Chestnut Flan with Double Chocolate and Crystalized Ginger Biscotti

Forgive me if I have been a bit absent the last few days. The cold and flu season has hit us hard this year. We even had to spend three days in the hospital with little M. due to a virus she caught from her brother. Lesson learned here; do not let a 3 year old boy stick his nose in his sister’s mouth. Yes, indeed. It was just a scare and M. is well. Thank goodness.

The cold weather finally arrived this week and as soon as we were released from the hospital, we came home and roasted some chestnuts. What would winter be without some roasted chestnuts with a bit of sea salt? Not the same. Reminds me of the tiny wooden stall that sits in the middle of my hometown square, which only opens during winter and exclusively sells roasted chestnuts. In brown paper bags, of course. The smell permeates every corner and puts us all in the holiday spirit.

We made these chestnut and rum flans that we ate after one of our daily walks. Nothing like custard in the middle of the afternoon.

The double chocolate and crystallized ginger biscotti are part of the holiday treat boxes we are making this year. Life is a bit crazy and unfortunately, time is a scarce resource around here. We haven’t been able to do much in that sense, but a little something is better than nothing.

Hope you are enjoying this time a year whether you are covered in snow or lying on a beach somewhere.

Chestnut Flan

makes 4-6 oz ramekins

125 grams chestnut puree
125 grams chestnut paste
50 grams butter, room temperature
50 grams sugar
6 egg yolks
2 eggs
50 grams heavy cream
25 grams dark rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the chestnut puree, chestnut paste and butter until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar and mix.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the egg yolks and eggs and add them to the chestnut base. Mix until combined. Add the heavy cream, rum and vanilla.

If it seems lumpy, you can strain the custard through a fine sieve. Pour the custard into the ramekins and bake at 325F for about 30 minutes or until center done.

Double Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger Biscotti

150 grams butter, room temperature
200 grams sugar
Zest of 1 orange
3 eggs, room temperature
415 grams flour
25 grams cocoa powder
12 grams baking powder
pinch of salt
70 grams crystallized ginger, small dice
50 grams chocolate chunks

Cream the butter, sugar and zest together. Add the eggs one at a time and scrape the bowl.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder,baking powder and salt and add it to the mixer. Mix until combined. Add the ginger and chocolate chunks until well distributed.

Transfer the dough into a half sheet pan lined with parchment and form into a log that is about 12″x4″ approximately. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the log cool completely and then slice it into 1/4″ thick pieces. Place the cookies on the sheet pans and bake at 325F for about 10 minutes. Then flip the cookies over and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until dry.

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61 Responses to “Chestnut Flan with Double Chocolate and Crystalized Ginger Biscotti”

  1. Anis says:

    Happy that little M. is fine!

  2. Christy says:

    Thank goodness it’s just a scare! I love your photos here, Aran. It’s earthier than the usual ones, I think. There’s definitely something different. Love all the little details you’ve put in the photo—they make a huge difference!

  3. Kate says:

    Aran, these look extravagant ! So lovely, pure heaven for a chocoholic like me. How do you find the time to do all this with a new born … Bravo woman :)) Merry Christmas to you n your family … n a very Happy New Year.

  4. Lydia says:

    Exquisite! I have a bunch of chestnuts I’m wanting to do something with as well (besides eat them all out of hand!) Can I ask what the difference is between chestnut paste and chestnut puree? Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  5. Lina says:

    Oh I’m sorry about your baby, my nice 9 weeks old has been in the hospital for a week for the same reason, I guess you can never be too careful with baby’s. I wanted to congratulate you for your blog, it’s so beautiful! I wonder how do you manage to make so many things, I have a 8 week baby of mine and honestly I feel like I don’t have time for anything… but then again mothers are just amazing creatures! Hope to make one of your recepies soon.

  6. Jill says:

    I remember the smell of roasted chestnuts during the winter I spent in Spain with you and your family. It was so festive. These are beautiful pictures. Tell everyone we said hi from the beach.

  7. Valentina says:

    Aran, it must have been a bit scary!! Good that she is all well. Beautiful dessert. I love chesnute. Plus the beautiful of those shots make us even more delirious. I want to wish you and your family a wonderful xmas and a very very happy 2010. Feliz Ano Novo as we say back in Brazil. May 2010 come full of beautibul surprises and successes.

  8. Sigrid says:

    Same question as Lydia here. Paste vs puree? I would try to make everything from scratch (looking for the ingredients here in Paris would take up too much time …) so I’m interested in the difference, too.

    Apart from that: Your blog is my porn, really. So beautiful and – I guess – so yummy!

  9. elizabeth says:

    lovely photos, as always! i absolutely love chestnuts, but have had terrible luck working with them in the past (perhaps i’ve just picked bad ones?)any general thoughts on working with them? thanks!!

