Chestnut Pudding

IT was drizzly out and I found myself holding a can of chestnut puree, reminiscing about past trips to Europe and my blossoming fascination with chestnuts. (Read about it here.) I decided to make individual chestnut flans for dessert that night but honestly, the recipe made no sense to me at all and I, as per usual, went my own way. Some say I "ignore" or "don't follow" recipes (and that may be true,) but these turned out way better than any flan I've tasted! The testers (photographed) made for a delicious rainy day brunch too.

The puddings border on souffl├ęs but they don't quite qualify due to the fact you don't whip any egg whites to allow them to rise. Nonetheless, your spoon will slide through the cloud-like pudding and every spoonful will melt in your mouth. The kitchen fills with the warm scent of roasting chestnuts; nutty and sweet with a delicate toasty flavour. My malted milk ice-cream will complete this dessert. 

What you'll need:
1 cup chestnut puree (available from specialty stores)
50g butter, softened
50g brown sugar
6 egg yolks
2 eggs
50g cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Margarine and caster sugar for greasing
Ice-cream to serve

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Use margarine or butter to grease 6 ramekins well. Put a teaspoon of sugar into each ramekin, shake to coat the base and then turn the ramekin onto its side and rotate so that the sugar rolls around to coat the sides. Shake out any excess.

Use an electric mixer to beat together the chestnut puree, butter and brown sugar on high until pale and creamy.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and vanilla. Add this to the chestnut mix and beat until combined and smooth.

Spoon the mixture into prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until the middle springs back when touched. (If unsure, use a skewer to test them. It will come out clean of mixture if cooked.)

Serve hot with a sprinkle of icing sugar and ice-cream.