Merchant Gourmet threw down the gauntlet again: use their chestnut products in a really festive way. I’m a fan of chestnuts at any time, not just Christmas, whether it’s fried with bacon and sprouts, stuffed into a chicken, giving body to a soup, or dressing a hearty pasta dish.
But how to give them a real Christmassy twist? I racked my brains and brought in as many festive foods as I could: that boozy treat Brandy butter, juicy sharp cranberries and just a whiff of clementine. The result is a rich, dark torte, with a fudgy centre and citrussy base. The real kicker is the cranberry, providing a sharp tang against all the sweetness.
Give it a try this Christmas. I think you’ll like it.
Chestnut and brandy torte (about 10 slices):
For the base:
200g digestive biscuits, crushed to dust
50g butter, melted
50g dried cranberries
Pinch of cinnamon
Zest and juice of 1 clementine
For the filling:
50g icing sugar
200g brandy butter
For the chocolate frosting:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
100g butter, cubed
- Mix the crushed biscuits with the cranberries, cinnamon and clementine and stir in the butter. Pack the biscuit mix into a 15cm springform tin and pop in the fridge to firm up while you get on with the filling.
- Whizz the chestnuts in a food processor and gradually add the sugar. If the mixture looks a little rubbly at this point add a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Add the brandy butter and blend until smooth. Pour this on top of the biscuit and chill for another hour. (If you have some handy, you could use chestnut puree blended with sugar and brandy butter instead).
- For the chocolate topping, put the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a gently simmering pan of water. Allow to melt together very slowly until smooth, then add a tiny sprinkle of sea salt. Pour this on top of the torte filling and chill for another hour until the top has set hard. When ready slice with a damp, warmed bread knife to get a clean cut (unlike the one in my picture!).