Recipe from Pasta Plus!! //

Semifreddo ai marrons glacés
Preparation - Medium
Serves 8

In Rome one could buy marrons glacés in pieces. They are cheaper than the whole ones, which are used for decoration. This dessert was "invented" by us but is typically Italian in concept.

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup good-quality rum
  • 1 cup marrons glacés in pieces
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pound (450 g) chestnut puree, canned or fresh (see note below), flavored with vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream Semisweet chocolate
  • 6 whole marrons glacés for garnish
OO 2 Quart charlotte mold or loaf pan, mixer - or beater and strong arms.

  1. Soak the raisins in the rum for at least 1 hour.
  2. Oil a 2-quart (2-L) charlotte mold or loaf pan.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks for 30 seconds. Add the sugar gradually, beating until stiff and lemon colored. Add the chestnut puree, raisins, rum, and marron glace' pieces to the yolks, mixing well.
  4. Whip the cream until stiff but not dry; whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry.
  5. Fold the whipped cream into the chestnut purée, then fold in the beaten egg whites.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold and cover tightly with foil. Place in the freezer for 6 hours. (This can be prepared in advance and kept in the freezer for almost a week.)
  7. To serve, dip the mold in a basin of hot water for a count of 15 and turn out on a serving plate. Repeat the dip in water, if necessary. Grate chocolate over the top of the dessert and garnish with the reserved whole marrons glace's
NOTE: To make fresh chestnut purée, peel 1 pound 5 ounces (6oo g) fresh chestnuts. Boil in a saucepan of boiling water until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Test by piercing with a needle. Drain and remove skins while hot, using rubber gloves. While the chestnuts are boiling, prepare a sugar syrup. Put 1 scant cup water and 1 scant cup sugar on to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pass the cooked chestnuts through a food mill, add the syrup to the pure'e. Cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Italian Cooking in the Grand Tradition
Jo Bettoja and Anna Maria Cornetto
The Dial Press