You may be asking, "Aileen, why did you choose this for Ski Week?" Well, reader, I was thinking of the Christmas song line Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...which makes me think of camp fires and being snuggly and cozy. On a ski trip, don't you want to be snuggly and cozy when you get off of the slopes?
I rest my case.
Next question: where does one find chestnuts? I found mine at the local grocery store, Wegmans. They had both whole raw chestnuts and a smaller package of shelled and pre-steamed chestnuts, in the refrigerated salad area. I suggest getting the shelled and steamed chestnuts because it is probably cheaper and less work for sure. It's also the correct serving size. I've seen non-refrigerated packages as well, so be on the look out for those too.
This torte is deliciously chocolaty and quite rich. It's dense because it has no flour, but that also makes it gluten-free too! It's like eating a piece of decadent fudge.
One thing I want to mention (which I've mentioned before) is that you have to use quality cocoa powder. If you want to go a little cheaper, try the Hershey's Special Dark. My favorite is Guittard Cocoa Rouge, which I found at World Market for $5.99! That was certainly a steal. I bought two on that trip.
It really makes a difference in the flavor of your dessert. Consider upgrading. I also like mixing cocoa powders: maybe do half dark and have regular. Try it and you'll never go back to regular cocoa powder!
Adapted from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook
About 7 ounces of chestnuts, shelled and steamed
2 T. organic cane sugar
1/3 c. amaretto (try making it yourself!)
8 T. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
5 ounces of dark chocolate (vegan)
1 ripe banana, creamed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. ground flaxseed
3 T. water
3/4 c. coconut sugar
pinch of cinnamon
Next, preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8 inch spring form pan with coconut oil and line it with a piece of parchment paper. Dust it with cocoa powder.
In a small cup, add the flax and water and stir. Allow it to gel together for about 10 minutes.
In a large saucepan, combine the chestnuts, cane sugar, and amaretto. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to medium; cook for 5 minutes. When it's done, add the vanilla and remove it from the heat.
Pour the chestnut mixture into your food processor, along with the banana, flax mixture, and cinnamon. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Using a heat-safe bowl and small pan, create a double boiler. (Put an inch or two of water in the pan; place the bowl on top, not touching the water inside.) In the bowl, add the chocolate, shortening, and coconut sugar. Heat the pot on medium and stir until everything is melted and combined. Remove it from the heat. Scoop the chestnut puree out of the processor and stir it into the melted chocolate. Now you have your batter!
Pour the batter into the lined pan. Place the it on a baking sheet to catch anything that leaks out of the spring form pan. Bake the torte for about 30 minutes.
Allow the torte to cook completely. Once it's cool, place it in the fridge for a few hours. When you're ready to serve, add any embellishments that you want!
This torte would taste amazing with a warm glass of coffee (Irish Coffee?!). I can imagine sitting near a fire and diving right in. Enjoy!