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French Chocolate Orange Chestnut Passover Torte


1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 15-ounce can chestnut puree or chestnut cream
1 cup unsalted Passover margarine or butter
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, divided usage
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract *
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Zest of one large clementine or mandarin
2 tablespoon orange juice
6 egg whites
Pinch salt
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
(*) Available in larger supermarkets, ethnic stores and European groceries. Chestnut puree and chestnut cream are usually imported from France. Some kosher food stores also sell it, both kosher and kosher for Passover but you might have to look a bit diligently.
* Kosher for Passover extract or 1 tablespoon Passover vanilla powder


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 inch spring form pan with a circle of baking parchment. Spray the pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pan on it.

For the cake, prepare the melted chocolate and set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. In a large mixer bowl, using a hand whisk, blend chestnut cream or puree with the butter or margarine and then add in the vanilla, orange oil or extract, orange juice, zest, egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and melted chocolate, Blend well. In another clean mixer bowl, with clean dry beaters, whip the egg whites with the salt, just to break up and foam slightly. Gradually, while increasing mixer speed, dust in 1/4 cup sugar to form stiff glossy (but not dry) peaks. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into chestnut mixture and work in well to loosen. Gently fold in remaining 2/3 of egg whites in 2 installments, blending well but taking care not to deflate the mixture. Spoon into prepared pan and bake until done, 35-45 minutes. Cake rises somewhat and looks dry and slightly cracked on top when done. Middle should be soft but firm. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.

Glaze: Bring the orange juice or coffee to a gently boil and add the chopped chocolate all at once. Remove from heat and stir briskly, using a wire whisk, until all of the chocolate melts.

Invert cake on a wire cake rack placed on a cookie sheet. Pour glaze over cake, using a metal spatula to spread.

Serves 14


ago, I created this celebration cake. It was based on a French chocolate chestnut torte but intended to be served at Passover. Alas, no kosher chestnut puree was available back then. Now, about 15 years later, almost anything and everything is available and canned, kosher chestnut puree is out there. That being the case, I now make this cake with chestnuts, instead of the sweet potato puree I used to use.Chestnuts offer a lovely subtle, sweetness to this wonderful Passover confection. Look for kosher-for-Passover or regular, kosher chestnut puree. It comes in a can. If you cannot find it, you can substitute pureed sweet potatoes.