(This article appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
I was first introduced to roasted chestnuts on the streets of Hong Kong, and then again in Italy. For me, they evoke winter romance and nights by the fire, so I made a log cake filled with roasted chestnuts and topped with a warm espresso glaze.
Yield: 10 slices
- 80 g cake flour
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 5 large eggs, separated
- Pinch of salt
- 110 g granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a half sheet pan, line with parchment, and set aside.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a tabletop mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt until frothy, slowly add the sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form. Fold the yolks into the meringue. Then fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in 3 additions.
- Using a large offset, spread the batter onto the sheet tray and bake for 5 minutes, or until the cake bounces back to the touch. Set aside and cool.
- 454 g chestnuts, roasted and peeled (set aside a few chestnuts for garnish)
- 500 g water
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 1 Tbs amaretto liqueur
- 20 g confectioners’ sugar
- 232 g heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Using a paring knife, slice a horizontal line on the rounded side of each chestnut. Place the chestnuts into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain. Place chestnuts onto a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes. Place the roasted chestnuts in a bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let them sit for 10 minutes then peel. Place the shelled chestnuts into a pot and cover with water. Boil for 15 minutes until soft. Drain.
- Put the 500 g of water, sugar, and vanilla into a large pot and bring to a boil. Carefully add the shelled chestnuts to the water and continue to boil until the water is only about an inch above chestnut level. Remove from heat and put into a blender. Cover but leave a little gap for air to release the steam, and blend until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and set aside until cool, then store in refrigerator.
- Bloom the gelatin in the amaretto in a small bowl. Microwave on high for 5-10 seconds, until dissolved. Set aside to cool a little.
- Once the chestnut cream is totally cool, scale out 275 g into a tabletop mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment. Paddle together the chestnut cream and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Switch to a whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed while adding the heavy cream slowly. Continue to whisk on high until medium peaks then drizzle in the amaretto and gelatin mixture and continue to whisk until stiff.
- 2 Tbs espresso, cooled
- 1 Tbs milk
- 200 g confectioners’ sugar
- Reserved roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
- Mix all ingredients except the chestnuts together until smooth.
- Remove the cake from the sheet tray and peel off the parchment. Place on another sheet of parchment on a clean surface. Using a large offset spatula, spread the chestnut cream over the cake to about half an inch thick. Starting from a short end of the cake, roll slowly away from you to create a log. Finish with the seam side down. Slice a little off both ends to reveal clean spiral edges.
- Place the roulade on a serving plate and pour the espresso glaze over the top. Garnish with remaining chopped chestnuts.
Photos courtesy of Clarice Lam