We had a little family Easter gathering on Sunday. I find holidays the perfect excuse to get stuck in to our wonderful cookbook collection and to make tasty new things. This time we were inspired by Hetty McKinnon and we made two of her epic salads. One from her first book Community and one from her equally fabulous second book Neighbourhood.
We made the chargrilled cauliflower with fried butter beans and pumpkin hummus. Due to an abundance of Autumn chestnuts in our fridge at present we decided to make the roasted Chestnuts with pan-fried pears, blue cheese, witlof and mustard vinaigrette (witlof is actually brilliant in salads and is worth the search in the lettuce isle/shelf). We made Cornersmith’s citrus braised fennel to serve alongside our whole Silver Bream in a potato crust, inspired by Eleonora Galasso and her delicious book “As the Romans do”.
For dessert, I couldn’t resist using the chestnut purée which I had prepared after our chestnut picking expedition. Chocolate and chestnut are meant to be together and this nutty cake is such a great one for Easter as it’s not insanely sweet and balances out all the chocolate eggs perfectly.
Chocolate & Chestnut Cake
Makes one 10″ cake
5 large free range eggs, separated
1/2 cup honey
100g unsalted butter
470g chestnut purée (see my chestnut post for instructions)
40g roasted chestnuts, peeled and ground in a food processor
1 1/4 cup ground roasted hazelnuts
zest of 1 lemon
113g quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line a 10″ springform cake pan with baking paper.
Mix the egg yolks and honey in a large bowl, until thick and smooth.
Add butter, chestnut purée, roasted ground chestnuts, ground hazelnuts, lemon zest and chocolate. Mix thoroughly until everything is well combined.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form.
Carefully fold the egg whites into the cake mixture, maintaining as much of the air as possible.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
I served mine with some crushed chocolate eggs on top but edible flowers would be beautiful too.