Chocolate chestnut fondant – a decadent Christmas dessert

Chestnut chocolate fondant title © J Horak-Druiff 2012

The other day, a friend and fellow-blogger asked an open question of his readers:  do you collect mementos when you travel, and if so, what?  If you’d aked me that question 15 years ago, the answer would have been a resounding “YES! How much time do you have?” At various times over my teenage and 20-something years, I insisted on collecting writing paper from every hotel I stayed in; shells from every beach I walked on; pebbles from cities I had visited, erasers from around he world, key rings, and wine-bottle shaped fridge magnets.  What can I say – I was born a pack rat!!  But moving from my parents home into a small 2-bedroom apartment and then moving countries kind of put paid to my ambition to collect random stuff.  So when Chris asked this question, my first reaction was “no – only photographs”.



But, ah, self-delusion is a wonderful thing.  It is indeed thrue that most of what I bring back from my travels these days takes up no more space than one small memory card.  But one glance at my spice rack and kitchen cupboards tells a different story.  “Seven kinds of salt??  Who the hell needs seven different kinds of salt?” yells my husand in frustration.  “Pistachio paste?  What on earth are you supposed to do with that?” ask my friends in bemusemet.  “Eenie meenie miney mo, which kind of oil shall I use today”, I muse, “Greek olive, Provencal olive, Portuguese olive, Austrian pumkin seed or sesame seed?”.  Yeah right, photos are all I bring back from my travels.  I bring back the entire grocery store.



The other day when I was once again scrabbling about in one of my kitchen cupboards trying to find something useful (tinned tomatoes, sugar, tuna – you know, actual food!) and coming up only with seaweed crisps from Japan, crispbreads from Sweden and achiote paste from Mexico, I decided that I had had enough.  It was time for radical action – a roll call of all the edible flotsam and jetsam in my cupboards was in order, followed by an organised plan to use them up, one by one, and to derive some pleasure from then rather than frustration. To make sure I did not lose sight of the slippery little suckers again, I put my exotic collection on the kitchen counter – and they had barely been there a few days when I caught sight of one of them on my dear friend Jamie’s blog:  the creme de marrons, or sweetened chestntutr cream (think the love-child of a chestnut Nutella and a can of caramelised condensed milk).  The recipe for a decadent and near-flourless chocolate chestnut fondant dessert struck me as the perfect alternative  Christmas dessert, which is why I made it for friends at a pre-Christmas lunch last week.  It is terribly easy to make, and absolutely decadent to eat: think of it as my little Christmas present to you (you can thank me later!).



5.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate chestnut fondant
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This near-flourless decadent chocolate treat is an easy crowd-pleaser.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 160 g) butter (I used salted)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 x 500 g tin of Crème de Marron (sweetened chestnut cream)
  • 1 rounded Tbs plain flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20cm springform pan with baking paper.
  2. Break the chocolate into squares into a heatproof Pyrex bowl. Cut the butter into blocks and add to the bowl, then set the Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water on the stove (do not let the bowl touch the water). When the chocolate is mostly melted, remove from the heat and stir stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture blended and smooth. Allow the mixture to cool until it is lukewarm.
  3. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat well until blended, then whisk in the chestnut cream. Slowly add the chocolate mixture while continuing to whisk. Sift in the flour and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the fodant is set in the centre, slightly puffed and cracking a little.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Mine was served at a pre-Christmas dinner, accompanied by thick brandied cream.




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  1. says

    I grew up spending my summer holidays with a french family in Savoie. One of the things I used to bring home with me every year was a can of this sweetened chestnut puree. MY idea was that my mother would make the dessert we enjoyed in a patisserie in Chambery, called Mont Blanc, which from memory had vanilla icecream, chestnut puree, vanilla cream and chocolate in a huge ‘mountain’.

    It’s wonderful stuff…

    • Jeanne says

      Oh yes, I am sure I have heard of (or maybe even tried??) Mont Blanc as a dessert! Yummy! This can was bought mainly because it is so pretty and had been lurking in the cupboard for a while – this is a fantastic way to use it up (and probably easier to make than Mont Blanc LOL!). I love the Savoie, summer or winter…

  2. says

    This rings all the bells for me this Christmas Eve Jeanne. The delicious dessert share by friends and the recognition that we have so much in common — photos and intriguing ingredients from around the world. And those fabulous Plate to Page goodie bags only add to our cookery addictions! Merry Christmas to you and Nick!

    • Jeanne says

      Hahaha – yes – the P2P goodie bags are the source of many ingredients to mystify friends in my kitchen! And yes – we are definitely cut from the same cloth as far as photos and exotic ingredients are concerned. Wishing you and yours the very best for 2013 – would be wonderful if we managed to meet up again!

  3. says

    Oh you are hilarious, Jeanne. :-) I just returned from a two-trip to Brisbane and have BAGS of food found at the most wonderful European delicatessen. :-) It extends the pleasure of any trip no end to have such treasures in the pantry. :-)

    • Jeanne says

      Hahaha – oh Krista, we are secret foodie sisters! I have carried back so many kgs of food items from my travels – I just can’t say no! And as you say, when you cook with them later, it is a little like re-living the trip…

    • Jeanne says

      It is ridiculously easy to make (and even easier to eat LOL!) Hope you had a great Christmas and wishing you all the best for 2013!

  4. says

    My father is also a pack rat… the man doesn’t throw anything away. So, this made me laugh. I, on the other hand, love getting rid of things. And now that I’m taking pictures everywhere, that’s the only memento I need.

    Love the look of this fondant! Just gorgeous!

    • Jeanne says

      The older I get, the more I fight my pack-rat tendencies… I have weaned myself (mostly!) off buying random stuff – I find it easier not to buy something in the first place than to try and throw it out later (saddo!!). The fondant is awesome, even if I say so myself – so easy to make and totally decadent to eat, at any time of year…

    • Jeanne says

      That’s the funny thing – I don’t like chestnuts or chestnut cream much either! But in this fondant, it adds texture more than flavour – the whole thing is just divine…

    • Jeanne says

      Hah – I thought I was the only crazy woman to do that! I’ve paid for carry-on luggage before just so I knew I could bring back food and wine from a trip!

  5. says

    Jamie gave me a can of this once and I wish I could easily buy the same brand again! The cans are so pretty. I am exactly the same bring back the grocery store, the stuff I have lurking in my cupboards from France is quite unbelievable!!

    I love the look of this fondant cake, it would be a perfect new year dessert.

    • Jeanne says

      Oh but you can! The big Sainsburys near my house sells that very brand :) Let me know if you want some and I can try and get some for you before our January meet up! I have made an early new year’s resolution to use up some of the ton of stuff lurking in my cupboards this year…

    • Jeanne says

      Wel… if you want me to bring you some when next I come to SA, put your order in now ;o) Seriously though, I am almost sure you can make a fondant cake with Nutella too – will have to investigate!

  6. says

    It’s funny because I’m doing the exact same thing with my pantry right now and searching for a recipe to use up my chestnut paste is exactly what brought me here 😀 I think I’ve found my winner!

  7. says

    How did I not see this? Your fondant is gorgeous!! Perfect in every way and it is time to pull out a can of crème de marron and make this again!