Chocolate Leaves Filled with Chestnut Mousse

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 1h 10m
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

A sophisticated modern version of the classic montebianco, which is made with strictly local ingredients, this dish comes from the hills of Romagnola, inland from Rimini, where there are rich chestnut groves. The recipe has quickly become part of the new Italian cuisine.


  • 12 medium-size chestnut leaves
  • 6 ounces semisweet dark chocolate
  • 2 1/2 pounds chestnuts, unshelled
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (pod)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • For Custard:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (pod)


Clean the chestnut leaves using a cotton tip dipped in alcohol. Melt the chocolate over very low heat and paint one side of each leaf with the melted chocolate. Put the leaves in the refrigerator to set.

Cook the chestnuts in boiling water for 45 minutes, peel and remove the inner skins. Return the chestnuts to the heat in a pan along with the milk, sugar and vanilla bean. Boil slowly until nearly all the milk has disappeared. Discard the vanilla bean.

In a food processor, puree the chestnuts until smooth. Cover and chill. When cold, fold in the whipped cream.

Take the chocolate leaves from the refrigerator and carefully peel the leaves away from the chocolate. Coat each chocolate leaf with some of the chestnut mousse. Return to the refrigerator.

FOR CUSTARD: Combine all the custard ingredients in a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, without letting the mixture come to the boil, until it coats the back of the wooden spoon. Cover and chill.

When the custard is cold, cover the bottom of each plate with it, lay the chocolate leaves on top and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 1059

nutrition information per serving

1399 calories; 43g total fat; 292mg cholesterol; 157mg sodium; 243g carbohydrates; 25g fiber; 18g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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