Date, chestnut and blueberry cake

by Chiara

Chestnut recipes are my favorite things to make during the fall season. In fact, one year ago, I shared the recipe for a gluten-free blueberry and chestnut tart and it seemed you all loved it!
Blueberry is one of those fruits that works wonders with the natural sweetness of chestnut, thanks to its particularly floral, citrus-like scents that sets it apart.
Just to prove that this is one of the most delicious and perfect foodpairing in world, I made another blueberry and chestnut dessert. To be specific, a gluten-free blueberry, chestnut and date cake!
Date is actually the add-in ingredient that gives a wonderful moisture and tenderness, as well as a fantastic depth of natural sweet flavor. 

The recipe is for 2 gluten-free cakes of Ø 15 cm. You can easily choose to make a single large cake, as you prefer. These are the main components:

  • Gluten-free chestnut, honey and hazelnut croustillant
  • Gluten-free date and chestnut sponge cake
  • Blueberry and white chocolate crémeux
  • Dulcey 32% blond chocolate and caramel whipped ganache quenelles, glazed with blueberry mirror glaze
  • Blueberry meringues

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you all. Seeing your creations makes me the happiest person beyond everything!
And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts about this recipe and/or pastry techniques in general, feel very free to write me. I’ll do my best to respond you as quickly as possible ♡

Date, chestnut and blueberry cake

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Serves: 4-6
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

Gluten-free date and chestnut cake
115 g Medjoul date, pitted
152 g unsweetened almond milk (or water)
4 g baking soda
56 g butter
100 g cane sugar (or caster sugar)
40 g eggs, to room temperature
100 g chestnut flour
43 g cornstarch
3,2 g gluten-free baking powder
2,5 g (½ tsp) Maldon salt
82 g candied chestnuts

Gluten-free chestnut, honey and hazelnut crumble (for the croustillant, recipe below)
40 g cane sugar (or caster sugar)
14 g brown rice flour (or white rice flour)
54 g hazelnuts flour
36 g chestnut flour
a pinch (⅛ tsp) Maldon salt
33 g hazelnuts oil (or the seeds oil of choice)
40 g chestnut honey 

Gluten-free chestnut croustillant
65 g raw hazelnuts butter
65 g Almond Inspiration couverture (or Dulcey 32% chocolate or the good quality white chocolate of choice)
130 g chestnut, honey and hazelnut crumble (recipe above)

Almond crème anglaise (for the crémeux, recipe below)
112 g unsweetened almond milk
112 g heavy cream 35% fat content
45 g egg yolks
22 g cane sugar (or caster sugar)

Blueberry and white chocolate crémeux
225 g almond crème anglaise (recipe above)
225 g blueberry puree
75 g glucose syrup DE 40 (or acacia honey)
252 g Waina 35% white chocolate (or the good quality white chocolate of choice)
4,5 g gelatin sheets Gold strength (200-220 Bloom)
22 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets

Dulcey 32% blond chocolate and caramel whipped ganache (for the quenelles)
80 g whole milk 3,5% fat content
56 g heavy cream 35% fat content (1)
40 g caster sugar
134 g Dulcey 32% chocolate
188 g heavy cream 35% fat content, cold (2)
28 g mascarpone, cold

Blueberry mirror glaze (white chocolate based) (for glazing the quenelles)
92 g blueberry puree
80 g caster sugar
92 g trehalose sugar (or caster sugar)
172 g glucose syrup DE 40
10 g gelatin sheets Gold strength (200-220 Bloom)
50 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
208 g Ivoire 35% white chocolate 
80 g Absolu Cristal (neutral gelatin)
5 g (1 tsp) Fuchsia Hibiscus (natural food coloring)
2,5 g (½ tsp) Purple Sweet Potato (natural food coloring)
1,25 g (¼ tsp) Red Beet (natural food coloring)
1,88 g (⅛ tsp) Blue Butterfly Pea (natural food coloring)

