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Food

Christmas chocolate chestnut hearts

by Sarah Randell

Jenna, our cookery intern, is from the South Tyrol in northern Italy, where chestnuts are one of the most common ingredients in autumn and winter. She describes family walks in the Dolomites followed by hearty meals in favourite local eateries, that end with a bowl of roast chestnuts for everyone to share.

It all sounds pretty idyllic, so when Jenna said she wanted to make her chocolate chestnut hearts in the test kitchen, our mouths were watering. They're lovely, with a smooth chestnut centre and a crisp chocolate coating – great to box up as a last-minute pressie or to serve after a festive feast.

Have you got any favourite chestnut recipes to share? Let us know in the comments box below.

CHOCOLATE CHESTNUT HEARTS

(makes about 15, depending on the size of your cutter)

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CHESTNUT MIXTURE
  • 1 x 200g pack Merchant Gourmet cooked and ready-to-eat chestnuts
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp rum
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • FOR THE CHOCOLATE COATING
  • 75g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 75g dark chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Whiz together all the ingredients for the chestnut mixture in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Spread the mixture 1.5cm thick on to a small baking sheet lined with nonstick baking paper. Freeze for 15 minutes or until firm.
  3. Stamp out heart shapes from the mixture using a small heart-shaped cutter. Freeze the chestnut hearts for at least 15 minutes to firm them up again.
  4. Melt the milk and dark chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the heat and let the chocolate cool slightly.
  6. Dip one side of each chilled chestnut heart into the melted chocolate, transferring them to a wire rack set over a baking sheet as you go.
  7. Transfer the hearts to the fridge (still on the rack) and chill for 30 minutes before eating.

Tip

You can leave the chestnut hearts in the fridge for a day or so if you're not eating them straight away.

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