  10. A delightful flan and gorgeous biscotti!



  11. VeggieGirl says:

    Don’t apologize!! Just take care and be well, my friend :)

  12. Dajda says:

    It all looks perfectly edible, and your biscotti building made me laugh – what a funny way to show your baking! I’m baking gingerbreads tonight, perhps I’ll also build something out of them. :)

  13. Jennie says:

    I echo VeggieGirl…don’t worry about the blog/us when caring for your family and your own wellness are far more important. Happy to hear M. is ok!

    On another note, how do you/your townfolk roast chestnuts? I have tried in the oven but it doesn’t taste the same as those I’ve eaten in the chilly streets of Europe. I’m guessing I need some hot coals…?

  14. Claire says:

    Hope your all on the mend.

    I love the sound of those biscotti. I made cranberry and almond ones yesterday but like the sound of double chocolate and crystallised ginger more!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Que bien que la pequeñita esta en casa sana y salva… imagino el susto. Feliz Navidad.Bso Camen ZH

  16. Bron says:

    Just gorgeous Aran, so pleased to hear you are home and little M is well again. Take care!

  17. Linn says:

    oh, LOVELY!

    Since I can`t taste,
    I study the pictures and pretend how it would have been… :O)

    LOVE your blog
    and your pictures!

    *Hugs from Norway*

  18. These photos look yummy! And it’s wonderful “M” is doing well. :) Hope you have a merry Christmas!

  19. giao says:

    glad to hear your little M. is better. custard in the afternoon is my favorite kind of day!

  20. Absolutely beautiful! So glad your babes are OK!

  21. it looks very warm and inviting!

  22. This looks magical! Thank you for a most enjoyable read x

  23. Seanna Lea says:

    Ooooh, I will have to make this biscotti. I made two batches of fig and walnut biscotti, but this I think would go over well with a larger group of people.


  24. Valérie says:

    I absolutely love the first photo ! I’m glad your little one is safe ! Enjoy the Holidays and be backs in 2010 with some other wonderful recipes of yours :o)

  25. Aran says:

    Lydia and Sigrid- chestnut puree is just pure chestnuts that are turned into a puree with a bit of water and the chestnut paste is a sweet product made with chestnuts, sugar, vanilla and even pureed candied chestnuts. the chestnut puree can be a bit hard and lumpy but the paste is very smooth and not as thick.

    Elizabeth- what problems did you have? not being able to peel them? always look for chestnuts that are hard. don’t use them when the skin is softer and feels a bit hollow, like the skin is separating from the inside. I like to roast mine but boiling also works. Hope that answers your question.

    Thank you everyone!

  26. Mimi says:

    So nice that little M is doing better. Wonderful desserts, perfect for the hoilday season.

  27. This is a very nice idea for a Christmas present! When I saw the photo of the goodies in the box, I realized that it can be a perfect gift. Thanks.

  28. morgana says:

    ¡¡ Ron con castañas !! Eso tiene que estar de vicio.

    Tienes razón, el olorcillo de las castañas asadas de los puestos callejeros es el mejor anuncio de que´el frío se acerca. Lo malo es que este año, en noviembre, convivieron los puestos de castañas con 20ºC de temperatura en la calle. Quedaba rarísimo. Pero estos días hemos estado bajo cero y ya se ha compensado todo. ;-)

    Jo, menudo susto con la peque, espero que ya esté bien del todo.

    Un abrazo muy fuerte y que paséis unas fiestas estupendas.

  29. Anita says:

    Cuánto me alegro de que la pequeñita esté bien, y el mayor también! ;), y que todo haya pasado.

    Un placer, como siempre leerte y “verte”.

    Feliz Navidad desde el mediterráneo,


    P.S. Voy a lanzarme a hacer estos bizcochitos. El jengibre cristalizado es fácil de encontrar?

  30. What a treat! Great way of using chestnut. As well a perfect gift. I will keep it in mind.

  31. ibb says:

    Gogoan ditut oraindik aitonak herrian egiten zituen kastainak, tabolinean saltoka, usaia eta hiloba guztiak inguruan noiz prest egon hara jaten saltotzeko.
    Pozten naiz M. ondo egoteaz. Oso normala da anai arteko birus elkarbanatzea…horretan gutxi egin daiteke…ezin bata bestetik urruti ibili.
    Espero diat egun hauek ondo igarotzea, familian.
    Zorionak eta urte berri on. Elur eta hotz apur batekin. Besarkada bat.

  32. Inés says:

    Aran Zorionak guztiagatik. Eta batez ere umetxoa etxera itzultzeagatik! Urte berri on eta jarraitu horrela!!!Mux Bilbo hotzetik!

