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Cancerian Dinner Party blog


Stephen Doyle

Warm Chestnut, Ricotta and Apple Pudding Encased in Coffee and Cardamom Soaked Savoiardi Biscuits with Eggnog Spiced Custard

Serve with 2008 Bloodwood Noble Riesling

Now this sweetie is hopefully not too sweet and is designed to be a bit lighter than a traditional Christmas Pudding, although it will still stop people's appetites from progressing much further.

Being of a lighter style, this pudding uses the chestnut puree as its base and works well with an aged dessert wine like the 2008 Noble Riesling.

All the following is based on the savoury sformato:

1 tin unsweetened chestnut puree 450g

2 jars sweetened chestnut puree 320g

150g fresh ricotta

1 cup crushed amoretti almond biscuits

Toasted hazelnuts, chopped

6 eggs

1 lemon (grated rind only)

1 mandarin peel, diced small and glaceed

1 large red apple diced and sauteed in butter until it is cooked through

3T diced dried figs & apricots reconstituted in brandy

2T cinnamon

Mix by hand, don't blend the chestnut purees, ricotta and eggs yolks. When malleable and smooth, whip the egg whites and fold though the mixture followed by the fruit and nuts and crushed biscuits.

Encased  in coffee & cardamom soaked savoiardi biscuits:

1 cup milk 

1 cup of runny cream

4T coffee

1T ground cardamom

Splash of brandy

Warm all ingredients until the coffee is dissolved. Dunk enough biscuits in the warm thick brew and line a suitably sized mould with them. Your container should already be lined with baking paper to make the turning out of this dessert easier.

Fill the cavity with the chestnut mixture and place some more soaked biscuits on the top. Bake in a moderate oven for 45 mins. Leave set for a little while then upturn on an oven-proof plate. Discard baking paper.

Then smother with Italian meringue.

Serve warm with cool Eggnog Spiced Custard.

NOTE: This dessert was an experiment and wasn't as light as I had hoped for. It was extraordinarily rich and way too much for seven people. So I would halve the recipe and only use the filling (not the soaked coffee biscuits) and bake in individual ramekins in a bain marie, turn them out, cover with Italian meringue for some decoration, quickly browned, and serve with the spiced custard. Too much IS groaning material. 

Creme Anglaise:

Use your favourite recipe and add spices to the milk and cream mix (eg. vanilla, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and pimento) before you bring it to the boil and let spices steep overnight in the fridge. Strain, then thicken the spiced milk cream mix with the egg yolks and sugar over heat.

Custard can easily be made well before hand, frozen and defrosted without any problem.  


  • Outsource your pudding from your baker or a caterer or friend. 
  • Or get each one of your friends/guests to make a course.
  • Or have your rich traditional Christmas pudding or even an Italian Pantone for a lighter approach.