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The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press

Serves 6

• pinch of fennel seeds
• 1 3/4 pounds chestnuts, shelled
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1/4 cup superfine sugar
• 1/4 cup rum
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• salt

To decorate
• 1 quantity Whipped Cream
• candied violets

Tie the fennel seeds in a small square of cheesecloth.

Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a boil, add the chestnuts and fennel seeds and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Drain and peel the chestnuts, then place them in a pan, pour in the milk and simmer, mashing with a wooden spoon, for 15 minutes.

If necessary, add a little more warm milk.

As the mixture is just beginning to thicken, stir in the sugar and remove from the heat.

Sprinkle in the rum and cocoa and mix well.

Pass the mixture through a food mill onto a serving dish to create a cone of 'chestnut vermicelli'.

Decorate with rosettes of whipped cream and candied violets.


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