Chestnut lovers will love these tender individual cakes with the multi-layered flavors of crème anglaise infused with dried fruits, chestnut honey, and fresh rosemary. Garnished with a roasted chestnut and small rosemary sprig, they’re sophisticated yet evocative of a comfort food dessert.
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Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Shelf life: cakes: 2 to 3 days tightly covered; Crème Anglaise: 2 to 3 days
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon chestnut honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks at room temperature
¾ teaspoon orange extract
1 ounce dried pears, finely diced
1 ounce dried cranberries, finely diced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, plus 6 small sprigs to garnish
6 roasted and peeled chestnuts, to garnish (optional)
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup chestnut flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the crème anglaise: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, honey, sugar, and salt until small bubbles form around the rim, stirring to mix well.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and orange extract until smooth. Slowly whisk in half of the warmed milk. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens and lightly coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Immediately pour the custard through a strainer into a bowl set over ice; whisk continuously for a few minutes to cool. Stir in the pears, cranberries, and rosemary; cover with plastic wrap just touching the surface of the custard, and refrigerate.
- Make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray and lightly dust 1 (6-cup) muffin tin with flour.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs until blended. Sift the chestnut flour, baking powder, and salt into the butter mixture. Add the vanilla and stir with a silicon spatula until blended. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared muffin tin and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Remove and cool in the tin.
- To serve: place unmolded cakes in flat bowls or on plates. Ladle the crème anglaise over and around them. Garnish with a small rosemary sprig and chestnut.