If you see some fresh sweet chestnuts in the shops or on a road-side stall, now’s the time to buy them. Once you’ve roasted and eaten as many as you can manage, you can process the rest. Pierce the skins with the point of a knife and simmer them in a pan of water for 30 minutes. Drain, cool, cut in half and scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon. The chestnut kibble you’re left with will freeze well so you can make this delicious cake at any time of year. This recipe is from ‘The River Cottage Year’ cook book. I sometimes make it in a dozen ramekins, rather than the suggested 25cm springform cake tin.250g dark chocolate (Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana is my pick) 250g butter 250g chestnut flesh (tinned if you must) 250ml milk 4 eggs 125g caster sugar
Put the milk and chestnut flesh into a large pan and heat until just boiling. Mash with a potato masher or blend with a stick blender or in a food processor. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the pan with the butter. Melt over a gentle heat. Allow to cool. Separate the eggs, add the yolks to the chocolate mixture in the pan with the sugar. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold them carefully into the chocolate batter. Pour the mixture into 12 ramekins or a greased, lined 25cm springform cake tin. Bake at 170 degrees C – 15-20 minutes for ramekins, 25-30 minutes for the cake. The centre should be set but still wobble. Serve warm or cold with berry coulis made from a cup of sieved frozen berries warmed with a little icing sugar if desired. Serves 12.