Chestnut purée is sold in cans. Some brands are sweetened and have a bit of vanilla added. Others are unsweetened, in which case you will probably need to add about
In a small cup, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand to soften for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cream and milk in a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Stir the softened gelatin into the warmed cream mixture until it dissolves. Whisk in the chestnut purée and vanilla. Add the sugar and the rum to taste, if using. (If the chestnut purée is very stiff, pulse it in a food processor with the warmed cream mixture.)
Pour into 8 custard cups or lightly oiled metal molds. Cover and refrigerate until firm, 4 hours or overnight. Unmold onto small plates and serve with persimmon purée or chocolate sauce (following).
Peel and seed 4 to 6 ripe Hachiya persimmons. Place in a blender or food processor with fresh orange juice and sugar to taste and some ground cinnamon, if you like. Process until smooth.
© 2001 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.