Chocolate Chestnut Tasting Plate
Serves: 4-6
Serves 4-6
For the Chestnut Cream or Crème de Marrons:
  • 250g precooked, prepeeled chestnuts (I used vacuum packed)
  • 120ml whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean (about 7,5 cm or 3 inches)
  • 75ml additional whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp cognac or brandy
  • 3 more tbsp whipping cream
  • cocoa powder for dusting
For the Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Cakes:
  • Enough sheet gelatin to set 266ml of liquid
  • 140g (or a little over 4½ oz.) pastry cream
  • 140ml milk
  • 15g (or 2 tbsp) cocoa powder
  • 40g (or 1⅓ oz.) dark chocolate
  • 100g of homemade chestnut paste
  • 333ml whipping cream
  • 70g (or ¼C) granulated sugar
You will also need:
  • 4 to 6 small cake rings (I used 7-cm/3,5-inch rings)
  • or 4 to 6 silicon cupcake molds
  • or 4 to 6 pretty glasses
  • 4 to 6 of the cooled toasted almond cookies (recipe under 'Building Blocks')
To plate:
  • 1 batch of Dark Double Chocolate Ice Cream
  • the remaining Toasted Almond Paté Sucré Biscuits
  • cocoa for dusting
  • gold sprinkles
  • 240ml whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 to 6 large plates
Start with the Chestnut Cream:
  1. I would advise you to make the chestnut cream right before you make the mousse.
  2. To a small saucepan, add the chestnuts, the 120ml of whipping cream and the cane sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds and add these to the pan. Add the scraped bean as well. Heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then crank up the heat and allow to come to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, fish out the vanilla bean and transfer the chestnut mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Blitz to a dry paste, gradually adding the 75ml of cream.
  4. Press the paste through a sieve with the back of a spoon. This takes some elbow grease, but you’ll want a smooth paste for this recipe. Discard the chestnut pieces that remain in the sieve.
  5. Set 100g of the chestnut paste aside to use in the chocolate chestnut mousse. Add the remaining chestnut paste (you should have about 185g) to a small bowl. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of cream, the honey and the cognac. Fit a piping bag with a large star tip. Dust a plate with cocoa powder, fill the piping bag with the chestnut cream and pipe 4 to 6 large roses onto the cocoa. Place in the fridge until use.
Proceed with the Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Cakes:
  1. NOTE: this mousse can be made 2 days before you intend to serve the dessert. However, if you intend to use it to make a mousse cake, make sure that the other element of the cakes (such as the biscuit base) are ready for assembly before you start making the mousse, as the mousse needs to be poured into molds immediately after you made it.
  2. Soak the gelatin in cold water. To a medium-sized bowl, add the pastry cream. Cover the bottom of a small saucepan with milk. Add the rest of the milk to the pastry cream. Make sure to drizzle it in slowly, whisking continuously to make sure that the pastry cream dissolves evenly into the milk. Whisk in the cocoa.
  3. Add the chocolate to the bowl of a double boiler and allow to melt. In the meantime, heat the milk in the saucepan (that little splash) but don’t let it come to a boil. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and stir it into the warm milk. It should dissolve completely. If it doesn’t, heat the milk over low heat, stirring continuously until the gelatin has dissolved. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the milk mixture.
  4. Once the chocolate has completely melted, add the chestnut paste and stir until smooth. Gradually add the milk mixture while whisking continuously.
  5. In a large bowl, whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in the chocolate chestnut mixture with a rubber spatula.
  6. The mousse is now ready to be poured into the molds. If you want to make the mousse cakes in cake rings: place the cake rings onto a cutting board small enough to be put in the fridge. Place one almond cookie in each cake ring and fill each ring with mousse. If you want to make the mousse cakes in silicon cupcake molds, fill each cupcake cup almost up to the rim with mousse, then gently press the cookies into the mousse, so that the mousse is pushed up (but not over) the sides of the cookies (one cookie per cupcake cup). If you plan on serving the mousse in pretty glasses: place one cookie in the bottom of each glass. Divide the mousse over the glasses.
  7. If you serve the mousse in glasses, place in the fridge to set (at least 3 hours bu preferably overnight). If you've assemble the mousse cakes in cake rings or silicon cupcake molds, place in the freezer for 2 hours, then take the cakes out of the molds/rings by either pushing the frozen mousse cakes out of the silicon cupcake molds or by briefly heating the cake rings with a blow torch or a hot, damp tea towel. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or until almost ready to plate.
To plate:
  1. Allow the chocolate chestnut mousse cakes and the chestnut cream roses to come to room temperature before plating (this takes about 3 hours). Take the ice cream out of the freezer 20 minutes before plating to soften a little.
  2. To plate, dust the tops of the Chocolate Chestnut Mousse Cakes with sieved cocoa and place a cake in the center of each plate. Top with a few gold sprinkles.
  3. Whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Place a dollop of whipped cream next to each mousse cake on the plates and, using an offset spatula, place a Chestnut Cream Rose on top of each dollop. Fit a piping bag with a small star tip and fill it with the remaining whipping cream. Pipe small roses around the Chestnut Cream Roses.
  4. Crumble the remaining Almond Paté Sucré Biscuits with your fingers and place a spoonful of crumbles on the plates next to each mousse cake. Place a large scoop of ice cream on top of each pile of crumbles. Serve immediately.
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at