Blueberry meringues
100 g blueberry puree, to room temperature
12 g albumin powder (egg whites powder) 
40 g caster sugar (1)
160 g caster sugar (2)
96 g water
8 g Violet Grape (natural food coloring)
8 g Purple Sweet Potato (natural food coloring)

Assembly and decoration
chocolate thin crescents
chocolate collar
blueberry meringues
caramel whipped ganache quenelles, glazed
edible flowers

Instructions

Gluten-free date and chestnut cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Grease and line with parchment paper 2 metal cake rings of Ø 15 cm x H 3,5 cm and place onto a micro-perforated baking tray lined with Silpat mat.
  2. In a saucepan, combine dates and almond milk and bring to boil, stirring with a spatula. Once boiling, cook for about 2 minutes on moderate heat, stirring constantly with the rubber spatula, until dates start to soften and loose their shape, resulting almost melted.
  3. When dates are soft, tender and almost in a purée form, remove the pan from the heat and stir through the baking soda. The mixture will start to form a foam and to change the color from pale to dark. 
  4. Once the foam has evaporated, transfer into a mixing glass and blend with the immersion blender (if you have the Bamix, use the multi-purpose blade) until a smooth puree is formed. Transfer the puree into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm.
  5. Meanwhile the dates purée cools down, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine butter, sugar and salt and beat for about 2 minutes, until light and creamy.
  6. Add in the eggs and beat until they are completely incorporated and the batter looks smoother and creamier.
  7. Add in the cooled and lukewarm dates purée and beat until the batter looks smooth and creamy. 
  8. In a small bowl, mix the flour together with cornstarch and baking powder, then sift this directly over the batter. Beat until well combined. Stop beating and scrape the bowl as needed.
  9. Break up the candied chestnuts and fold them through the batter.
  10. Transfer the batter into a disposable piping bag and pipe 300 g of batter inside each metal ring. Level out the surface of the batter, using a small palette knife, and bake for about 20 minutes at 160°C, then reduce the temperature to 150°C and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cakes are also ready when they are golden-brown and soft and dry to the touch.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them to cool down completely at room temperature or, best, in the freezer.

Gluten-free chestnut, honey and hazelnut crumble (for the croustillant, recipe below)

  1. Place all the dry ingredients (sugar, brown rice flour, hazelnuts flour, chestnut flour and salt) into a mini food processor and mix until obtain an homogeneous powder.
  2. In a bowl, mix oil and honey until almost smooth. Add to the food processor and pulse until obtain a crumbly mixture.
  3. Place the crumbs onto a baking tray lined with Silpat mat or parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Bake the frozen crumble for about 15 minutes, until golden-brown. If it still looks soft, do not worry, as the crumble will harden once cooled.
  5. Remove from the oven and dust with cocoa butter powder (Mycryo) while it is still hot, to make it crispier and to prevent it from getting soggy. Allow to cool down at room temperature. 

Gluten-free chestnut croustillant

  1. Melt Almond Inspiration in the microwave to 45°C. Stir through the hazelnuts cream, to obtain a smooth mixture.
  2. Add in the cooled crumble and mix well, so that the crumble is coated with chocolate. 
  3. Divide the croustillant between the 2 metal ring used for baking the sponge cake. Spread the croustillant to ensure to make an evenly layer of about 3 mm thick. Press the croustillant with the back of a teaspoon, to get an homogeneous and flat surface.
  4. Lift up the rings and place on top the frozen sponge cake, so that it adheres perfectly to the croustillant. Freeze until assembly.

Almond crème anglaise (for the crémeux, recipe below)

  1. Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk everything together using a fine whisk. In a saucepan brings to simmer almond milk and heavy cream.
  2. Add the hot liquids to the yolks in 3 times, while whisking constantly with the fine whisk. Place everything back into the saucepan and reheat to 82-85°C, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula over low to medium heat.
    A method for determining the doneness is to look closely just as the custard's consistency. When you start stirring, you will see lots of tiny bubbles on the surface of the crème anglaise. But as soon as it is done, these bubbles disappear and they are replaced with ticker and silky waves. The crème anglaise is also done when you can make a line on the rubber spatula with your finger.
  3. Strain the crème anglaise and weigh 225 g. Make the crémeux (recipe described below).

