La Crème au Nesselrode

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6–8

    (fills an 850 ml 1½ pt 3½ cup mould)

Appears in

How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

How to Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe

By Annie Gray and Andrew Hann

Published 2020

  • About

Avis Crocombe, unpublished manuscript (no date); from Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845) [source]

Nesselrode cream started life as ‘Nesselrode pudding’, which was named for the diplomat Count Karl von Nesselrode, and reputedly created for him by Antonin Carême, one of the most influential figures of French cuisine. Carême worked briefly for the Prince Regent (later George IV) in 1816, before leaving under a cloud and escaping with a sigh of relief back to France.

Ingredients

  • vegetable shortening, for the mould
  • 100 ml/ fl oz/generous ⅓ cup water
  • 200 g/7 oz/scant 1 cup caster sugar
  • 200 g/7 oz/ cup cooked chestnuts
  • 3 tbsp Madeira, plus 1 tbsp for the whipped cream (optional)
  • 570 ml/1 pt/2⅓ cups double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • zest of 1 lemon, cut off without pith
  • 9 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water
  • 55 g/2 oz/ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 55 g/2 oz/ cup candied peel, chopped

Method

Start by greasing the mould. Avis would have used a large copper or ceramic culinary mould, but you can also use individual moulds. If you are using a metal mould, there is no need to grease it.

Boil the measured water in a saucepan with half the caster sugar. Reduce by a third. Add the chestnuts and Madeira, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Strain the chestnuts, reserving the syrup. Purée the chestnuts in a blender, using a little of the syrup, if necessary, to obtain a smooth paste. Cool thoroughly.

Put half the cream in a pan with most of the remaining caster sugar, reserving 1 heaped tbsp, and add the vanilla pod and lemon zest. Bring to a low simmer. Add the softened gelatine and mix. Simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours, then strain into a jug. Whip the remaining cream with the 1 tbsp Madeira, if using, and the reserved 1 heaped tbsp of sugar, until you obtain soft peaks.

Put the chestnut purée into a cold bowl, add the infused cream mixture and mix well. Fold in the whipped cream and finally the dried cherries and peel.

Pour the mixture into the mould and set in the fridge for at least 6 hours before turning out. If you have used a metal mould, dip the base into hot water quickly to help to release it, or use a cook’s blow torch to warm the outside.