Califonia Bountiful
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Chestnut pudding with persimmon sorbet

Chestnut pudding with persimmon sorbet


Persimmon sorbet
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 to 5 ripe Hachiya persimmons (make sure they are soft)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt

Chestnut pudding
10 1/2 oz. peeled chestnuts (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup medium brown sugar
5 tbsp. butter, softened
3 1/2 tbsp. skinned, ground almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
2 pinches of salt
5 eggs

Chef Luca Crestanelli acknowledges a fondness for the rich, complex flavor of chestnuts, which are abundant in his native Italy. But can the persimmon sorbet stand on its own? "Yes, absolutely."


For sorbet: Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar dissolves completely, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Slice persimmons, leaving skin on and removing seeds if needed. In a blender or food processor, blend fruit with syrup until smooth and silky. Transfer to a bowl and add lemon juice, lemon peel and salt. Mix until well combined. Chill in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours, stirring with a spatula every 30 to 40 minutes to keep ice crystals from forming and to freeze sorbet uniformly. If using a home ice-cream maker, freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

For pudding: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chestnuts in a saucepan and add milk to cover. Cook over medium heat until chestnuts are tender, 5 to 10 minutes for packaged, precooked versions. Drain. Puree chestnuts in a blender or food processor. Pour puree in a mixing bowl with brown sugar, butter, almonds, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix until blended. Separate eggs. Beat yolks and add to chestnut mixture. Beat whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into chestnut mixture. Pour into individual ramekins (or a round, ovenproof baking dish). Place in a water bath in a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

To serve: Place a ramekin of chestnut pudding on a serving plate with a scoop of sorbet—either on top of the warm pudding or on the side.

Serves 4

Photo: © 2019 Silas Fallstich