after several minutes of pep-talking myself).  So, so, so glad I did though.  It was wonderful.  The texture was velvety smooth and creamy.  The flavors of chestnut and chocolate came together wonderfully into a deep, rich, almost coffee-like flavor. 

I guess the moral of the story is that looks can be deceiving…especially when it comes to dessert.  ;)

A Note on the Chestnut Puree:  If you can’t find chestnut puree at the grocery store, you can make your own (for this recipe you need unsweetened; the only ingredient(s) should be chestnut and possibly water).  A Google search for “homemade chestnut puree recipes” gives lots of results.

Chocolate Chestnut Creams

Yields 10 servings

2 cups milk (low-fat is fine), divided

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 (15.5) oz can unsweetened chestnut puree

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, shaved (optional; for garnish)

Use a handheld electric mixer to beat together 1 cup milk, the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, and then beat in the flour and cocoa powder.  Beat in the chestnut puree until smooth.

Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Turn off heat and gently whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk and the vanilla.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. 

Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill (about 2 hours).  Whip the cream to stuff peaks and gently fold it into the custard (don’t over-mix, a few white streaks are fine).  Serve chilled, garnished with bittersweet chocolate shavings, if desired.

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  1. says

    I felt that way the first time I made cashew cream. I was like hmmm…not so sure I can do this! The dessert looks awesome. Love chocolate mousse!

  2. says

    // I don’t know…it looks a little bit like canned meat…and it doesn’t smell good either //

    It took me five minutes to recover from that sentence to finish the column!!

  3. says

    “Chestnut.” Do they somehow store in a chest longer than other nuts? I think it’s funny that some nuts have the word “nut” in them and others don’t. Chestnut and walnut, almond and cashew. I think I’m going to always call them “almondnuts” and “cashewnuts” just for the heckuvit. Cheers!

  4. says

    This dessert looks lovely! While I cannot imagine what chestnut puree smells like it sure looks like it turned out well :)

    Until last year I had never had chestnuts. I bought them roasted on the streetcorner of NYC. Pretty tasty!

  5. says

    You brave girl. I don’t know if I would have trudged on after looking in that can. But I am so glad you did because these creams sound and look dreamy. YUM!

  6. says

    I never had chocolate and chestnut together…is sure looks pretty, but it was so funny reading your post, and glad that turned out delicious.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week Faith :-)

  7. says

    It does look like some sort of strange meat! But it’s deliciousness knows no bounds! I love how you combined it with chocolate. These look heavenly!

  8. says

    How interesting! Now I am intrigued and want to buy some of the Chestnut Puree. It is wrong that all I could think about when looking at these beautiful pictures is some type of Kahlua-Chestnut-Cream holiday cocktail? This looks fabulous!

  9. says

    Good for you pressing past the unpleasant beginnings, Faith. :-) The results sound and look so delicious. :-) I had a similar experience with kangaroo meat. It smelled so gamey to begin with, but after it was cooked and in the recipe, oh boy, it was good! :-)

  10. says

    Just stumbled on your lovely blog through Kitchen Artistry and so glad I found this post. Living in France, we have access to chestnut purée but it’s obviously the sweetened version as I’ve not seen the green packaging of yours before and the texture looks so different. I must look out for this version, as it would also be wonderful for using in savoury dishes. My children use the sweetened version (with added vanilla) to dollop on fromage blanc etc. (see le blog for my chestnut purée post)
    As we’re crazy about chestnuts here, we’ll have to give your chocolate chestnut creams a try – it will be a hit! This is fabulous.

  11. says

    Bestill my beating heart! I love everything about this dessert! I’m so glad you talked yourself into tasting it before chucking them and that it was a success after all! I have never seen chestnut puree before but now I know if I see it, I’m going to snag it so I can make this!

  12. says

    I am ridiculously enamored with chestnuts but haven’t yet incorporated them into dessert! No idea why not since they have one of the best flavors EVER. I would have been pretty scared of that puree as well but I’m so glad it all ended up for the best!

  13. says

    These looks so silky smooth and delightful! It’s funny when I was pregnant with 5 star foodie jr. I had repeated dreams of a chocolate chestnut souffle, never made it but now i’m thinking maybe i should :)

  14. says

    This looks so creamy delicious! I just bought 2 bags of chestnuts yesterday. I boiled it and snack on it. I must go out and look for chestnut puree. Otherwise I will have to make the puree myself if I want to make this. Thanks very much for sharing.

  15. says

    At first impression…I completely agree to the turn off of chestnut purée. I, however, integrate it especially in holiday cookies and pastries with loads of tasty success.

    Faith, this cream’s ingredients read sublime!
    Gotta have this in my repertoire…especially for pastry puffs ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  16. Michelle W says

    Hi. This looks divine! Question though: Since I am Dairy and Gluten Free, what can I sub for the heavy cream part? Could I use the top portion of a chilled can of coconut milk, perhaps? (It’s solid and creamy-like. I will sub coconut milk (either canned or from Silk or SO Delicious) for the milk, part. Is the Chestnut puree Dairy Free? Thanks again! :) Michelle

  17. says

    This is just delightful Faith…I have never had canned chestnut puree and my reaction would have been even worse :) Glad you braved forward because this is lovely and with such a great flavor combination :)
    Wishing you a most lovely Thanksgiving…

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