Tartelettes are a great way of ending a meal, particularly when they combine seasonal specialties such as is the case with these beauties. I’m not one for finicky tasks in the kitchen, but I bought myself some tartelette forms a few years ago and every once in a while I will pop them out of their carton to make something pretty and elegant.

A couple of years ago, before I had bought Mephisto, I was in the market for a Kitchen Aid. I then started an intensive quest to find the best kitchen machine suitable to my needs and settled for a Bosch MAXXIMUM. A few weeks after I bought Mephisto (which I have never regretted), my husband came home and reported that his former colleague had participated and won a Kitchen Aid in a contest organized by Toffifee, a very popular German candy featuring a roasted hazelnut in a caramel shell, covered with a coin-shaped dark chocolate. He announced that the contest would go on for another ten weeks and suggested I submit my own entry.

Eager to win a Kitchen Aid myself (thinking I could do a kitchen machine comparison), I sent in my own recipe featuring toffifee, but unfortunately never heard back from the organizers (which is probably because the recipe required the use of exactly two toffifee candies rather than the entire box), so no one ever got to vote on my tartelette and I never won a Kitchen Aid. Boo!11 Apple Chestnut CakeBut, I really loved this recipe, which is basically inspired by toffifee and the delicious things it is composed of. I think it’s great! Plus, it’s easily veganized! I vowed to feature the recipe on the blog sooner or later and when I made this dessert in a new (less sweet, more wholesome) variation on Boxing Day last month, I thought it would be a great opportunity for this tartelette to come to light on this beautiful January day. 10 Apple Chestnut Cake klI’ll show you how to make the tartlette in the original version that I designed in the summer of 2014 and in the new, more complex version that I thought up a few days ago. But I’m sure you can vary this tartelette in lots of new ways, e.g. by using different fruit such as peaches or nectarines or other nuts, e.g. pecans or cashews.

Apple Tartelette with Roasted Nut Crust topped with Chestnut Cream or Dark Chocolate and Toffifee

Ingredients (for two tartelettes)

For the roasted nut crust:
75g hazelnuts and almonds
2 tbsp sugar (I used brown)
1 tbsp butter (optional, you can also use margarine for a vegan option)

For the apple filling:
2 large apple (e.g. Braeburn or Wellant)
2 tbsp sugar (optional, I think the sweetness provided by the apples is sufficient)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp corn starch
a little bit of water (about 50ml)

For the chestnut cream:
150g pre-cooked roughly chopped chestnuts (usually available at the supermarket in a vacuumized package)
50g brown sugar
100ml milk (use vegetable milk, e.g. soy milk instead for a vegan option)
85ml cream (use vegetable cream, e.g. made from rice instead, for a vegan option)

For the toffifee decoration:
50g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

two small pastry rings (about 8 centimetres diameter; if you don’t have pastry rings, you could use a small cake tin and double this recipe instead or use a small pretty jar instead :))

For the chestnut cream:
Place all the ingredients (milk, chopped chestnuts, cream, sugar) into a pot and simmer until the sugar has caramelized (it will taste like caramel cream/dulce de leche).01 Apple Chestnut Cake kl Then using a handheld blender, puree the chestnuts until there are no more lumps left. Allow to cool and set to rest (this part can be prepared ahead of time).

For the roasted nut crust:
Line a wooden or metal board (it should be small, because you will later place it in the freezer) with plastic wrap, sandwich paper or baking parchment and place the pastry rings on it. 04 Apple Chestnut Cake klPlace the nuts into a small pot and roast (stir every once in a while) until your kitchen is filled with a delicious scent and the hazelnuts begin to shed their peels. 02 Apple Chestnut Cake klCool, remove as much of the peel as possible with your fingers and the roughly chop the nuts (I do this with a component of my handheld blender). 03 Apple Chestnut Cake klThen place the butter and sugar in the pot that you previously used to roast the nuts and wait until the sugar has melted and caramelized. Add the roasted nuts, stir into a homogenous mass and then, using a spoon, divide between the two pastry rings. Use the pastry ring cover to push the hazelnut crust down and to even it out. 05 Apple Chestnut Cake klFor the apple filling:
Peel the apples, and remove the core. Cut into squares (about one centimeter thick). Place the apples into a small pot, add a bit of water (and the sugar, if you are opting for the sweeter version) and the cinnamon. Allow to cook for about two minutes, until the apple squares are somewhat tender. Then place the cornstarch into a cup, add the water and stir well until the corn starch has absorbed all the water. 06 Apple Chestnut Cake klIncorporate into the apple-cinnamon mixture (the heat under the pot should not be too high and not too low) until the cornstarch has become somewhat firm, like a pudding. 07 Apple Chestnut Cake klFill the apple filling into the pastry rings, using a tablespoon, covering the hazelnut crust. Make sure the filling is even on top. 08 Apple Chestnut Cake klChestnut Cream Finish:
Fill the chestnut cream into a cookie press and proceed to decorate your tartelettes. Then, place them into the freezer, for about half an hour. Either serve or transfer to the fridge. Remove the pastry ring before serving, I recommend taking them off only after having gone around the edges of the tartelette with a tin knife.09 Apple Chestnut Cake klChocolate-Toffifee Finish:
Melt the chocolate in a water bath (don’t let the chocolate get too hot or it will have a “wilted” look when firm). Distribute evenly on top of the apple filling of both tartelettes. Decorate with a toffifee and then place into your freezer for about half an hour. Serve immediately or transfer to the fridge for further cooling. 11 Apple Chestnut CakeRemove the pastry ring before serving, I recommend taking them off only after having gone around the edges of the tartelette with a tin knife.

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