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Iced Chocolate Chestnut Creams with White Chocolate Sauce

This is one of the best frozen dessert dishes ever. Not only do the creams look and taste very good but they are also easy to make and keep well for a good 5-6 weeks in the freezer, so that's one party dessert dish that can be taken care of well in advance. I think they look prettiest in little metal pudding basins but we've tried them in 3 inch (7.5 cm) ramekins and they go very well, too.

 Iced Chocolate Chestnut Creams with White Chocolate Sauce

  Serves 8

For the chocolate layer:
 3 oz (75 g) dark chocolate (at least 75 per cent cocoa solids)
 1 tablespoon rum
 2 large egg yolks
 1 large egg white
For the centre:
 1 x 8¾ oz (240 g) tin crème de marrons (sweetened chestnut purée)
 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
 1 large egg white
For the chestnut layer:
 1 x 8¾ oz (240 g) tin crème de marrons
For the white chocolate sauce:
 2 oz (50 g) good-quality white chocolate, chopped
 10 fl oz (275 ml) single cream
For the decoration:
 8 pieces candied chestnut (marrons glacés)
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You will also need 8 metal pudding basins of 5 fl oz (150 ml) capacity or eight 3 inch (7.5 cm) ramekins, lightly oiled.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas and The Delia Collection: Chocolate.


Begin with the chocolate layer by breaking up the chocolate and placing it in a small basin along with the rum.

Then fit the basin over a pan containing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) barely simmering water; it's important that the basin doesn't come into contact with the water. As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and beat in the egg yolks.

Then, using a clean whisk, beat the egg white to the soft peak stage and fold it carefully into the chocolate.

Now spoon an equal quantity of the chocolate mixture into each little pudding basin. This, when it's turned out, will be the top layer.

Now place the containers in the freezer (I always put them in a Swiss-roll tin for easy management) and leave them to freeze for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the centre by emptying the contents of the first tin of chestnut purée into a small basin. Beat it with a fork to even it and soften it up a bit, then in another bowl whisk the double cream until it's thickened but floppy; it's very important not to overdo it.

Now fold the cream into the chestnut purée thoroughly and evenly until all the marbling has disappeared.

Next, wash the whisk in warm soapy water to remove all traces of grease, dry it thoroughly, and in a clean bowl whisk the egg white until it reaches the soft-peak stage.

Now fold it gently and carefully into the chestnut mixture, which will then be ready to spoon over the frozen chocolate mixture in the small pudding basins.

Freeze them again for 1 hour.

Finally, whip the contents of the second tin of chestnut purée and spoon this over to make the final layer. Cover the little pudding basins with clingfilm and freeze until you need them.

You can either leave the desserts in the pots, or as soon as they're frozen turn them out by sliding a knife all round the inside of each container and re-packing them in clingfilm to store without their containers in a freezer box.

To make the white chocolate sauce, gently warm half the cream in a small saucepan. When it's just hot enough for you to hold your little finger in it, remove it from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and stir until it's melted.

Then add the remaining cream, cool, cover and store in the fridge till needed.To serve the chestnut creams remove them from the freezer to the main body of the fridge 15 minutes before they're needed.

Then serve in a pool of white chocolate sauce and decorate each with a piece of marron glacé.

Note: this recipe contains raw eggs.


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