Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Italian Chocolate-Chestnut torte

DSC_2286I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a nice one too. Just that it’s too short considering that preparing the feast takes all day. Thinking about a year when my daughter and her family were here. My grandson was only 4 months old and fit snuggly in his car seat, without doubt he was the most handsome boy in the world. And he still is beautiful with brilliant blue eyes, blonde hair plus killer dimples. Equally beautiful with our free spirited granddaughter we had a great time. This year was just the three of us. I suggested that we should go to a fancy restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner but I got thumbs down from my guys. They want relaxed, football games, left-overs and 3rd helping of pumpkin pie at home.

For this year, we had the usual pumpkin pie and this chocolate chestnut torte. I never made it before. The recipe came from November 2000 Sunset magazine - no surprise, it was Thanksgiving theme, this is actually pastry chef/owner of Pasticceria Rulli in Larkspur, California’s recipe. This relatively simple to make torte needs special ingredients like a jar of chestnuts in syrup so you have to do some planning ahead. I happened to have one in the refrigerator that I had bought for my up-coming cake (Mont Blanc) which I didn't have time to make yet and I almost forgotten it’s existence. Ok sometimes my disorganization brings me some luck. I changed only a tiny part on this recipe. This dessert screams for Autumn and taste like a cousin one-removed from Mont Blanc.DSC_2244Chestnuts in syrup, roasted chestnuts and chestnut puree (just for show… See my last blog)

For crust-use a 9 inch cake pan with removable rim

  • 50 vanilla wafer cookies
  • 3  Tablespoon butter melted
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of rum - I used rum flavoring but I think this is optional. Substitute milk or water.
  1. Put vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor or blender and whirl until finely ground.
  2. Add butter, honey, rum, vanilla and ground cinnamon.
  3. Combine using pulse button.
  4. Press evenly over bottom and 1 inch up the side of pan. Set it aside.DSC_2252

For cake

  • 2 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons and 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar. 
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon rum (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour or all-purpose flour*
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped chestnuts in syrup, drained, or marrons glaces  More whole chestnuts for decoration if desired.
  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate in a microwave oven on full power. until soft. stirring every 30 second about 2 minutes.
  2. Add mascarpone, ricotta, 4 tablespoons sugar, egg yolks, rum, flour and chopped chestnuts. Stir until well blended. DSC_2258DSC_2263
  3. Heat oven to 350 F.
  4. In an electric stand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add  2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat whites until they hold stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold whites into chocolate/cheese mixture then pour into prepared cookie crust and spread level.
  6. Bake until filling is firm when pan is gently shaken and springs back when lightly touched in the center about 30 minutes (20 minutes in a convection oven).DSC_2277
  7. Cool on a rack about 20 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan rim: Remove rim. Let torte cool to room temperature.
  8. Decorate with whole chestnuts and powdered sugar. Serve with cream or ice cream.DSC_2309

* A bag of roasted chestnuts sell for 99 cent to $1.29 at the Asian market (See photo). You can chopped them up to use in the cake instead of jar of chestnuts in syrup. Grind them in coffee bean grinder to make light and fluffy, use this as chestnut flour. 

My son is working part time at Best Buy now. He left home a little after 11 PM on Thanksgiving day to do his 12 hour shift on Black Friday starting at midnight. People had already lined up since Wednesday for this spectacular madness I mean, deals to brave cold and rain. I wish I was still young and foolish like that too (not really) - our washer died. TV needs repair, dish washer is on its last leg and my Santa list of a new camera and so on ,,, but we will deal with that later with his employee discount. Hey, I feel lucky and blessed already. This bitter year for my son is nearing an end and he is on the mend.  We’re truly grateful for that and many other blessings.




  1. Hey, that looks pretty good. I'm not even sure I love chestnuts in desserts but I'll take a piece. Send me one?

  2. I have used chestnut flour in baked goods but never the actual chestnut. However, I do know that chocolate and chestnuts are a wonderful combo and your torte does look delicious. Well done!

  3. No wonder your family preferred to stay at home! And your table setting is just adorable.

  4. what a beautiful table. remind me to never invite you to our paper plate fest!
    happy thanksgiving!

  5. Mariko, This one is really good. You'll love it I'm sure.

    Tina, Thank you so much.

  6. Your style and passion for blogging is contagious. Thank you for sharing this way!