Chocolate Sponge Cake
18 oz cooked chestnuts, chopped
3 ½ oz good-quality dark chocolate
7 70 percent cocoa solids
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup superfine sugar
¾ cup ground almonds
2 tsp cornstarch
zest of 1 orange
You will need an 8-in loose-bottomed cake pan, buttered. Preheat the oven 325ºF.
To make the chocolate sponge cake, place the milk and the chopped chestnuts in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool a little. Carefully pour into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Pour into a clean bowl and set aside.
Place the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water, and stir until all the butter and chocolate have melted. Set aside and keep warm.
Using a food processor, or by hand, beat the eggs and the sugar together, until thick and creamy.
Mix the ground almonds, the cornstarch, and the orange zest together.
Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the chestnut purée, then, just as gently, fold in the beaten eggs, followed by the dry ingredients. Transfer the mixture into the buttered cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch. If you stab the cake with a toothpick, the toothpick should come out clean.
2 oz cooked chestnuts, left whole
2 oz pistachio nuts
2 oz cranberry
juice of 1 orange
While the cake is cooking, make the confit cranberries. Bring the simple syrup to a simmer, add the chestnuts, pistachio nuts, cranberries, and orange juice and cook for about 40 minutes, or until just soft. Set aside to cool.
When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it onto a wire rack to cool. Serve in slices with a spoonful of confit cranberries on the top.
Recipe courtesy of The Perfect Ingredient: 5 Fantastic Ways to Cook Apples, Beets, Pork, Scallops, and More by Bryn Williams/Kyle Books, 2012.