Chestnut Rum Torte

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(Original Post Date:  December 28, 2010)

I was intrigued by these packages of vacuum-packed chestnuts (already peeled and roasted) that I found at the Chinese Market a few weeks ago.  I tend to stay away from chestnuts in coking/baking, since I find them so hard to peel…  So I thought why not give them a try?

For the chocolate, you could use any good quality bittersweet (or dark) chocolate, chopped up into uniform pieces.  For my cake, I used leftover Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips that I had in the pantry.  I ended up using a little less than two packages of chestnuts for the cake – the leftovers chestnuts from bag #2 became the topping/decoration.

Chestnut Torte:

  • 1 1/3 c. bittersweet chocolate (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 c. whole roasted chestnuts (about 8 oz.)
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Rum Cream frosting:

  • 1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. dark rum
  • 1/4 c. sugar

Chestnut topping:

  • 1/4 c. chestnuts, chopped
  • 2 T. sugar

1.  Grease a 9″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Grind the chestnuts in a food processor until the texture of brown sugar.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power. (I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips, which melted after about 3-4 minutes.  Microwave in 1 minute intervals, stirring in between, until just melted.)

4.  Separate the egg whites from egg yolks.  Add the salt and cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form.  Gradually add in half of the sugar.

5.  Cream the butter and remaining sugar.

6.  Add the chestnut puree and mix thoroughly.

7.  Gradually add the egg yolks.

8.  Mix in the vanilla extract and chocolate until uniform.

9.  Fold in the first 1/3 of egg whites to the chestnut mixture.

10.  Add the second 1/3 of egg whites, and gently fold.  It is ok to have some white streaks.

11.  Fold in the remaining egg whites, gently.

12.  Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, and place in the oven.  Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.  Then, reduce the oven temperature to 325, and bake an additional 35 minutes.

13.  Turn off the oven, and allow to cool with the oven door ajar.

14.  When completely cool, remove the cake from the pan and prepare the frosting.  Whip the cream with the sugar and rum until stiff enough to frost.  Frost the top and sides of the cake with the rum cream.  Combine the remaining chestnuts and sugar, and sprinkle over the edges of the cake.

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