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.
Start by greasing the mould.
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
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.
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