October 29, 2004

autumn rolls on

Wednesday, October 27

After the mont blanc and chestnut pound cake, I still had quite a little stock of chestnut cream and sweetened chestnuts. And there are still more than a few recipes for chestnut desserts I wanted to try, one of which was mousse aux marrons (chestnut mousse).

The recipe is from a Japanese dessert book by Minami Watanabe, and it is made in a shape of a log of mousse aux marrons (chestnut mousse) covered with genoise (sponge cake), and coated with creme chantilly (whipped cream). A bit fancy one, at least to me who has been rather lazy and avoiding something that requires "assembly" of more than one components. So I first planned to make the chestnut mousse only, but at the last minute I changed my mind and did make genoise - but did not compose a log but instead made gateau roule (cake roll). I don't remember when I made this jelly-roll kind of cakes the last time, but it had to be a very long time ago.

First I made a sheet of cocoa sponge cake (I should have added more cocoa powder), then the chestnut mousse, this time using Sierra Rica's sweet chestnut puree, which is not overly sweet and reserves a wonderful chestnuts flavor that I love.
This mousse was more like bavarois in that it is made with egg yolks, sugar, milk and cream plus chestnut puree, set with gelatine. This wasn't a problem though, as I love bavarois a lot.

To fold in the mousse, I used shibukawa-ni, or Japanese sweetened chestnuts cooked with their thin skin on. When it comes to chestnut products, Japanese and European ones are substantially different, most likely due to the chestnuts themselves. Japanese chestnuts seem to be larger with thicker skin, which is usually removed but sometime left on, like in these shibukawa-ni sweetened chestnuts. After long hours of cooking, the thin skin becomes very tender and least annoying, at the same time adding a subtle and pleasant bitterness to the finished products. My mom and aunts would make these almost every year at around this time, and they are my definite favorite. This time, though, I used store-bought ones and soaked them in brandy for a while.

Once the genoise had cooled completely and the mousse had become stiff enough to handle, I went on to roll the cake. First I brushed syrup on the cake, spread the mousse, sprinkled the chopped chestnuts, and rolled.

It didn't quite roll pretty, but it was okay; my chestnut mousse roll tasted really good - both the cake and mousse were wonderfully light and airy, so much so it was hard to stop after just one slice and thus it disappeared pretty quick -, so I don't care.

Well, I do care, in fact, and next time I make a cake roll, I will try to make it in a better, nice and round shape. Hopefully.


Anonymous said...

I think the roll looks very good!
and chocolate and chestnut is always a scrummy pairing.
in a little bit of food serendipity, I've been experimenting with roulades too... which will all hopefully lead to some kind of yule log before Xmas ; D


Alicat said...

Those are the most amazing pics!! It truly looks delish! :)

Anonymous said...

This does look yummy! And I think your cake roll is fine. But if you want it to roll up into more of a spiral, there is one trick you can use to shape the cake while it is still warm and flexible. When the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool in the pan for only 5 or 10 minutes. Then put a clean dish towel over it and invert the pan, so the sheet of cake comes out on the towel. Then you can gently roll up the cake (and towel) into a loose roll, so it cools/dries in that shape. It will still be flexible enough to unroll so you can get the filling in later, when it's cool; it will unroll into a "U" shape, but it won't lie flat. Then you can get it rolled up into a spiral shape.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Renee - oooooh I love yule logs for christmas! I can't wait how you come up with for the holiday :)

alicat - thanks, thanks always for your kind words :D

someone - thanks a lot for dropping by and leaving some tips! I have tried that pre-rolling method before, a long time ago when I miserably broke up the sponge (ouch!) I really should have been more careful in doing it, other than making sure the sponge is not dry. I will sure give it revenge for sure :(

drstel said...

hi! this looks so good. May I have the recipe pls.?? and can I use this tin of "whole peeled chestnuts," clement Faugier brand fr France?
Thank you...your recipes and photos are amazing!

chika said...

Hi drstel,

I'd love to share the recipe with you if you don't mind waiting for a bit while, as I'm not really likely to have much time to spend to translate the recipe into English for now...
Clement Faugier's should be good, but you will have to make puree out of them as the mousse calls for puree. Also, if they are "plain", unsweetened chestnuts you might need to adjust the amount of sugar in the mousse; commercially available sweetened chestnut puree, including Clement Faugier's puree, typically contains 50-60% sugar (dang!).

drstel said...

thank you chika! I'll wait (expiration dates are long..)