Sunday, 24 July 2011

Chestnut Cream Meringue Cake - Forever Nigella 7

Well I haven't managed to enter the Forever Nigella Event, the brain child of Sarah from Maison Cupcake, for a couple of months, so I thought it was about time I did. The theme this month chosen by Arthi at Soul Curry is Iced Dreams. I don't have an ice-cream maker. Making it by hand conjures up not so fond memories of lots of beating, in and out of the freezer and then ending up with ice crystals anyway. So the idea of ice-cream didn't really appeal. However, looking through my trusted copy of How to Be a Domestic Goddess, I came across a recipe for Chestnut Ice-Cream Meringue Cake and no churning was needed. Lush, rich and sumptuous, this seemed a very apt dessert for a Nigella challenge. As it happened, when I went to put the finished cake in the freezer, I realised I had no room anyway. That was fine, it went into the fridge instead and became a chilled cake, which, luckily for me is permitted. As usual, I ended up doing something a little different to the actual recipe: first off, I only made half the amount - I didn't want to make it too sweet so used less sugar than stated, I added a bit of cocoa and used creme fraiche rather than cream. I also used cardamom sugar so omitted the vanilla.

This is what I did:
  • Whisked 3 egg whites until the soft peak stage.
  • Gradually whisked in 120g of cardamom sugar (caster sugar) until the mixture was stiff.
  • Whisked in 1 tbsp cocoa.
  • Stirred in 1 tsp cider vinegar.
  • Lined 2 baking trays with baking parchment and drew 3 saucer sized circles - about 15 cm (which spread to about 17 cm when cooked) on the parchment, only just managing to squeeze two onto one sheet.
  • Divided the mixture between the three circles and spread to fill them.
  • Baked at 150C for 30 minutes then turned the oven down to 100C for a further 35 minutes. 
  • Turned the oven off and left in until cold.
  • Beat 1/2 a can of sweetened chestnut puree (about 220g) with 2 tbsp of rum and 40g icing sugar until smooth.
  • Stirred in 300ml creme fraiche (home made).
  • Placed a meringue circle on a plate and spread with 1/3 of the chestnut cream.
  • Topped this with another meringue circle and spread with another 1/3 of the cream.
  • Topped with the final meringue and spread the last 1/3 of cream over the top.
  • Shaved about 10g of 35% milk chocolate over the top to decorate.
  • Placed in the fridge to set and chill (about 4 hours).
The finished cake tasted heady and ambrosial with the tropical rum flavour very much to the fore. It was rich and creamy. This made a good contrast to the crunchy meringue layers. CT summed it up with one word - delicious! Sliced into eight pieces, one slice was certainly enough. There was one downside though, as illustrated in this picture: after the first slice the crunch disappeared from the meringues as the moist mixture was slowly absorbed. I guess this wouldn't have happened if I'd been able to freeze it as instructed. Served immediately as a dinner party dessert, this would have been superb.


  1. that looks bloody lovely! Really want a piece now!

  2. That dose indeed look bloody lovely as Helen said. I would also like a piece. It is torture really!

  3. oh boy, that is a real treat. Rich and delicious looking.

  4. I love chocolate so will be visiting your site again. This cake looks fab but certainly not for the diet days.

  5. That looks gorgeous - I bet the contrast between crunchy meringue and gooey creamy filling was fabulous!

  6. look georgeous and delicious!! gloria

  7. That looks stunning! Alternative to Christmas pudding maybe?

  8. I adore chestnut in cakes, but have never baked with it myself. Your cake is stunning.

  9. This looks amazing! There were tons of foods involving chestnuts in Corsica, but none as fabulous looking as this.
    You have been so busy, I'm impressed as ever. Work has been bonkers so I forgot to email to see ifyou'd be at Port Eliot and now we're back, so I sort of hope you weren't and I didn't miss you. Either way, hope you had a good weekend

  10. Looks delicious!! I loce chestnuts!!!

  11. Helen - thank you. High praise indeed ;-)

    Jac - as you know, wicked is my middle name ;-)

    Janice - yes, I've had a sudden spate of cooking rich foods and really MUST stop soon.

    Claire - thanks for visiting. Please don't mention the dreaded D work, it's something I try not to think about :(

    C - thank you, it was.

    Gloria - thank you.

    Foodycat - you're so right, it would be just the thing with the rum and chestnuts.

    CC - surely you will be remedying this deficiency in your baking repertoire soon ;-)

    Oxslip - PE caught us unawares again and we left it too late to get a ticket. Have promised ourselves we will be better organised next year! I'll try and catch you then :) Hope you had a splendid time - at least the weather was good. It's always rather strange though to have so many people on the train getting off at St Germans and rather a shock not to be able to get a seat.

  12. Manu - I agree, chestnuts are so good for so many things.

  13. You're right, this would make a great dessert, although maybe not after a huge main course. This sounds more inviting to me than the frozen version - but a slice of each would be nice for comparison purposes.

  14. I saw a hazelnut recipe similiar to this one recently in a magazine. It's so very much all about the delicious meringue! YUM! Big wow factor Choclette :-)

  15. OMG! That looks fab. You have outdone yourself with this beauty ;0)

  16. Phil - if eaten straight away, I agree this would be best served un-iced. But if it's going to be kept or made in advance, the meringue goes soggy quite quickly so I think freezing it would keep the crunchiness.

    CityHippy - thank you, meringue's a hard one to beat.

    Chele - thank you, it's the time of year for these sorts of puds - any excuse ;-)

  17. That's superb. I love all the layers. Got some chestnut purees I need to put to good use...

  18. My fingers are stroking the computer screen and i have to tell you that does not happen that often :)

  19. Heavenly and incredibly tempting!! Man that looks good!

  20. What a wonderful pud! Love it. Thanks for your comment - hope you are well. I've had a good catch up on your blog -you have been busy - you've whipped up some amazing things! Lucie x

  21. jesus fucking christ that looks good!... i've missed a couple of your stunning posts recently, for which i apologise because they look AMAZING!!!!!!!!!... ahh, dreaming of an oven!

  22. Sarah - Thank you. I'm all out of chestnut puree now, so feeling rather envious of your stash.

    Shaheen - glad I've made an impression ;-)

    Malli - thank you.

    Lucie - good to hear from you and nice to hear you've managed a bit of a catch up.

    Dom - glad you approve. I know you're having a rather busy time of it at present. Hoping that oven will be with you faster than you know it.

  23. Wow! Looks fab, I'm adding chestnut puree to my list of things to take back from France! Jude x

  24. Wow this looks amazing! I still have a jar of chesnut puree awaiting inspiration. This might be it! Thanks!

  25. Jude - that's the place to get it from, it's so expensive over here and hard to come by.

    Baking Addict - chocolate and chestnuts are a match well made. Look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  26. Just almost ate my monitor when first caught sight of this fabulous cake. A mighty fine looking piece of baking here.

    1. Aww shucks, thank you Herbert. I really wouldn't advise the monitor though, you might find it a tad disappointing.

  27. What a shame it has to be eaten straight away before going soft. Nice cake!

  28. Lovely! I adore meringue as it is so much lighter and less filling so I feel less guilty after eating it!


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