Despite its rich flavor and consistency, this quick-and-easy winter dessert is actually very healthy as it contains no eggs, dairy or flour. It is particularly impressive-looking for a festive dinner party when piped into serving glasses with the help of a pastry bag. Serves 4.
250 g plain chestnuts (vacuum-packed on from a jar)
350 ml hazelnut or almond milk
50 g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa content), broken into chunks
1 tbsp acacia honey
1 tbsp butter or hazelnut ‘butter’ (health-food store)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Tip the chestnuts into a small saucepan and cover with the milk. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted, then add butter or hazelnut butter and vanilla essence.
With a hand-held blender, puree (still in the saucepan – careful to avoid splattering) until the chestnuts turn into a soft puree. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally as the mixture thickens. Fill cream into a piping bag and squirt into small serving cups or glasses; if you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a plastic freezer bag with a small corner cut off, or simply spoon the cream into glasses.
Leave to cool, then cover and chill. (The cream continues to firm up as it cools.) Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings or chopped nuts, grated coconut or serve plain with a butter-sugar-roasted chestnut (see above) perched on top. If you think this is altogether too healthy-tasting, feel free to pour a tablespoon of cream over the top!