Looking for a festive pudding to serve to guests who don't like traditional Christmas pudding. Victoria has the answer with this light and seasonal chestnut mousse pudding. It's gluten free too.
I’m particularly partial to a chestnut
, which makes this time of year especially pleasing for a Mont Blanc fanatic like me, as I can scoff as many as I can reach without a single finger wag of judgment. Eating chestnuts is festive, don’t you know, so this is a perfect compromise for those who shun traditional Christmas pudding.
Although I can't possibly bring myself to agree with them, I know there are plenty of people out there who shudder at the thought of Christmas pudding or anything that bats even a single eyelash in the direction of dried fruit. Christmas can be a tricky time for them, faced, as they are, with Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding at every turn. It seems that a British Christmas is a veritable banquet of raisins, currants, sultanas, dates and figs. Personally I love a dried fruit, especially one that's been soaked in enough rum and brandy to keep a swashbuckle of pirates happy for a month, but hey ho. Different strokes for different folks. And Christmas is the time to draw people together, not drive them to hide food in their handbags. A time when no one should be excluded. Even if they are fussy eaters.
For the rest of us, this deliciously light, sweet and nutty mousse make an excellent warm up act to a flaming figgy pudding. Well, it is Christmas after all…
Festive Chestnut Mousse
4 eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
300ml double cream
250g sweetened chestnut purée
4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
1 tbsp. boiling water
First, make custard. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. In the meantime, place the cream and vanilla in a saucepan over a gentle heat. When the cream just scalds, pour it over the egg mixture and whisk again. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and continue to stir over a gentle heat until the custard is thick enough so that you can coat the back of a spoon with it and draw a line through it with your finger. Decant the custard into a cold jug or bowl so that it doesn’t continue to cook. Leave to cool.
Once cool, squeeze the excess water out of the soaked gelatine and dissolve it in the boiling water before whisking it into the cooled custard, followed by the chestnut puree. Finally, in a clean bowl and with clean beaters, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Vigorously beat one-third of the egg whites into the chestnut custard and fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture with a large metal spoon until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into Martini glasses (or whatever vessels you like) and pop them in the fridge for at least four hours to set.
Once set, dust the top with cocoa and decorate with a little piece of gold leaf, if you like.