Chestnut Mousse with Almond Milk sauce

Chestnut Mousse with Almond Milk

This is a lovely light holiday themed dessert. I came up with a quick recipe for candied Chestnuts, while our guests were eating the main course.
1 Cup Whipping cream
1 Package Unflavoured Gelatin
1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Cup Unsweetened Chestnut puree (recipe follows)
1 tbsp Cognac
2 Egg whites
SAUCE:
1/2 Cup Whole blanched almonds
1 Cup Whole milk
2 Tbsp almond Liquor
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Candied Chestnuts for garnish (recipe to follow)

Pour 1/4 Cup cream in to a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over the top. Meanwhile ship remaining cream with 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla, until soft peaks form.  Refrigerate.

Heat gelatin and cream mixture over low heat, stirring until gelatin dissolves.  Remove from heat and stir in chestnut puree and Cognac.

with an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add remaining sugar beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold whipped cream and chestnut mixture together. then fold egg whites into the mixture. Pour into 6 individual soufflé dishes or custard cups. Smooth the surface and refrigerate for 4 hours.

For Sauce, place almonds and milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Puree in blender, then strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan.

Mix almond liquor and cornstarch together. Whisk into almond milk and bring to the boil. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Pour into a small bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Cool and refrigerate.

To serve, run a knife around the sides of dishes and dip in hot water for 1 minute, then turn out onto serving plate. Pour 2 Tbsp of sauce around mousse and garnish with candied chestnuts.

Chestnut Puree

7 oz  vacpac of roasted chestnuts
1 1/4 Cups whole milk (more if needed)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Combine chestnuts, milk, and salt in a saucepan. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, and toss in pod. Bring to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until chestnuts are very soft and all but about 1/2 cup of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, reserving chestnuts and cooking liquid separately and discarding vanilla pod. Process chestnuts in a food processor until very smooth, adding reserved cooking liquid (and additional milk if needed), 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is the consistency of a thick spread. Pour through a large-mesh sieve. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Candied Chestnuts

3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2  vanilla bean split lengthwise
1 vacpac roasted whole chestnuts

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using a sharp paring knife, scrape the seeds into the pan, then add the pod. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil.

Add the chestnuts. (If using vacuum-packed nuts, separate them carefully so they don’t break apart.) Bring the syrup to a simmer. Simmer until the chestnuts look translucent but are still firm, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

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