This tart is just glorious as the cool weather starts at the beginning of winter and the chestnuts are fresh and plump. The chestnuts seem to carry a sense of warmth even when the tart is cool and the orange and cherries accentuate the creamy chestnut filling.
This is probably the most unique recipe so far on the LAB kitchen and something that I think turned out even better than expected. Once I decided on the flavours for the tart I tried to find some recipes for guidance on the internet but came up with nothing, so this is definitely a LAB signature recipe.
After finding chestnuts at the markets I felt urged to do something wonderful with them and this tart lived up to my desire. The tart is very creamy, almost like a very light cheesecake.
You could cook the pie filling in little ramekins without the pastry base for a gluten-free dessert. This would also be a beautiful way to end a Fall dinner just served warm, like little pots of love.
I would probably recommend buying chestnut puree unless you have a few extra hands around the kitchen to help peel the chestnuts. Also, making the puree adds quite a bit of time to a fairly simple tart. Of course fresh chestnut puree is lovely and I’ll probably make it once a year as a treat for chestnut season.
As the tart is quite delicate, use a pan from which you can easily remove the final tart such as a spring-form pan or a pan with a base that lifts out.
Tarte de la Crème de Marrons avec Griottes (Chestnut Cream Tart with Morello Cherries)
1 and ½ cups of flour
1/3 cup of icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
125g of butter, in ½ inch cubes
1 egg yolk
1tbs of chilled water
2/3 cup of castor sugar (fine grained white sugar)
1tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ cups of chestnut puree (not sweetened, if sweetened, reduce the sugar amount)
½ cup of cream
Finely grated rind of one orange
½ a bottle of pitted Morello cherries, drained
Mix the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolk and chilled water and continue to process until the mix just comes together, be careful not to over process.
Form the pastry dough into a ball on some plastic wrap. Slightly flatten the ball and then chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. After 30 minutes, remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to the thickness you would like for your pastry.
You can either just have a pastry base, for which you use your pan as a template to cut out the pastry and place it in the base of a spring-form pan. Otherwise you can have it come partly or fully up the sides of the pan. I quite like it to come half-way up the side for a rustic look.
Blind bake the pastry for around 18 minutes until just colouring, but not yet golden. In the meantime, prepare your filling.
Mix the castor sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until well combined and smooth.
Add the chestnut puree, push it through a sieve if it is homemade puree to get a smooth texture. Mix until well combined.
Mix through the orange rind and cream until incorporated and the whole mix is silky smooth.
Poor the chestnut mix onto the tart base then spread the cherries evenly on top. Bake at 180 degrees for around 1 hour until the middle doesn’t wobble when the pan is gently moved.
Serve with whipped cream to guests you love dearly.