Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way

Recipe: Chestnut and Chocolate Cake


"This classic, unbaked 'cake' is for people who like dense, assertive chocolate desserts. It's super-easy--requiring only moments to combine the chestnut, melted chocolate, and rum--and extremely rich."

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients
• 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil, for oiling the pan
• 1 (1-pound) can chestnut spread or puree flavored with sugar and vanilla
• 2 tablespoons dark rum
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
• 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

Preparation
Oil a rectangular loaf pan with a capacity of 3 to 4 cups.

Cut a thin strip of parchment paper (about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide) and position it in the bottom of the pan so that the ends of the strip run up two opposite ends of the pan and extend a little beyond the edges; this will make the dessert easier to unmold at serving time. Alternately, if you donít want to unmold the dessert, you can use a serving bowl or terrine.

Put the chestnut puree in a bowl and add the rum, butter, and melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly to combine, then pour into the pan or bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to a couple of days).

At serving time, unmold the cake onto a serving platter, and cut it into 6 to 8 slices or spoon it out of the bowl.

Spoon some crème fraîche or sour cream over each slice and serve.

Make Ahead
You do need to plan for this dessert: it needs to chill for at least 4 hours. It can be made a day ahead.

About chestnut puree
Cans of pureed chestnuts flavored with vanilla and sugar come from the South of France and are available in specialty and gourmet markets. This puree is also wonderful served on its own or over ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Company, ©2004 Jacques Pépin from Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way.