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Rolled Chestnut Cream Cake

Canned chestnut puree comes in a variety of guises. It can be plain, seasoned with a little salt for use in savory preparations, or sweetened. For this cake, look for sweetened puree laced with crumbled bits of candied chestnuts. It is often labeled chestnut spread. The spread is regularly used in the making of tortes, as a topping for ice cream and as filling for pastries. It is also passed through a ricer and topped with whipped cream to make the classic French dessert known as Mont Blanc. Chestnut spread is carried in well-stocked grocery stores.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup cake flour
  • 2 Tbs. Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, separated, plus 2 whole eggs,
      at room temperature
  • 1⁄3 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3⁄4 cup sweetened chestnut puree
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Chocolate curls for decorating
     (see related tip at right)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 475°F. Line a 12-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the sides.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour and cocoa powder; set aside.

Put the egg yolks and the whole eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed while adding the 1D3 cup sugar in a steady stream. Increase the speed to high and beat until the eggs are almost doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl and whisk. Using the stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they start to foam. Add one-third of the 1 Tbs. sugar and beat until opaque, then add another third of the sugar. When the whites start to increase in volume, add the remaining sugar and increase the speed to high. Beat until the whites form soft peaks but still look wet. Fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold in.

Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake until the cake is springy to the touch, 5 to 8 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Run a table knife around the edge and slide the cake, still on the paper, onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Carefully fold in the chestnut puree. Place the cake, paper side up, on another piece of parchment paper. Peel off the top piece of paper. Spread the cake with about one-third of the whipped cream mixture. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate. With a long side of the cake toward you, roll it into a log. Transfer, seam side down, to a serving plate. Put the remaining whipped cream mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 3D4-inch star tip (see related recipe at right). Starting where the log meets the plate, pipe lines of cream onto the log from end to end. Decorate with chocolate curls. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 14 to 16.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Cake, by Fran Gage (Simon & Schuster, 2003).