Blueberry and white chocolate crémeux

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C. Heat blueberry puree together with glucose syrup in the microwave, ensuring not to bring to boil.
  3. Add the soaked gelatin sheets to the 225 g of crème anglaise and stir with a rubber spatula until it is dissolved. Add the warm blueberry puree and glucose syrup to the crème anglaise and stir.
  4. Add the blueberry crème anglaise to the melted chocolate in 3-4 times, while stirring with the spatula at each addition of liquid, in order to obtain a smooth, fluid and homogeneous crémeux. 
  5. Transfer the crémeux into a mixing glass and blend with the immersion blender to stabilize the emulsion and to make a smoother and shinier crémeux.
  6. Line a baking tray with Silpat mat. Close the base of the 2 metal rings used for baking the sponge cake with a sheet of clingfilm, ensure that the clingfilm comes up over the external edges of the ring and is well stretched and flat. This prevents the crémeux from escaping from the bottom of the ring. Place the rings onto the prepared tray.
  7. Remove the frozen discs of croustillant-sponge cake from the freezer and place them inside each ring. Line an acetate strip of H 4,5 cm in each ring.
  8. Divide the crémeux between the cakes, so that it covers the cakes and it reaches the top of the acetate strip. 
  9. Place in the fridge for about 4-6h, or until the crémeux is firmed and thickened. Then freeze for about 2-3h in a domestic freezer or for about 1h in a blast freezer. Allowing the crémeux to chill and thicken in the fridge before freezing ensure a better silky and creamy texture. 

Dulcey 32% blond chocolate and caramel whipped ganache (for the quenelles)

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave to 45°C.
  2. Make a dry caramel. In a saucepan, add all the caster sugar and let it to melt on moderate heat. Once the sugar is melted, it will start to caramelize and change color. There is no need to stir the sugar at this point. The caramel is ready when its temperature is between 165°C and 170°C. 
  3. Meanwhile the sugar caramelizes, in a saucepan heat the milk together with 56 g heavy cream (1), without bringing to boil.
  4. Once a golden-brown caramel is formed (165-175°C), remove the pan from the heat and deglaze it by pouring in it the hot liquids, a little at a time, whisking constantly with the whisk at each addition of liquid, in order to obtain a smooth sauce.
  5. Bring the pan on heat and cook the caramel on moderate heat, whisking constantly, to reach the temperature of 104°C. 
  6. Strain the caramel and add it to melted chocolate in 2-3 times, stirring with a rubber spatula at each addition of caramel, until a smooth ganache is formed.
  7. Transfer the ganache into a mixing glass and blend with an immersion blender to stabilize the emulsion and without adding air bubbles.
  8. Add to wire the 188 g heavy cream (2), blending contemporarily with the immersion blender. 
  9. Add in the mascarpone and blend once again, until it is completely dissolved.
  10. Transfer the ganache into a flat container (like a baking dish, for example), cover with clingfilm touching the surface and chill in the fridge for minimum 6h (best 12h or overnight). 
  11. Transfer the cold ganache into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until it is fluffy, lightly airy and soft.
  12. Pipe the whipped ganache into the quenelle silicone mould and freeze for at least 2h in a domestic freezer or for about 40-60 minutes in a blast freezer.

Blueberry mirror glaze (white chocolate based) (for the quenelles)

