Orange flour

Chestnut Season

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The leaves are golden and the air is crisp – it is officially the time to warm your cobbles with some delicious roasted chestnuts.

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Wandering around my local market, chestnuts are beginning to appear amongst the habitual vegetables, cheeses, jams and spices. I found a delicious chestnut cake laced with rum (to bring out the flavour of the chestnuts as the lady explained). I took my slice home for dessert with lashings of vanilla crème anglaise.

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Chestnuts make a great addition to numerous autumn dishes, from a rich chestnut stuffing for your roast dinner to my chestnut and mincemeat thumbprint cookies (recipe below). Let me know your favourite way to incorporate this wonderful nut into your cuisine!

Chestnut and Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies

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Here in France, crème de marron is found in most kitchens and is a great way to easily incorporate chestnuts into your baking. No need to prepare and roast the nuts yourself – definitely a plus during the busy holiday season!

Ingredients:

cookies:

135g muscovado sugar

1/2 cup crème de marron (chestnut purée)

115g salted butter

1 egg

splash of whole milk

seeds of 1 vanilla pod

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

155g plain flour

decoration:

crème de marron (chestnut purée)

mincemeat

icing sugar

Method:

(preheat oven to 180*c and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper)

– use an electric whisk to whisk together the sugar, chestnut purée and butter until light and fluffy

– beat in the egg, milk and vanilla until smooth

– sift together the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour, then add to the dough and mix in with wooden spoon until thoroughly combined

– in floured hands, roll cookie dough into golfball size balls, then place on a baking tray spaced apart, flatten slightly and create an indent in the centre with your finger

– bake in a preheated over for 8 minutes

– remove cookies from oven and press down the indent if it has puffed up slightly, then fill with half mince meat, half chestnut puree

– return to the oven for 2-4 minutes until slightly golden

– allow to cool before serving

– dust with icing sugar to serve

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Parsnip Cake and Candied Chestnut Cake

Carrot cake with gloriously sweet, rich and thick cream cheese frosting is a staple in every great baker’s repertoire – this parsnip and chestnut cake is a wonderful autumnal twist on a great classic.

Ingredients:

cake:

2 eggs

90g brown sugar

100ml golden syrup

100ml olive oil

150g plain flour

3 small parsnips

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

frosting:

50g cream cheese, e.g. mascarpone

25g salted butter, at room temperature

150g icing sugar

2 tbsp crème de marron (chestnut purée)

150g chestnuts, roasted and peeled

50g brown sugar

small knob of butter

Method:

(preheat oven to 175*c and grease and line 2 round 22cm  cake tins with greaseproof paper)

– peel and grate the parsnips

– whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and light

– stir in the golden syrup, olive oil and parsnips

– sift together the flour, baking powder and mixed spice the fold into the batter until well combined

– divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until cooked through and golden

– whilst the cake bakes, prepare the candied chestnuts by gently melting together the sugar and butter in a not stick frying pan

– roughly chop the chestnuts

– stir the melting sugar until you have a gently bubbling, smooth liquid, then add the nuts to the pan and stir to coat

– transfer to a plate to cool, then break into pieces with a knife to create a large crumb to sprinkle over the cake

– for the cream cheese icing, cream together the butter and icing sugar until smooth, then stir in the cream cheese and crème de marron

– once the cake is completely cooled, cover the bottom sponge with the frosting, then place the second sponge on top and gently press down

– cover the entire cake, including the sides, with the remaining frosting

– sprinkle the candied chestnuts over the cake, the slice and serve!

(photos to follow – sorry for the wait! Send in a photo with your name if you give these recipes a go and have them published on this post. 🙂 )

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2013 by in Baking, Biscuits, British, Christmas, Dessert, French, Snack, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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