Sometimes it is best to just submit to the romantic in you.
If that means saying cheesy things to someone you like or love, do it. If it means staying up all night watching romantic movies and sniffling at that one climactic line (“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”), then do it.
If it means taking a delicate, delicious, light chestnut flavored French cake, and slathering it with a thin layer of dark chocolate, I think you should totally do it.
Gateau aux Marrons
Recipe adapted from nytimes.com
This dessert is special. Its a dreamy flour-less chestnut cake with just enough chocolate to make even the most unadventurous eater take a bite. And believe me, that one bite will be enough to make them reach for seconds. I recommend making this if you want a light, elegant dessert to finish an otherwise heavy meal.
Note: I used Bonne Mamman chestnut jam, which has a much higher moisture content than chestnut paste. This extra moisture will make your gateaux sink a bit after you take it out of your oven. I did not mind this at all, because it gave me a very pretty ridge that held the chocolate in. However, if you can get your hands on a can of chestnut paste, or candied chestnuts to puree at home, it would be well worth the splurge.
1 cup chestnut jam/chestnut paste/pureed candied chestnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons heavy cream
4 eggs, separated
100g bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons water
Optional: cocoa powder to dust. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Butter an 8 inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix together the chestnut jam, butter and cream till smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks 1 at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites till stiff and gently fold into the chestnut mixture just until blended.
- Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, till the top is a light brown, and the center is no longer wet. Transfer to a wire rack to let it cool, and remove the gateau in the base from the tin.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and stir in the water so the chocolate becomes spreadable. Gently pour over cooled cake and, using the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate till the inside edges.
- If you can manage, wait till the chocolate sets before slicing the cake (I didn’t wait, hence the streaks of chocolate down the sides of the slice). Dust with a bit of cocoa powder just before serving.