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Chestnut Torte

The following recipe is from the February 13th edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

I was drawn to Alice Medrich's recipe for chestnut torte from Bittersweet because right now I'd love any reason to roast chestnuts and fill my home with warmth. It's brain-freezing cold in NYC right now; a fat slice of chocolate flavored chestnut cake might just take my mind off of my sore frostbitten skin. And if you're not freezing your butt off, I'm sure it would also be a nice dessert for Valentine's Day.

Chocolate Notes: You can use standard bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (without a percentage on the label), or any marked 50% to 62%, I don't like to overwhelm the flavor of the chestnuts. To keep the flavors in balance, I compensate for the intensity of the higher percentage chocolates as follows:

To use chocolate marked 64% to 66% instead of standard bittersweet: Use 3 1/2 ounces chocolate.

For chocolate marked 70% to 72% instead of standard bittersweet: Use 3 ounces chocolate, and increase the sugar to 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon.

Note on Chestnuts: If you don't want to roast or steam your own, the best cooked whole chestnuts come in vacuum packages in better supermarkets and gourmet stores. Those in jars are not quite as good, but they are still acceptable. Do not confuse them with sweetened chestnuts or chestnuts packed in syrup. You can also use Faugier chestnut puree (ingredients are listed as: chestnut puree, water, corn syrup), which is essentially unsweetened except for the tiny amount of corn syrup. Do not confuse the latter for sweetened chestnut puree, also called chestnut spread, that comes in jars.

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