Iced Chestnut Alp

This ‘entremet sucré’ or sweetmeat is adapted from a 1930s French recipe, and has massive impact for a dinner party or buffet, as it looks impressive and is very moreish, with flavours of winter spice. Serve the dessert in elegant, thin slices. Could be an alternative to Christmas pudding.

 

 

For 8 people, you will need:

  • 2 litres of sweet chestnuts, peeled and lightly cooked, or from tins (measure in a measuring jug or old fizzy drink bottle.)
  • 125g sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 1/2 litre milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 a vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla essence
  •  500ml double cream or crème fraîche
  •  1tbsp castor sugar
  • Optional glug of cognac

 

What to do:

  • Heat the chestnuts in a pan, with a little milk, the butter and the vanilla.
  • When the chestnuts are very tender (i.e. they break up when you press them between your fingers), gently stir in the sugar.
  • Using a spatular, push the mixture through a sieve, with a small amount of hot milk to ease its passage.
  • When you have a smooth purée, stir in the egg yolks, and then mould the mix into a mountain shape. Chill well for 12 – 24 hours, and bring to the table covered in a snow-capping of cream sauce.
  • To make the cream sauce, whip up the double cream with the sugar, cognac, if using it, and vanilla. If you’re using the vanilla pod, just scrape out the middle into the cream.
  • Whip the cream until it is slightly stiff, but not solid; it needs to be put onto the top of your mountain at the last minute, and slip slowly down the sides, not run away.