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in 50 g cold water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Partially melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C, then transfer into a mixing glass. 
  3. Heat blueberry puree, caster sugar, trehalose sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan to 104°C.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Emulsify with the hand blender without adding air bubbles and in order to obtain a smooth and shiny glaze.
  5. Heat up the Absolu Cristal in the microwave to 65°C and add into the glaze, followed by the soaked gelatin sheets. Emulsify once more without adding air bubbles. Add in the food colorings to enhance the purple color of the glaze and blend once again. 
  6. Pass the glaze through a sieve and pour into a flat container (like a baking dish, for example). Cover with clingfilm touching the surface and chill in the fridge for minimum 12h or overnight.
  7. Heat up the glaze in the microwave to 45°C, stirring it occasionally with a spatula, to ensure a proper melting. Transfer the melted glaze into a mixing glass and emulsify with the hand blender, ensuring the blade is submerged in the glaze and not showing, to avoid air bubbles. If you directly melt the glaze to 32-35°C (the temperature of usage), it will not be so shiny and glossy once you glazed the cake. Place cling film on the surface of the glaze and cool it to 32-35°C. You can place the glaze in the fridge or take it at room temperature.
  8. Once the glaze is 32-35°C, unmould the frozen quenelles. Insert a toothpick in the quenelle and gently dip it into the glaze. Remove any excess glaze on the bottom of the quenelle, scraping the bottom on a sheet of parchment paper or silicone mat. Place the glazed quenelle on top of the blueberry crémeux, then twist the toothpick to remove it. You have to glaze 6 quenelles in total (3 for each cake). 

Blueberry meringues

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment combine together blueberry puree, albumin powder, 40 g caster sugar (1) and the food colorings. Whisk on a high speed until the mixture reaches a medium peak.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 160 g sugar (2) and 96 g water to a boil in a small saucepan. Let boil until the syrup reaches 120°C.
  3. Once the syrup is 120°C, decrease the speed to medium-low and pour the syrup in one continuous stream in between the bowl and the whisk.
  4. Once all the syrup is added, increase the speed to high and continue to beat until you can comfortably touch the side of the bowl and it’s not too hot, or until the meringue is shiny, thick and lukewarm to the touch.
  5. Pipe the meringue into kisses on a lined baking tray, using Wilton #4B nozzle. Bake at 100°C in ventilation oven for  5h approximatively, or until they are dry to the touch. The meringue kisses are also done when you will be able to lift them off the paper/silicone mat easily. It is better to bake them at a very low temperature for a long time. I always prefer to bake my meringue in the dehydrator for 24 hours on a low temperature (60°C). So, if you have a dehydrator, don't be afraid tu use it! The dehydrator actually can help to achieve a crunchier product that stays fresher for longer, if properly sealed. Plus, the dehydrator drys them out without browning the meringues. 
    Unused meringue kisses can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature and away from the light. These meringue kisses won't last for long once placed on top of the cake, so use them right before serving. 

Assembly and decoration

  1. Make the flexible chocolate band. Temper the purple-colored white chocolate, following this tempering curve: 45°C (melting chocolate in the microwave or in water-bath) - 26/27°C (cooling 2/3 of chocolate over a marble table or granite table) - 28/29°C (the chocolate is ready to use). Tempering chocolate is an essential step for making smooth and glossy chocolate decors. The tempering process takes chocolate through a temperature curve, a process which aligns the cocoa butter's crystals to make the chocolate look smooth, silky and glossy an to prevent the chocolate to get a dull and grayish color.
  2. Wrap the external edge of a Ø 15 cm metal cake ring with an acetate strip of H 6 cm and secure the ends with sticky tape. This strip will act as protection between the chocolate and the cake ring.
  3. Pipe a line of tempered chocolate lengthwise over a second acetate strip (H 6 cm and long enough to cover the metal ring), which has been previously placed flat on the bench. Smooth out the surface of the chocolate with a small palette knife, until it runs over the end of the strip into a thin and even layer. Lift the strip by using the tip of the paring knife and place the strip in one clean side of the bench. Allow to set slightly until the strip is pliable and not fully set (about 1-2 minutes, depending on the room temperature).
  4. Once the chocolate is almost dry to touch, use a toothpick to engrave a wave pattern on the chocolate, starting from the top-left corner and ending to the opposite corner.
  5. Wrap the flexible chocolate band around the cake ring, with the chocolate side touching the ring and, therefore, the acetate strip. Secure the ends with sticky tape and allow to set completely at room temperature (18-20°C) overnight.
  6. The next day, wrap the chocolate collar around the cake. 
  7. Garnish with chocolate thin crescents, blueberry meringues and edible flowers.

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