Today’s dish is a veritable symphony of autumn flavors and colors, in which the chestnut is the undisputed star: chestnut panna cotta, chestnut cremeux, salted caramel, meringue, cocoa cookie, chestnut ice cream, and chestnut cracker!
Today I am not just giving you the recipe for each component you see in the dish, but I also want to dwell on the choices of shapes, colors and flavors that make up the dish and leave you with some pointers on both the plating and the choice of flavors and their respective quantities in search of the dish’s balance.
In the following video from my youtube channel, I reveal a few tricks for a successful dish: from the “spikes” of the creamy parts of the dish, to the quenelle, to the placement of crackers to give verticality to the dish
Choice of shapes
Chestnut panna cotta is definitely the main protagonist, served with an eye-catching spiral pattern in the center of the plate. Alongside this, we find chestnut crackers that add height and a crunchy texture to the dish, along with ice cream that can offer a contrast in temperature and texture. Chestnut cremeux and salted caramel add softness and depth to the dish.
Choice of flavors
The flavor pairings are well thought out. Chestnuts have a naturally sweet and earthy taste that pairs well with the richness of salted caramel, creating a balance of sweet and salty that is very popular in contemporary desserts. The meringue adds an airy, light sweetness, while the cocoa cookie provides an intense flavor base and additional crunchy texture that contrasts nicely with the softer elements of the dessert.
The combination of textures-soft, crispy, creamy, airy-along with the variety of flavors creates a complex, multilayered dining experience.
Choice of colors
The golden color of the caramel and the natural tones of the chestnuts are complementary and harmonize well with the darker color of the cocoa cookie, creating an aesthetically pleasing dish that invites tasting.
Insights into food design, creative cooking & ice cream
If you’re interested in learning more about food design, on #CucinaLiOnline (in Italian) you can learn the basics of the art of plating in the online course with Andrea Mattasoglio, or learn modern creative cooking techniques through seasonal creative cooking classes 😉
If you are only interested in recipes, however, there is a whole book (also available in English!) with over 150 professionally balanced ice cream recipes waiting for you: read more about the Gelato Project and how you can become part of the project by seeing your requests published in upcoming editions of the web’s most original ice cream ebook!
Ingredients (for 8 people)
Chestnut ice cream
- Find the recipe for chestnut ice cream here (in Italian).
- Find on my gronda profile the recipe for chestnut crackers
Chestnut panna cotta
- 100 g of whole cream
- 100 g of whole milk
- 125 g chestnut puree for vermicelles
- 1.5 sheets of gelatin
- 50 g of sugar
- 5 g water
- 50 g of whole cream
- 45 g of butter
- 1.5 g of salt
- 100 g of cocoa cookies (Batticuore)
- 20 g butter
- 100 g chestnut puree for vermicelles
For the panna cotta
Soak the gelatin in cold water for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, heat cream and milk in a saucepan. Add the squeezed gelatin around 80°C and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chestnut puree.
Distribute into spiral molds (I used Silikomart “tourbillon 28” ones) and place in freezer.
For the salted caramel
Caramelise the sugar with a drop of water without touching it.
Meanwhile, heat the cream and add it to the caramelized sugar a little at a time, stirring well until the caramel is smooth again. Remove from heat, add butter and salt, and stir well.
Pour into a sac à poche and allow to cool under running water, then refrigerate until serving.
Place puree for vermicelles in another sac à poche. For a better result, I made the puree at home using chestnuts, water, sugar, and cornstarch (same recipe used to make crackers, but without drying it, soon you find it on my Gronda profile)
For the “chocolate earth,” simply melt the butter and combine it with the crumbled cookie to make a shiny cocoa earth to use as a base for ice cream.
All that’s left is to plate following the directions in the video: unmold the panna cotta an hour or so before serving and place it on the plate.
Around the panna cotta add 3 teaspoons of crumbled meringue.
In the remaining holes around the panna cotta, we make 3 generous spikes with the chestnut cremeux, then 3 smaller spikes with the salted caramel (which is sweeter and stronger in taste).
Add a spoonful of cocoa earth and finally a quenelle of ice cream.
Two crackers to give verticality and dessert is ready!