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chestnut, chocolate and maple torte

November 19, 2012

Serves 12+
Prep time: 10 mins – 3 hrs depending how you do it; plus overnight chilling

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Don’t let the tofu fool you – this torte is as rich and delicious as cakelike things can be.

I know that ‘decadent’ is not the word to use here, partly because it’s such a cliché and partly because the term’s actual meaning is a very specific historical idea about what happens to a culture in its end days, which really has nothing to do with a nice, if slightly calorific, thing to eat.  Anyway, who wants to associate food with decay?  Yuk.  And yet this torte makes me think of that word, and other words you might normally associate with M&S Food adverts.  I can’t help it.

This is because I am a PRODUCT OF MY TIME, people, a time when once-concrete socio-political ideas drift unmoored and attach themselves to delicious, frivolous things.  And somehow I have a dim awareness that this is, in itself, a sign of the extreme decadence of our own times.

Well then.  In which case, let me tell you that in our house Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a dessert as lusciously, luxuriously decadent as this one, that can live in the fridge for days after the main event, being secretly devoured by the spoonful.  While society careers unstoppably towards its imminent demise, obvs.

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If you use ready-cooked chestnuts the whole thing can be thrown together in minutes.  If, however, you go with fresh it becomes rather more of a labour of love, but the extra time spent shelling roasted nuts in front of the telly will reward the final flavour with a nostalgic smokiness that is guaranteed to evoke every Christmassy reference you can dream of.

Ingredients

For the base:
Bourbon biscuits, 300g, crushed
Dairy-free margarine (I used Pure), 75g

For the top:
Dairy-free margarine, 150g
Silken tofu, one packet (350g)
Chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa solids, 300g
Fresh chestnuts in their shells, 900g or pre-packaged cooked chestnuts, 400g
Maple syrup, 175ml
A splash of rum or whisky (if you are so inclined – too many children in our house, I’m afraid, but it would taste very good)
Cocoa powder to dust

If you have fresh chestnuts you will need to roast them and peel them.  There are some excellent online tutorials on how to do this (such as this one).

Prepare the base: melt 75g margarine, mix with the bourbon biscuit crumbs, and press into the base of a 9in springform cake tin.  Rest it in the fridge for at least ten minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, as gently as you can.  Melt the margarine.  Put the chestnut kernels into a food processer and grind finely, then add the tofu, margarine, melted chocolate, maple syrup and alcohol, if using, and combine well.  This mixture is quite a lot: I mixed mine in batches as my food processor is tiny.

Pour into the cake tin, smoothing over the surface, and leave to cool overnight in the fridge.

Dust with cocoa powder before serving.  And that is it.

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From → Desserts, Recipes

9 Comments
  1. Gorgeous torte! Very impressive!

  2. Elyse permalink

    it looks amazing! i think i’ll be making this for Christmas dessert too! 🙂

  3. this sounds totally amazing, delicious and YUM. I’m gonna bookmark it!

  4. Hi, I saw your post about this torte on the PPK – it looks amazing and it is now on my list of things to make. Is the tofu you use firm or soft silken tofu?

  5. Hi, great to hear it’s on your list! I used firm silken. But I think that soft would work out OK too, the torte is pretty firm anyway thanks to the nuts and marg 🙂

  6. Ohhh man, I know what I’m making for Christmas feasting. This looks incredible.

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