  33. those biscottis will make a great gift..

  34. shaz says:

    Glad to hear little M is alright. So impressed that even with so much on your plate you still manage to produce such exquisite treats AND photograph them so beautifully! You are amazing Aran :) Have a great Christmas

  35. Ainhoa says:

    Pozten naiz Miren Lili ondo egoteaz eta espero dot. Oso gogorra izan behar da, benetan, hain ume txikiekin ospitalean egotea. Eskerrak sustoa baino ez dala izan.
    Argazkiak zoragarriak oraingoan bere. Crystallized ginger delakoa Bilbon aurkitzea posible dala uste dozu? Aurkitzen ba dot kontauko deutsut nola irteten zaidan errezeta.
    Espero dot Gabon jaiak ondo pasatzea. Zure familiak egindako goxoak jaterakoan zutaz gogoratuko naz. Zorionak eta Urte Berri On zuri eta zure famili osoari. Muxu bat.

  36. Very glad to hear all is well after such a scare. Beautiful dessert and gifts. Wishing you and your family very Happy Holidays!

  37. WOW sounds all interesting and just reading the narrative and felt that smell, complained live in a beach area so it is very common that even in these dates has cold, so to combat the cold is resorted to hot chocolate and bread Even so all the pictures I saw on this delicious muybuen post blew my mind. Thanks .. A smell of chestnuts greeting from Mexico … Over and Out

  38. Maria Ana says:

    Glad everyone is fine!
    This look delicious:)

  39. vaya susto! menos mal que ya ha pasado,

    el flan de castanas tiene una pinta increible, y los biscotti los voy a hacer ya, para regalr a mi familia politica que ya nos vamos para alla, que pases unas felices fiestas, besitos desde londres

  40. Beautiful. Some of the best photography I’ve seen. Glad to hear your family is feeling better. Merry Christmas.

  41. idu says:

    Ummmgaztaiñak! egun hauetako hotzarekin primeran datoz.
    Pozten nahiz ttikia onik izatea.
    Muxuak denoi

  42. HPno11 says:

    One of the sweetest entry I have read! I love the mix of chocolate and biscotti. Thanks for posting this.

  43. these look beautiful a…so sorry you gusy were all sick…hope things are on the rebound love! merry christmas!

  44. Jen says:

    So glad that the little one is okay now, what a scare!!! I absolutely love your photography and blog…thanks for the inspiration!!!

  45. bathmate says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  46. Lauren says:

    I’m so glad M is well! This flan looks incredibly comforting, like it could give you a hug. The photos just emphasize that even more! Happy Holidays Aran =D.

  47. Comforting food at its best. Have a wonderful family Xmas Aran. That time of year brings me back to our same time last year. How special!

  48. How lovely! Your photos are so marvelous and everything (especially the flan!) looks so delicious.

  49. Deeba PAB says:

    Just so beautiful Aran. Love the warm brown hues…so perfect for now! Glad little M is fine. happy holidays & much love!

  50. Erika says:

    Que suerte que ya estén todos en casa y recuperados!
    Por aquí no es época de castañas pero cuando vengan seguro que pruebo tu receta.
    Pasaba a desearte una feliz Nochebuena a vos y a los tuyos

  51. Aran says:

    Thank you so much everyone for your kind words. It’s been busy here, but I wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year. Thank you!

  52. Jane says:

    Oh my goodness! Your photos are so beautiful! Happy Holidays!

  53. Sari says:

    Lovely post, I just love roasted chestnuts in winter. Glad little M is well! Wish you all the best.

  54. sara says:

    the linen around the cups is gorgeous! Can’t wait to do that myself, so homey. Hope you all enjoyed the holiday!

  55. Okay, so only a few days after I made the biscotti… I had to bake mine for significantly longer than you indicated – I baked 25 min the first time and the knife came out clean, but they were almost raw in the middle. I had to bake them sliced for 40 min, flipping every 10, before they crisped up like they should. That said, they’re absolutely wonderful with coffee or hot chocolate!

  56. Aran says:

    Caitlin- I’m glad you likes them even though they didn’t bake all the way through the first time. I think a lot depends on the size of the log. For me, I don’t even insert a knife anymore. I just touch the top and I can tell when it’s done. It’s hard to give baking times sometimes because all ovens bake differently. But I’m so glad you liked them.

  57. BakingLady says:

    You have gorgeous photos!
    This is my first time seeing your blog, and I will definitely be back!

    <3 Emily

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. This looks delicious and i love the way you photograph your pictures, very artfully done :)

  60. Leslie says:

    what a mouth watering, gorgeous looking flan!

  61. Buttaz says:

    Thanks very much for this idea. I gave a batch to my dad and he very much enjoyed it.

    Mark – My attempt

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