RECIPE: Festive chestnut and chocolate cake

Soft and indulgent, this is one decadent pudding.

Christmas desserts tend to be divisive, particularly as some people can’t stand dried fruit.

If you want something with broader appeal, try this soft and rich chocolate cake – the addition of chestnuts gives it a particularly festive flair.

Chestnut and chocolate cake recipe

Ingredients:

(Serves 10-12)

250g peeled cooked chestnuts (vacuum-packed or tinned are fine)

250ml milk

250g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken up

250g unsalted butter, roughly cut up

4 medium eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3, and grease and line your 25cm springform cake tin.

2. Put the chestnuts and milk into a pan and heat until just boiling. Take off the heat and mash well with a potato masher – you are aiming for a creamy purée, with just a few crumbly bits of chestnut. Set aside.

3. Put the chocolate and butter into a second pan and place over a very low heat. Keeping a close eye, to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t get too hot, melt them gently together, stirring now and then. Allow to cool a little.

4. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until blended and creamy (they don’t need to reach a ‘moussy’ stage). Stir in the warm (not hot) chocolate mixture and then the chestnut purée, to create a well-blended batter.

5. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they hold stiff peaks. Take one spoonful of egg white and mix it into the batter to loosen it, then fold the rest in lightly, trying not to knock out too much air. Carefully transfer the mixture to the prepared tin. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the cake is just set but with a slight wobble still in the centre.

6. To serve warm, leave to cool a little then release the cake from the tin. Slice carefully. Alernatively, leave the cake to go cold, when it will have set a bit firmer.

W Christmas At River Cottage by Lucy Brazier and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is published by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £22. Photography: Charlotte Bland.

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