This isn’t a dessert you can rush – but it’s worth all the fiddling about, I promise. You will need ready made puff pastry sheets and some sieved icing sugar. The filling is made from 50g cooked chestnuts – a half pint of milk, a vanilla pod, 3 eggs and 100g caster sugar with 50g plain flour and a small (30g) pot of whipping cream.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the pastry into 10×4 cm rectangles and place on a lined baking tray, cover with a sheet of baking parchment and weight down with a second tray. Cook for 20 minutes. Once cooked, sprinkle with icing sugar and then return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes to caramelise the sugar.
For the filling, place the milk and chestnuts in a pan and bring to the boil and add a couple of drops of vanilla essence or the seeds from a vanilla pod.
Beat the eggs and the sugar then add the flour followed by the hot chestnut milk. Return the mixture to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the cream into a tray and cover with cling film, pressing the film down to remove any air. Chill for an hour.
Now, whip the cream to soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the crème pâtissière and transfer to a piping bag. Assemble by piping the chestnut cream onto the pastry rectangles. Layer the pastry sheets on top of each other and then top with a 3rd sheet of pastry.
And if anyone knows of a supermarket with cooked chestnuts still in the shelves – please let me know!