Makes 3 small cakes
WHEN I APPRENTICED at Taillevent in Paris, the pastry chef spiked his chestnut cakes with vintage rum. I prefer to drizzle them with melted chocolate or eat them with chocolate ice cream or Milk Chocolate Sorbet. The dense, rich consistency of these mini cakes may remind you of flourless chocolate cake—except they’re less sweet. They keep well, so the recipe makes three. Wrap the extras tightly in plastic and stash them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months for a ready-made treat when a friend drops by for coffee. Unwrap and pop them into a 350°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes before serving. Chestnut cream is a sweetened chestnut puree. It’s available—as are candied chestnuts (marrons glacés)—from gourmet shops and online sources including amazon.com, which carries my favorite brand, Clément Faugier chestnut spread with vanilla.
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 teaspoon for the dish
1 cup chestnut cream
1 candied chestnut, diced (optional; preferred brand Clément Faugier)
2 large eggs
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use 1 teaspoon of the butter to grease three 3-inch ramekins or shallow tart molds.
In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Let cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk the chestnut cream, melted butter, and candied chestnut, if desired, until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition.
Place the prepared ramekins on a baking sheet and divide the batter evenly among them. Place the pan in the oven and bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Set aside on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.
Meanwhile, chop the chocolate, if using, into 1⁄2-inch pieces and add it to the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set on top of a saucepan that’s half full of water. (The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.) Heat over medium-high heat, stirring after 5 minutes, until the chocolate is completely melted.
To serve, unmold a cake onto a dessert plate and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Serve warm. (Or eat it straight from the ramekin!)
Excerpted from COOKING SOLO: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself © 2016 by Klancy Miller. Photography © 2016 by Tara Donne. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
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