Tag Archives: Chocolate

Happy New Year! Chestnuts everywhere ( continued)


Magic in the kitchen

Chapter three

Chestnut purée CAKES

It’s 1st of january 2013!

Last night we had our friends around for a New Year celebration !

As a tradition here at La Croix du Reh  the New Year’s night dinner is all russian cuisine!

however, we made a couple of french (foie gras) and british ( roast potatoes) additions to our table this year.

And as per russian tradition we had a assortment of winter salads for starters, the Beef Stroganoff with roasted potatoes, green beans and mushrooms à la Russe and of course 2 cakes “white” and “black”.

Both cakes were appreciated by our guests.

Little they know,  that both cakes were made with the same base recipe My chestnut purée cake and it was the filling that made both cakes so different one from the other.

So here there are.

Chestnut purée and chocolate cake.


For base:

  •   400 gr sweet chestnut purée
  •   5 medium eggs
  •   100 gr light brown  or white sugar
  •   100 gr  softened butter
  •   1 – 2 tbsp Rum
  •   300 gr Ground almonds
  •   1 1/2 ts baking powder

For filling:

  • 200 gr sweet chestnut purée
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100 gr soft butter
  • 100 gr crushed hazelnuts or walnuts

For chocolate frosting:

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 200 gr dark chocolate


  1. Make a cake mixture as in the Chestnut purée cake recipe
  2. Divide the mixture into tree equal parts and bake in two separate  21cm -26cm buttered and lined tins and bake in preheated 170°C oven.
  3. Once the bases are ready, remove the tins from the oven, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool on the rack, without taking the cake bases out of the cake form.

* It is possible to bake the mixture in one tin and slice it into three after it’s cooled down.

4.  Prepare the filling by whisking sweet chestnut purée, cocoa and soft butter until light and fluffy.

5. Prepare the chocolate frosting.  Heat the cream and sugar to the boiling point .  Add the chocolate, broken into pieces and mix well until smooth glossy ganache achieved.

6. Set ganache aside to cool completely.

5. Arrange the first cake base on the plate , cover generously with prepared filling and sprinkle with  hazelnuts.

6. Repeat  with the second layer.

7. Arrange the third cake base on the top.

8. Whisk cold ganache until light and fluffy and pipe or smudge it all over the cake.

9.  Put cake into the fridge for at least couple of hours to set or until ready to serve.

And Voila!

Happy New Year, everybody!

I wish you all the best in 2013: good health, peace and love!

PS Find the White chestnut cake in my recipe section.

La Croix du Reh b&b Limousin France

31 March 2012

It’s Saturday the 31st of March, Peter’s birthday: big 65.I booked a table for two in La Truffe Noire in Brive la Gaillard for lunch.Just an hour drive south from home, but what a difference to a landscape: most of the trees are already showing the newborn greens and the snow-white blossom has gently started enveloping the fruit trees like a bridal veil. The sun was shining in the blue clear sky and the warm breeze was gently kissing the skin through the open window – perfect day for a celebration!
 Brive la Gaillard is a fairly sizeable town. The beautiful old stone houses line the narrow streets, and the new-builds are carefully crafted to harmoniously join them with matching colors of local stone and slate covered roofs.
The narrow one-way streets turning and turning, squeezing between the  buildings, eventually lead us to the Hotel-restaurant. The young handsome waiter greeted us at the doors and started speaking in English as soon as he heard our obviously accented “Bonjour”.   I replied to him in French; we are in France after all. We chose one of the tables on the terrace. Surprisingly there were few other patrons.
The “Handsome” took our orders and a waitress brought over our wine, or shall I say, Peter’s wine. Oh yes, he had the whole bottle of very nice light red for himself. I had to stick to my bottle of “eau minerale” as I was driving and it was his 65th Birthday after all. Cheers!
The third waiter arrived with sets of folks, knives and spoons for our starters. It did feel special: so much fuss around the two of us.
And here comes the starter: we ordered different food, so we can try each other’s. Peter had “Cassoulet lutèe d’escargots ” Gros Gris” Girolles et coulis de persil” – Snails and Girolles cassoulets in parsley coulis. It was well presented and beautifully decorated with a sesamed curl of crunchy “paté brick” : it was absolutely yummy!
I chose « Œufs cocotte sauce Cèpes et Foie gras » – pot of baked egg with cep sauce and Foie gras, which left me somewhat disappointed. Maybe, it was because I have made a similar dish for our guests at La Croix du Reh so many times that I expected it to be something truly special, especially for the price of it ( 14€ seemed to be a little too ambitious).
The main course was really good: Peter was raving about his “Ris de Veau aux Cèpes” – Veal Sweetbreads with mashed potatoes with ceps and vegetables. For once my husband could not even speak, it was food from heaven! I don’t know how, but he has this amazing ability to pick the best dishes out of a menu, even if it’s written in French! 
I had a “Découverte poissons” – “Discovering fish” which was a very tasty, melting in your mouth piece of sea bass on a risotto bed with white sauce , two grilled tiger prawns tails wrapped in glass noodles with an Asian style sauce and a filet of trout on a bed of vegetables. The fish and the prawns were succulent, juicy and the garnish for the fish was just right.

And for a Grand Finale: Baba au Rhum (with plenty of rum coming with it). When I phoned to book a table, I mentioned that it was my husband’s birthday.  It was a very pleasant surprise, when the waitress delivered Peter’s dessert with a couple of lit candles. The Baba was fab! Probably it was one of the chef’s specialties. It went as we say in Russia “with a Hooray!”

Of course I sang “Happy birthday to you” to the amusement of the other diners!

My dessert was a hot chocolate soufflé. The French are very proud of their chocolate and what they do with it and I was very excited about my chocolate dessert. The soufflé came with a chocolate cone filled with something that tasted like a chocolate butter and was very heavy and too sweet to eat. The top half of the soufflé itself was hot and the bottom half cold. My heart sank – what a disappointment!

Soufflé chocolat chaud” – it looked fabulous when it arrived. Shame it did not taste up to presentation.

And here we have the same restaurant the same chef, two different menus: one – the food of delight and the other – very average, overpriced and disappointing.

To finish on a positive note: the presentation of all of the dishes was original and the staff is very friendly, attentive and not intrusive. We were the last to finish and the restaurant was closed, but no one was hurrying us to leave by glancing obviously our way to check, if we had finished: we were left alone and we were given privacy and as much time as we wanted. In addition, we were allowed to leave our car in the restaurant’s car park while we took a walk around the town.The town was hot, sunny and crowdied. We walked around winding streets of the Brive centre looking at the shop windows and watching people enjoying the beautiful day out. Kids  were running around just relaxed, happy and their giggles and laughter wer waking up the town still sleepy after a long and harsh winter. Spring was in the air and we enjoyed every second of it!