Chestnuts are meant to be sung about and roasted over an open fire. Right? But can you really eat them? What do they taste like? Can I put them in a cake? Where do I buy them? How much do they cost? Can I make my own chestnut sauce?
I had so many questions about this week’s selection. Eventually, I found all the necessary ingredients. It was a great excuse to peruse my favorite grocery stores, Whole Foods and Central Market. The hunt was worth it. This cake is totally off the charts when it comes to sumptuous, out-of-this-world desserts. The ganache….well….
I’m back. After tasting the ganache, I left reality for a little while. The silky texture and intense chocolate flavor was better than a Calgon bath. I’m busy trying to think of other recipes where I can use it– maybe as a filling or another layer of flavor.
The caramel sauce presented a challenge. Making candy is not my talent and the curse continues. On the other hand, I usually have great luck with my favorite kitchen appliance, the microwave. So after my first attempt at making caramel on the stove turned into one, big, ugly crystal, I put the sugar and water in a 2 quart ovenproof batter bowl.
I put it in the microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. It turned a gorgeous beautiful caramelly brown color before my eyes without me so much as laying a hand on it. (In the picture above, I rolled the caramel around the sides so you could see the gorgeous color. The object at the bottom is a cinnamon stick.) When I poured the cream into it, the caramel immediately rebelled and seized. So I took a whisk to it. Success! Next time I will heat the cream a little bit first although it turned out great in the end the way it was.
Above is a bottle of baker’s gold dust. It was easy to brush on the chestnuts, which came out of a can. Of course, the gold dust is edible. I am already planning how I can use what’s left to decorate my holiday desserts.
One last comment about chestnuts: My family and co-workers expected the chestnuts to be crunchy, similar in texture to toasted pecans. But instead, they’re rather soft. I’m wandering what roasted fresh chestnuts taste like. Are they crunchy? How would this cake taste with pecans instead of chestnuts. May try that next time.
If you want to make a memorable dessert for the holidays, check out Katya’s website for the recipe and details.